SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship projects through May 27.
Eligible applicants are conservation land trusts exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and whose originating documents include in their purposes the restoration and stewardship of land for conservation purposes.
The grant program’s goal is to increase the delivery of stewardship activities to natural areas protected within the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission system. Stewardship needs at natural areas throughout the state have outpaced the ability for individuals, volunteers, organizations and government agencies to deliver these services. This program is designed to fund projects that immediately address the deficiency and begin to expand on the stewardship capacity of Conservation Land Trusts through grants that will expand staff and equipment for these activities.
Funding for the program is derived from a portion of the Illinois Natural Areas Acquisition Fund and must be used by the Department of Natural Resources for the stewardship of natural areas, including habitats for endangered and threatened species (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Act, 525 ILCS 35/14).
Stewardship actions funded by this grant program must be included in the management schedules approved by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and are limited to a maximum of $100,000 per proposal. Eligible costs may include contractual services, staff time related to the project, equipment and materials necessary to complete stewardship projects, such as tools, safety items, herbicide, construction materials and indirect costs. Benefit costs are not eligible.
Matching funds are required on all projects. The minimum match requirements allowed by administrative rule are 5% or $1,000, whichever is less, to ensure all land trusts will have access to the program.