What is Conservation Congress?
The mission of the Illinois Conservation Congress is to give IDNR constituencies a formal process to propose and advocate actions that can be taken by elected and appointed officials to protect and conserve the natural resources of the State of Illinois. The goal of Conservation Congress is to ensure through professional management that sustainable use, recreational opportunities and enjoyment of these resources is available for this and future generations.
Conservation Congress began in 1993 and was modeled after the General Assembly to include representatives from various state interest groups. The process was discontinued in 2003, and then reconstituted in 2009. During the last convening of Conservation Congress in April of 2010, Governor Pat Quinn signed an executive order directing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Congress participants to develop proposals for funding clean water, land acquisition, and department operations and create programs to increase public recreational access.
That direction served as the basis for the IDNR’s new sustainability package which passed out of the General Assembly and was signed by the governor in late 2012. The sustainability package will generate between $30-33 million per year in new revenue for the IDNR.
Goals and Objectives?
This year’s Conservation Congress will start with a series of regional meetings, where participants will begin to “unpack” five broad topics for improving the mission and services provided by the IDNR to its constituents. The topics are:
Where you can get involved?
- Sustainable Resource Development and Extraction – mines and minerals, water resources, forestry, etc.
- Sustainable Resource Harvest – outdoor recreation – wildlife and fish conservation, hunting, fishing, etc.
- Sustainable Provision of Outdoor Recreation – recreational public access, state parks, etc.
- Sustainable Resource Protection – regulation, law enforcement, etc.
- Building Bridges – developing new constituencies, professional development, improving and growing partnerships
Regional meetings are scheduled across the state to gain interest and feedback from the public.
All meetings will start at 7:00PM. To register for a meeting click on the appropriate date below.
- John A. Logan College, Carterville – February 19 & 20
- Heartland Community College, Normal - February 26 & 27
- WIU Campus, Quad Cities Campus, Moline - March 4 & 5 (March 5th has been cancelled)
- South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago – March 12, 13 & 14
- Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville – March 21 & 22
Discussions at these regional meetings will create specific ideas for potential actionable items and serve as the basis for an eventual online survey giving the public more opportunity to vote for the actionable items they would like the IDNR to pursue. The survey will be tallied and those items receiving the most support will be discussed by the 2013 Illinois Conservation Congress in Springfield in September of 2013. The goal of the September meeting will be to develop work plans for actionable items.
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