The government of the United States of America has designated its 38th Wetland of International Importance. Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain (Ramsar Site no. 2243; 1,584 ha; 42°27’39”N, 87°48’33”W), located along the south-western shore of Lake Michigan, features the highest quality coastal dune and swale ecosystem in south-east Wisconsin and north-east Illinois.
It includes six globally rare and representative wetland types and supports two United States federally-listed Threatened and Endangered species which are associated with wetland communities: the eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) and the piping plover (Charadrius melodus). It also has the largest known populations of Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), categorized as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and as threatened in the state of Illinois. It also provides the largest near-contiguous block of stopover habitat for migratory birds along the entire Illinois coast and south western Lake Michigan coast in Wisconsin.
The main threats to the site include invasive plant species, urban development (including residential and industrial areas, and roadways) and conversion of grasslands and woodlands in the surrounding areas for agriculture.