The Ridges Sanctuary

Preservation, Education, and Research

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly

One of the most precious gems of the Sanctuary is the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). This winged wonder is listed as Federally endangered and its largest populations are found in Door County, particularly in The Ridges and surrounding wetlands. Researchers from the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Illinois State Museum are involved in research on the ecology of the Hine’s Emerald. Since this dragonfly is federally protected, such studies are approved and carefully monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Field studies of the number and behavior of Hine’s Emerald dragonflies, along with obtaining photographic records, have been conducted for several summers. Monitoring the status of this endangered dragonfly is ongoing at The Ridges.

During 2012 & 2013, The Ridges coordinated a project to develop best management practices regarding land use issues that affect groundwater quality and its impact on the Hine’s emerald dragonfly. The Hine’s spends four to five years in its larval stage. Throughout this time period, the Hine’s survival is dependent on sustained groundwater quality and quantity, fed through karst bedrock into coastal wetland habitat. There are 12 areas throughout the peninsula designated as critical habitat, although Hine’s have been identified at additional sites.

In 2008 the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey delineated the groundwater contribution areas or the “recharge zones” feeding the Hine’s habitat sites. (They used the same type of model that well-head protection projections use.) The maps created through this project are management resources enabling local government and landowners to protect and preserve endangered resources and groundwater.

To learn more about the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, visit the US Fish and Wildlife Service page.