SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources today announced the award of 26 grants for wildlife enhancement projects made possible through voluntary donations to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund.
The Wildlife Preservation Fund is a voluntary contribution check-off option on the Illinois state income tax form. In the 29 years of the program, approximately 1,200 projects have been funded throughout the state through check-off donations totaling more than $5.6 million. The funds have been used to support projects ranging from habitat enhancements to species restoration.
Donations to the Wildlife Preservation Fund are tax deductible and may be made on Schedule G, line 1a of the IL-1040 form. Donations to the fund may also be addressed to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Resource Conservation, Division of Natural Heritage, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
The Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Advisory Committee approved $99,980 in funding for 26 projects this year (FY’14). They include seven projects with funding ranging from $4,700.00 to $15,989.00 and are outlined below:
• Chicago Botanic Garden; $14,000.00 - Plants of Concern– To study and protect Illinois rare plants in northeastern Illinois through long-term monitoring. Cook, DuPage, Will, McHenry, Kane, Lake & Kendall Counties (Contact: Susanne Masi (847) 835-8269)
• Ecological Services; $15,989.00 - Survey and Update of Historical Element Occurrence Records for Plants in Region 5 of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. – Update historical plant records in Region 5 for the IDNR Natural Heritage Database. Alexander, Clay, Crawford, Pope, Edwards, Perry, Marion, Saline and Union Counties (Contact: John White (217) 778-4264)
• Illinois Department of Natural Resources; $8,000.00 - Recovery of Greater Prairie Chickens in Illinois. Prairie chicken numbers have declined drastically. The preservation of this species is now likely dependent upon augmenting the population with birds from other states. Jasper and Marion Counties (Contact: Scott Simpson (618) 783-2685)
• Illinois Department of Natural Resources; $5,000.00 - Earth Day in the Park – To provide approximately 1,000 students annually with the opportunity to perform meaningful natural resources stewardship activities at about 25 Illinois State Parks. Statewide (Contact: Valerie Keener (217) 785-0973)
• Illinois Audubon Society; $4,700.00 - Let’s Bring Back the Barn Owl – The overall objective is to follow the goals and recommendations of the Illinois Barn Owl Recovery Plan, with the ultimate goal of delisting the species in Illinois. Various Counties (Contact: Tom Clay (217) 544-2473)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $9,529.00 – Development and Use of a Diagnostic Assay for Detection of Chrysosporium in Timber Rattlesnakes and Eastern Massasaugas – Develop a sensitive diagnostic test to accurately diagnose this disease in clinical and subclinical snakes. Statewide (Contact: Matt Allender (217) 265-0320)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $7,482.00 - Effects of White-nose Syndrome on Reproduction & Survival in Illinois Cave-hibernating Bat Species – This study is an expansion of field studies of Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat) and Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat) maternal colonies. Vermilion, Johnson & Adams Counties (Contact: Lisa Powers (217) 333-5136)
Funding of $2,000 or less was awarded for 19 other projects to be conducted by a variety of organizations, groups, institutions and individuals throughout the state:
• Benda, Christopher; $2,000.00 – Basic Plant Identification Workshops in Southern Illinois – To hold 10 one-day basic plant identification workshops in nine counties of southern Illinois. Alexander, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Union, Pulaski and Randolph Counties (Contact: Christopher Benda (217) 417-4145)
• Bird Conservation Network; $1,100.00 – Chicago Wilderness Bird Population Trends Update 2013 – To create and publish an educational brochure that will be distributed widely within the Chicago area natural areas’ land managers and stewards. Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will and Kendall Counties (Contact: Mary Lou Mellon (847) 386-7344)
• Campton Township; $2,000.00 – Harley Woods Restoration – Remove invasive woody and herbaceous plants, especially multiflora rose, Asiatic honeysuckles, garlic mustard, Dames rocket, boxelder and cherry. Kane County (Contact: Kristin Bilar (630) 387-1016)
• Deer Run East Property Owners Association (DREPOA); $2,000.00 – Invasive Species Removal at Deer Run East - To remove invasive brush & small trees. Kane County (Contact: Jack Shouba (630) 443-6126)
• Douglas-Hart Nature Center; $1,928.00 – Comparison of Different Growing Treatments for Herbaceous Woodland Plants – This project is to research the best restoration practice for native woodland herbaceous plants to establish and reproduce, thereby benefiting the habitat for non-game wildlife. Coles County (Contact: Marissa Grant (217) 235-4644)
• Green Earth, Inc.; $2,000.00 - Interpretive Trail Signs for Green Earth's Pyles Fork Preserve - To purchase educational trail signs, sign frames & mounts, and treated lumber posts for the Pyles Fork Preserve, to educate members of the local community who frequent this area. Jackson County (Contact: Stephanie Eichholz (618) 201-3774)
• Owls of Illinois; $1,824.00 - Provide funding to the Illinois' Raptor Center in order for them to present the "Owls of Illinois" program to the Albion Grade School and Edwards County High School students. (Materials & supplies for classroom presentations.) Edwards County (Contact Jacqueline Hallam (618) 298-2441)
• Illinois Native Plant Society - Southern Chapter; $1,500.00 - Continuing Public Education about Native Plants Through the Addition of a Summer "Wildflower Walk" Guide. - Develop and print a Summer Wildlife Walk guide. Alexander, Gallatin, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Williamson & Union Counties (Contact: Chris Benda (217) 417-4145)
• Illinois Raptor Center; $2,000.00 - Repair to Wildlife Rehab Barn – The barn is in need of repair to insure the health and safety of IRC wildlife patients that are housed inside. Macon County (Contact: Jane Seitz (217) 963-6909)
• Illinois Raptor Center; $2,000.00 - Replacement of Wildlife Hospital Faucets, Sinks & Cabinets – Replacing the old therapy sink with a large, deeper one, would help bathe wildlife that come in covered (with mud or tar) or need therapy for the injuries. Macon County (Contact: Jane Seitz (217) 963-6909)
• Illinois Raptor Center; $950.00 - Replacement of Air Conditioner - need to replace old and deteriorating unit; without air conditioning, the building gets too hot for wildlife patients. Macon County (Contact: Jane Seitz (217) 963-6909)
• Interstate RC&D (River Bend Wildland Stewards); $2,000.00 - Bio Blitz at Black Hawk Forest Nature Preserve. To increase public awareness and appreciation of the vast array of biodiversity in the Milan Bottoms area, a biodiversity blitz is intended as a citizen environmental education project. Rock Island County (Contact: Gina Howell (309) 912-4773)
• Lee County Soil & Water Conservation District Natural Area; $2,000.00 - Blanding's Turtle Nesting Grounds Restoration. This project will restore historic nesting grounds which have been invaded by woody brush and trees due to lack of natural or prescribed fire. Lee County (Contact: Debra Carey (815) 857-3623)
• Rockford Park District; $2,000.00 - "About Birds Exhibit" - The exhibit will provide information about the diversity of bird species found in IL. It will feature a life-size replica of an eagle's nest, wing span information & bird watching, and an area for comparing and contrasting beak adaptations. The exhibit will be part of each school and community group visit. Winnebago County (Contact: Judy Roby (815) 987-8695)
• Shawnee Resource Conservation & Development Area, Inc.; $2,000.00 - Education of the Public regarding best management practices for controlling invasive species through creation and printing of a guide: "Management of Invasive Plants of Southern Illinois" and landowner workshops based upon this guide. Alexander, Gallatin, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union & Williamson Counties (Contact: Karla Gage (618) 944-1736)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $2,000.00 - Detection & Occupancy of Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus) at Pyramid SP - Survey of crawfish frogs; identify site-specific variables that affect occupancy of crawfish frogs. Perry County (Contact: Peter Schiffer (217) 333-2187)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $1,998.00 - An Atlas of Illinois Fishes - The objective of this proposal is to produce and distribute an atlas containing distribution maps of Illinois fishes. Statewide (Contact: Peter Schiffer (217) 333-2187)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $2,000.00 - Regional Biodiversity of Terrestrial Heteroptera (True Bugs) & Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids) in Southwestern Illinois - The invertebrate fauna of terrestrial habitats in this area is understudied, and the findings of our research project will provide new data to inform better management of natural areas. Monroe and Randolph Counties (Contact: Sam Heads (217) 244-9448)
• The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois; $1,980.00 - Occupancy of Aquatic Macro-invertebrates in Seasonal Wetlands - Sample and identify aquatic macro-invertebrates from seasonal wetlands located on public lands. McHenry, Lake, Lee, Washington, Perry, Jackson, Franklin, Union, Hamilton, Pope, Alexander, Johnson and Hardin Counties (Contact: Peter Schiffer (217) 333-2187)
For more information on the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund and grant program, contact the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage at (217) 785-8691.
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