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IDNR Announces Habitat Fund Project Grants

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the approval of more than $737,500 in grants for 11 wildlife habitat projects through the Illinois Habitat Fund Special Wildlife Funds Grant Program.

The program enhances game and non-game wildlife habitat through projects developed by not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities. Funding for the Illinois Habitat Fund Special Wildlife Funds Grant Program comes from the sale of Habitat Stamps to sportsmen and sportswomen.

The Illinois Habitat Fund Advisory Committee approved $737,522.43 in funding for 11 projects, which are outlined below:

• Friends of Pyramid State Park – A helicopter spraying project to remove large amounts of invasive growth of Autumn Olive followed by prescribed burns to remove dying brush thickets to restore acres of prairie grassland areas in Pyramid State Park in Perry County. $64,993.78 in state Habitat funds were awarded, with IDNR Lands Division providing $60,000 in additional funds. http://www.friendsofpyramidstatepark.com/.

• Quail and Upland Game Alliance – A statewide project on private landowner and state lands to setback woody succession and brushy cover along field edges to increase grassland habitat suitable for grassland birds. $70,400 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $32,000 in matching funds. http://quga.org/.

• Fermilab Natural Areas – This project will fund habitat restoration activities for a 500-acre tract at Enola Grasslands in DuPage County, serving as a habitat for endangered and declining population grassland birds. The grantee will remove woody invasive vegetation and manage a shortgrass prairie at this site. $10,000 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $32,000 in matching funds. https://www.fermilabnaturalareas.org/.

• Illinois Audubon Society Springfield – This project will purchase a burn cache of important fire safety equipment including a slip-on truck water pump, a utility vehicle slip-on water pump, and numerous kinds of hand tools and safety gear for statewide use by prescribed burn crews. $37,305 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $12,435 in matching funds. http://www.springfieldaudubon.org/.

• Jefferson County Soil and Conservation District – This project will purchase a drill planter to replace an old planter purchased in 2008 via the state Habitat fund. The old drill planter has planted more than 4,000 acres of habitat in Jefferson, Marion, Wayne, Clinton, Washington, Perry, Franklin and Hamilton counties. $15,000 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $16,167 in matching funds.

• Quail and Upland Game Alliance – This project will purchase a brush cutter attachment for a skid steer used in habitat restoration projects. $5,604.50 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $1,700 in matching funds. http://quga.org/.

• Kendall County Forest Preserve – This project will restore large tracts of cropland to prairie grassland habitat with an emphasis on planting native prairie grasses, pollinator seeds and plant plugs in coordination with the IDNR Mason State Nursery. A pilot program for archery deer was recently initiated to control deer herd population and reduce the incidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer browse areas. $30,000 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $30,000 in matching funds. https://www.co.kendall.il.us/forest-preserve/.

• Ducks Unlimited Inc. – This project funds the restoration of wetlands at the Raskey Slough at Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County, including construction and rebuilding of 600 feet of berm on the southern end of the slough and installation of a water control structure and pump pads for the new mobile water pump. $57,500 in State Waterfowl funds will be used to purchase the new mobile water pump. $187,927 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $63,703 in matching funds. https://www.ducks.org/.

• The Wetlands Initiative – This Putnam County project will restore high quality mesic prairie, wetlands, woodlands, sedge meadow and seep habitat across 42 acres of Violet Meadow area at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, which is open to the public 365 days a year and protected in perpetuity as a natural area. This site offers miles of hiking trails, as well as excellent nature photography, birdwatching, seasonal paddling, and summer fishing opportunities. The grantee will be removing invasive species, seeding and planting native plant plugs, conducting prescribed burns to restore mesic prairie and disconnecting tile drainage lines. $18,045 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $92,346.23 in matching funds. http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-overview.

• Pheasants Forever – This project will purchase one Brush Hog Mower and two Air Flow Seeders for placement with various Pheasants Forever chapters for Habitat restoration work. $30,419.15 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $13,125.48 in matching funds. https://pheasantsforever.org/.

• Quail and Upland Game Alliance – A statewide project, but with a focus on southern Illinois, to convert more than 1,000 acres from fescue and brome grasses to high quality habitat for all upland game and non-game species. They will be planting prairie grasses and forbs on these acres that will have a diverse mix of all three blooming periods with at least one milkweed. The project’s results will replace very poor habitat with a prairie landscape beneficial to quail, turkey, deer, pheasant and grassland birds. The flowers blooming in all three seasons will benefit pollinator insects and the milkweed will benefit monarch butterflies. Priority will be given to areas that have public access. $267,828 of state Habitat funds were awarded, with the grantee providing $87,966 in matching funds. http://quga.org/.

For information on how to apply for a Habitat Grant, visit:
https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/grants/Pages/Habitat-Funding-Opportunity.aspx.