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Habitat Funding


The public can search the Catalog of State financial Resources for agencies with active grant programs, currently funded grants, current funding opportunities, and registered grantees.  Click here to search for state grant opportunities .
There are now five grantee pre-award requirements statewide per Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) State Statute 30 ILCS 708/1.  The five pre-award requirements all state grantees must complete are described in more detail.  Click Here
Grantee Registration - All grantees must register with the State of Illinois.   Grantee registration is completed by accessing, completing and submitting the Grantee Registration form.
Grantee Pre-qualification All entities must be qualified to do business with the State of Illinois.  To be qualified for an FY17 grant award, an entity must: 
Grant Program Description:  The Illinois Habitat Fund portion involved in the Special Wildlife Funds Grant Program provides for enhancing game and non-game wildlife habitat. Organized groups of volunteers from appropriate not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities develop projects and submit applications to the Department to help fund their projects. The grants are competitive, and are evaluated for their merit.
Grant Program Administration:  The Office of Resource Conservation’s Division of Wildlife Resources administers four special grant programs that are funded by Illinois sportsmen through the purchase of Habitat Stamps and Migratory Waterfowl Stamps. These are the Illinois Habitat Fund, State Pheasant Fund, State Furbearer Fund and the State Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Fund.
These Funds are governed by Administrative Rule set forth in 17 Ill. Adm. Code 3060.  The Grantee agrees and understands that the grant shall be administered pursuant to the Administrative Rule and shall comply with these terms and conditions. 
Eligibility Requirements - 1.  Eligible recipients are limited to managers of land; and 2.  Eligible projects are limited to those seeking to preserve, protect, acquire or manage habitat in Illinois.
Application ProceduresPlease complete the Application 
Grant applications for funding assistance under this program shall be submitted to the Department at One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271, Attention: Office of Grant Management, Susan Duke or emailed to Applications received after the application deadline will be returned to the applicant and not considered by the Department.
PLEASE INCLUDE WITH YOUR APPLICATION FORM  - Applications shall contain a comprehensive project description with justification, including the wildlife to benefit from the project showing these specifics:
  • the plan for implementation of the project scope of work;
  • a map of project area;
  • the amount of habitat to be established or managed, including species to be planted or eliminated;
  • if the project is to be performed with cooperators, plat map showing each property to be developed and a copy of a farm program contract for each committed cooperator involved in the project or estimated acreage. (Committed cooperators will be given priority over estimated acreage.);
  • a comprehensive plan for the operation and maintenance of the project, including supervision, estimated costs (including any fees) and storage location, if applicable;
  • a comprehensive funding/budget summary form;
  • actual cash contributions other than the grant amount;
  • documented purchase price of equipment or commodities;
  • description of plan for general public access or use (or lack thereof); and 
  • signature of the applicant or authorized individual for applicant.


Project Evaluation and Procedures  - All applications received on time and containing the information required by the application packet will be reviewed by Department staff. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for completion and resubmittal. Submitting an incomplete application does not extend the application deadline beyond the designated deadline date. All complete, eligible and timely applications will be forwarded to the Illinois Habitat Fund Advisory Committee.
The Illinois Habitat Fund Advisory Committee shall evaluate each application presented to it according to criteria such as: past grant performance of the applicant, eligibility, feasibility, adverse impacts, quality of the proposed habitat, priority of the Department, the applicant's cost-share match and the applicant's plan for general public access to and/or use of the proposed habitat development or equipment purchase.
The Committee shall provide to the Director all eligible applications and a prioritized list of recommended projects deemed to be consistent with the purposes of the Illinois Habitat Fund. The Director shall make the determination of what grants shall be awarded after considering the recommendations of the Illinois Habitat Fund Advisory Committee. Applicants shall be notified of the Director's decision.
GRANT RANKING CRITERIA - For best results, prospective grantees should make sure their project scope of work addresses or fully describes the project scope of work in view of the ranking criteria. Photographs and maps are always helpful.
      Biological Importance
Projects that assist with achieving the goals of the Illinois Statewide Wildlife Action Plan will be given the highest priority ranking, so the project scope of work should explain how the project develops habitat to achieve the goals and target listed species.
Geographical Reach
Projects with a Regional scope; natural division, game division, watershed will be given the highest priority ranking. Projects that are a County or managed area or an individual landowner will receive a lower ranking.
           Quality of Habitat Provided
Projects that provide high quality habitat for target wildlife species as prescribed by the Wildlife Action Plan will be given the highest priority ranking. Projects that provide only moderate or limited quality habitat will be given a lower ranking.  Projects that utilize inappropriate plant materials will not be recommended for funding.
           Methodology and Project Cost (Feasibility)
Projects where the proposed methodology is sound and project cost is economical will be given the highest priority ranking. Projects where the proposed methodology is sound but the project cost is average or expensive will be given a lower ranking.  Projects where the proposed methodology is not sound will not be recommended for funding.
            Match and Partners
Projects with a 50% or more local funding match provided; or two or more partners participating will be given the highest priority ranking. Projects with a lower or no local match amount will be given a lower ranking.
            Public Access Provided
Projects with full public access provided will be given the highest priority ranking. Projects with limited public access provided, the habitat is to be used as a refuge, or no public access is allowed will be given a lower ranking.  Projects with paid public access will not be recommended for funding.
      Examples of 2015 awarded Habitat Fund grants:
  • Funds for an organized incentive payments program to landowners for completion of wildlife-friendly habitat management work.
  • Purchase of a no-till drill for native grass & forbs seeding.  To replace a well-used irreparable drill.
  • Timber Stand Improvement beside and in a designated Conservation Opportunity Area.
  • Exotic/Invasive Species Control by an applicant with necessary certifications and proven efficiency and technical abilities.
      Examples of 2015 rejected Habitat Fund grant applications:
  • Purchase of a no-till drill for grass seeding in waterways, filter strips & field borders.  Rejected because drill use was not primarily for wildlife habitat improvement/management.
  • Development of under 5 acres of habitat in industrial zone.  Rejected because of location.
  • Creek restoration in urban area to improve stream stability, water quality, recreational opportunity & aesthetic value.  Rejected because of minimal benefit to wildlife.
If you have any questions or need assistance with a grant application please email or call 217-785-4416.
Successful grantees must sign the standard Illinois Grant Agreement