City of Springfield, Illinois

James O. Langfelder - Mayor

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Franklin’s Ground Squirrel

  About Franklin’s Ground Squirrel

The Franklin’s ground squirrel (Spermophilus franklinii) is a state-threatened species protected by the Illinois Endangered Species Act that lives along the Sangamon Valley Trail. This colony is the largest concentration of Franklin’s ground squirrels known to exist in the state.

The City of Springfield will be implementing measures along Archer Elevator Road, from Wabash Avenue to Greenbriar Drive, to conserve and protect the ground squirrels before, during and after construction. But to ensure the squirrel’s continued survival in Springfield, we need your help! Download our information packet here.

  Why Care?

The populations of Franklin’s ground squirrel have dwindled approaching levels of concern. Sangamon County, the Springfield Park District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Friends of the Sangamon Valley, and the University of Illinois Springfield have done conservation work along the Sangamon Valley Trail and Centennial Park. To support their investment and limit the impact to the ground squirrel as a result of the project, the City will carry out various mitigation and conservation measures.

Franklin’s ground squirrels disperse the seeds of many plant species, and as a prey animal they have an impact on predator populations, including the red-tailed hawk, red fox, badger, coyote, striped skunk, and long-tailed weasel. It is remarkable that the Franklin’s ground squirrel has been able to survive in a rapidly developing part of Springfield. Let’s help our special neighbors!

  How You Can Help

How can you help conserve the Franklin’s ground squirrel in Southwest Springfield? Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Look out and slow down - When you are commuting along Archer Elevator Road, be sure to keep an eye out for Franklin’s ground squirrels. Adhering to the posted speed limit will decrease the likelihood of collision with ground squirrels (and other wildlife) and will in turn increase the ground squirrel’s chance of survival. These ground squirrels are most active during bright sunny days.
  • Spread the word - Educate your family, friends and neighbors about the presence of our state-threatened Franklin’s ground squirrel in southwest Springfield and how they can help protect the species.
  • Provide Support – Support local habitat conservation projects by the Springfield Park District.