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IDNR announces Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship grants - 8/26/2022

​SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced 10 grants totaling $500,000 for land trusts in Illinois to support stewardship on land protected by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC).

The goal of the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship grant program is to increase the delivery of much needed stewardship activities to natural areas permanently protected within the INPC system.

Stewardship needs at natural areas throughout Illinois have continued to outpace the ability to deliver these services by individuals, volunteers, organizations and government agencies. The grant program is designed to fund projects that address this deficiency by increasing the stewardship capacity of Conservation Land Trusts through grants that will expand their staff and equipment for these activities.

Eligible applicants under the grant program are Conservation Land Trusts exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and whose originating documents include in its purposes the restoration, stewardship, or conservation of land for the preservation of native plants or animals, biotic communities, geologic formations or archaeological sites of significance.

Land trusts receiving grants and the stewardship action at nature preserves or land and water reserves included in the grants are:

• The Wetlands Initiative, $51,350.41. Hire seasonal technicians to perform intensive non-native cattail control, woody plant control and planting of sedge plugs at Thomas W. and Elizabeth Moews Dore Seep Nature Preserve (Putnam County).

• Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, $69,344.79. Purchase equipment and supplies and enlist contractual assistance to support volunteer teams in invasives control, prescribed fire, seed dispersal and rare species stewardship at Kishwaukee Fen Nature Preserve (McHenry County), Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve (Cook County) and Grisley Woods Land and Water Reserve (Williamson County).

• Citizens for Conservation, $26,574. Purchase a utility terrain vehicle with tracks and a trailer for transport to facilitate restoration efforts, including herbicide application and prescribed fire at Barrington Bog Nature Preserve (Lake County).

• Lake Bluff Open Lands Association, $59,568. Hire interns and contractual services to reduce undesirable woody species, remove undesirable mature trees, control invasives and conduct prescribed fire to recover the natural community structure at Skokie River Prairie Land and Water Reserve (Lake County).

• Clifftop, $35,800. Enlist contractual services to support glade restoration, eradication of non-native invasive species, install fire breaks and conduct prescribed fire at White Rock Land and Water Reserve and Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies Land and Water Reserve (Monroe County).

• ParkLands Foundation, $99,559. Purchase a utility terrain vehicle and cargo trailer to support mechanical and chemical removal of non-native invasive species and implement prescribed fire. Enlist contractual services to support natural areas management at Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve (McLean County), Ridgetop Hill Prairie Nature Preserve (Woodford County), and Chinquapin Bluffs Land and Water Reserve (Woodford County).

• Clifftop, $53,999. Purchase a utility terrain vehicle to haul equipment and volunteers and conduct site stewardship work. Hire a contractor to perform large-scale management efforts at Storment Hauss Nature Preserve (Monroe County).

• Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, $20,000. Purchase a utility terrain vehicle to increase stewardship capacity for performing invasive species control and prescribed fire at Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges Nature Preserve, Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, Apple River Canyon Nature Preserve and Land and Water Reserve, Wapello Land and Water Reserve (all within Jo Daviess County), and Hahnaman Sand Prairie Nature Preserve (Whiteside County).

• Lake Forest Open Lands Association, $70,660. Purchase equipment, supplies and contractual assistance to support stewardship to improve natural community structure and diversity at Skokie River Nature Preserve and Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve (Lake County).

• Natural Land Institute, $13,144.80. Purchase equipment to support non-native invasives removal and prescribed fire at Howard D. Colman Dells Nature Preserve, Burr Oak Valley Nature Preserve, Harlem Hills Nature Preserve (all within Winnebago County) and Kyte River Bottoms Land and Water Reserve (Ogle County).

Funding for the program is derived from a portion of the Illinois Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. The fund must be used by IDNR for the acquisition and stewardship of natural areas, including habitats for endangered and threatened species.

More information about the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website at