Special Status Species
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho Operations Office addresses conservation by continually evaluating the regulatory rankings, abundance, and distribution of special status plant and animal species.
The INL Site provides breeding and foraging habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including 24 species of birds and 12 species of mammals that are of elevated conservation concern by state or federal agencies. Several of these species are sagebrush obligates, while others utilize habitats that are very localized on the INL Site, like juniper woodlands or surface water features. Many of these species are detected and/or monitored during annual survey efforts including the mid-winter raptor counts, sage-grouse lek counts, breeding bird surveys, and bat acoustical.
Pronghorn and elk are two wildlife species with populations that utilize habitat on the Idaho National Laboratory Site.
The INL Site is located within the sagebrush steppe ecosystem and hosts a diversity of shrubs, grasses and wildflowers that typify the plant communities of that system. There are currently 20 special status plant species that have been documented to occur on the INL Site. Many of those species are rare and occur very infrequently within their optimal habitats. Others may have slightly larger population sizes but are restricted by unique habitat requirements.