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September 11, 2003


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than $1.4 million in Conservation 2000 (C2000) Ecosystems Program grants to local organizations and individuals residing within 10 Ecosystems Partnerships throughout the state.

Funds will be used to acquire interest in more than 200 acres and restore 2,000 acres of forests, wetlands and prairie. In addition, more than 1,100 students will be educated on the benefits of habitat restoration and protection.

"This program unites groups from a variety of interests and backgrounds in a common goal to protect, restore and enhance the natural resources in their own local area," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. "I want to thank all of the partnerships for all of their hard work throughout Illinois. They are key to the delivery of watershed improvements statewide."

The C2000 Ecosystems Program brings together the interests and participation of local communities along watersheds-- landowners, businesses, scientists, environmental organizations, recreational enthusiast, and policy makers -- in a partnership to enhance and protect watersheds through ecosystem-based management. Each partnership group is eligible to apply for grants and technical assistance from the Department of Natural Resources. The program has grown to 39 such partnerships, covering 82 percent of the state’s landcover.

Conservation 2000 Grants

American Bottom Partnership
Counties: Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph and St. Clair
Primary Contact: Ed Weilbacher, 618/566-4451

Southwestern Illinois RC&D, Inc., $17,810.00. Southwestern Illinois Bluff Ecosystem Restoration. This project will facilitate exotic species removal and brush control on at least six high quality natural areas along the bluff ecosystem in St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties. Approximately 50 acres of hill prairie/glade and forested bluff, which contains rare species found nowhere else in the state, will benefit from the project.

Big Rivers Partnership
Counties: Calhoun, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin and Madison
Primary Contact: Alley Ringhausen, 618/498-4492

The Nature Institute, $18,888.65. Big Rivers Volunteer Stewardship Coalition. The Nature Institute will recruit, organize and manage a network of volunteer land stewards for the Big Rivers Ecosystem Partnership to provide stewardship to the lands held in conservation ownership or under conservation protection.

Cache River Partnership
Counties: Union, Johnson, Alexander, Pulaski, Pope and Massac
Primary Contact: Don Hankla, 618/833-5343

University of Illinois, $20,000.00. Effects of Hydrologic Restoration on Birds in Bottomland Forests. This research will determine the effects of the restoration of off-channel wetlands on the diversity, abundance, and nesting success of birds within a bottomland forest ecosystem. Results will increase our ability to effectively restore hydrologic processes and manage habitat for species that depend on functioning bottomland forests.

Friends of the Cache River, $35,000.00. Big Creek Fisheries Habitat Restoration and Bank Stabilization Project. The project will place a series of approximately eight riffle weirs in a reach of Big Creek in order to halt local channel incision. Big Creek is the largest tributary stream entering the Lower Cache River, and has been identified as a significant source of sedimentation the Lower Cache River swamps.

Friends of the Cache River, $450,000.00. Lower Cache River Dredging and Deep Water Habitat. The project is a joint effort between IDNR and USFWS (Cypress Creek NWR) and Friends of the Cache River. The primary goal of the dredging is to remove accumulated sediment from a 1.25 mile section of the Lower Cache River in order to restore deepwater fishery habitat, improve ecology of the river and recreational uses.

Fox River Partnership
Counties: McHenry, Lake, Kane, Kendall, DuPage, LaSalle and Cook
Primary Contact: Becky Hoag, 630/482-9157

McHenry County Conservation District, $42,000.00. Lawson Creek Headwater Restoration. This project will recreate most of the original 2,500 foot meandering channel of Lawson Creek, a small headwater tributary to Nippersink Creek, ditched in the 1940s. In addition it will provide for the restoration of 40 acres of cropland to prairie and enhancement of 20 acres of oak savanna north of the stream's conflux with Nippersink Creek.

Lake County Forest Preserve District, $30,000.00. Fish Lake Fen Habitat Restoration. This project will remove 25 acres of buckthorn thickets within a rare calcareous fen. The Lake County Forest Preserve District will implement long-term management and monitoring prescriptions such as controlled burning, follow-up invasive species control, plant/animal monitoring, and volunteer recruitment.

Kaskaskia River Partnership
Counties: Bond, Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson
Primary Contact: Larry Hasheider, 618/243-5514

Washington County SWCD, $22,000.00. Garlic Mustard Control in the Kaskaskia. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a rapidly spreading exotic weed of forests that is displacing native species and negatively affecting the balance of the forest ecosystem. The goal of this project is to control and eradicate this species from the area.

Southern Illinois University, $156,105.00. Bottomland Forest Health in the Lower Kaskaskia River Region, Years 3 and 4. This project will continue to assess the relationship between flooding and forest health on the Lower Kaskaskia River bottomlands, which contain the largest contiguous tract of forested land in Illinois. Management recommendations will be offered to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers based upon vegetation and hydrologic data collection and analysis.

Kishwaukee River Partnership
Counties: McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, DeKalb and Ogle
Primary Contact: Jerry Paulson, 815/964-6666

Boone County Conservation District, $5,280.00. Distillery Conservation District Restoration Project Phase 1. This project plans to restore a native, short grass prairie of local ecotype. The prairie will greatly improve habitat in an area where four breeding pairs of endangered Henslow’s Sparrows were observed by an IDNR Heritage Biologist.

Natural Land Institute, $17,700.00. Clear Water Legacy Expansion. This project will purchase a conservation easement on 11 acres of riparian forest adjacent to the Kishwaukee River and 336-acre Clear Water Legacy Project (016-01). The parcel is connected by the river to thousands of acres of habitat protected by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and DeKalb and Winnebago County Forest Preserve Districts.

Lower Kaskaskia River Partnership
Counties: Bond, Clinton, Jackson, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington
Primary Contact: Norm Etling, 618/632-1406

Southwestern Illinois RC&D, Inc., $68,512.50. Southwestern Illinois GIS Conservation Practices Tracking System. This project will develop a seven-county GIS tracking system that will be used to record and monitor all conservation practices on USGS DOQQs. The information will allow resource managers and planners insight into practices that have been implemented, their affect on the ecosystem, and areas to direct additional conservation programs.

Prairie Parklands Partnership
Counties: Cook, Ford, Grundy, Kendall, Kankakee, LaSalle, Livingston and Will
Primary Contact: Rita Renwick, 815/725-2934

Mazon River Watershed Planning, $3,750.00. Mazon River Watershed Education and Outreach Effort. This project will raise the perception level of 5th graders and the general population of the size, scope, history, importance, and sustainability of the Mazon River Watershed. Volunteers and stakeholders in both classroom and open forum settings will present educational information about the river and watershed. Key educational tools will include topographic maps and activity books.

Ducks Unlimited, Inc., $200,000.00. Dresden Island Waterfowl Management Area. Ducks Unlimited (DU) will purchase 74 acres of cropland along the Illinois river near Dresden Island. Following acquisition, DU will work with other conservation partners to restore wetland habitat on the property. Proximity of the site to the Dresden pool of the Illinois River, Heidecke Lake and Goose Lake Prairie State Park make it ideally suited as a waterfowl management area.

Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Partnership
Counties: Carroll, JoDaviess, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago
Primary Contact: Dave Mullen, 815/629-2468

Natural Land Institute, $174,680.00. Kiser-Sugar River Bottoms Conservation Easement. Purchase a conservation easement on 78 acres of riparian forest and wetlands on the Sugar River will be done with this project. This tract is part of a 1,900-acre forest within an Illinois Natural Area Inventory site, most of which is forest preserve. The landowner will donate an agricultural easement on 45 acres of farmland, for a contiguous protected parcel of 123 acres.

Upper Little Wabash Partnership
Counties: Clay, Coles, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion and Shelby
Primary Contact: Fred Walker, 618/548-4234

Marion County SWCD, $160,000.00. CRP Grassland Habitat Incentive Project II. An incentive program will used to develop 750 acres of critically needed grassland habitat on private land. The target areas are near the Prairie River State Natural Area in Clay, Effingham, Fayette and Marion counties. An incentive payment of $200.00 per acre in combination with CRP benefits will encourage private landowners to establish the needed grassland.





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