On September 17, 1983, the Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Non-Game Wildlife Protection Act and established the Non-Game Wildlife Conservation Fund. In 1986 this fund was renamed the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund. The General Assembly then amended the Non-Game Wildlife Protection Act in 1987 to include native plants, and amended the Act in 2005 to insure a portion of the yearly donations would assist in the maintenance of wildlife rehabilitation facilities that take care of threatened or endangered species.
The Illinois General Assembly declared that "non-game wildlife have need of special protection and that it is in the public interest to preserve, protect, perpetuate and enhance non-game wildlife and native plant resources of this State through preservation of a satisfactory environment and an ecological balance." The Act provides a means by which such protection may be financed through a voluntary check-off designation on State income tax return forms. Each individual taxpayer required to file a State income tax return may contribute to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund by stating the amount of such contribution (not less than $1) on the tax return, via the Schedule G Charitable Donations. All donations received must be used to assist the preservation of non-game wildlife and native plants in Illinois. The amount of the charitable donation will be deducted from the tax refund (if the taxpayer is due a refund) or will be added to the amount of tax owed.
Other direct Donations may also be made to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund, by sending a check to:
Office of Resource Conservation
Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271
The funding is reimbursement funding, and payment of the funding for projects is made at project completion when all final reports and required materials are submitted to the Department for review.
From these charitable donations there is an annual IWPF fund total allocation amount available for funding for three types of projects:
Small Projects - Small projects proposed for funding must focus on management, site inventories or education and cannot exceed $2,000.00.
Wildlife Rehabilitator Projects - Wildlife Rehabilitation projects proposed for funding are for the maintenance of existing wildlife rehabilitation facilities that take care of threatened or endangered species and are limited to $2,000 per applicant per year.
Illinois Non-Game and Plant Large Project Funding Program - Large projects proposed for funding are usually, but not limited to, $2,000 to $20,000 per project and should address an identified priority need of non-game wildlife and plants.
Any individual, entity or group in Illinois is eligible to apply for funding for their projects. Applications for project funding by the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund are due to the Department by April 1st.
This year there are some notable changes to the application process so please read the instructions carefully.
Below are the steps to complete the process.
- All grantees must register with the State of Illinois. Grantee registration is completed by accessing, completing and submitting the Grantee Registration form.
Complete a Fiscal and Administrative Risk Assessment (ICQ). This document is emailed to a proposed grantee that registers online, see above.
Complete the Programmatic Risk Assessment Questionnaire.
Prepare a State Grant Application Form.
You must complete your online registration and then email your completed application documents to the Grant Administrator
by April 1st.
Funding themes have been identified. Although any projects that address non-game wildlife and native plants are eligible for funding, priority will be given to project that address the following themes.
All Projects - Priority will be given to funding projects that address:
All Projects - Priority will be given to projects that occur in:
Properties with public access
Specific information for Small Projects:
Small projects proposed for funding must focus on education, inventories or management. The Office of Resource Conservation’s Division of Natural Heritage administers this special grant program. This grant program is governed by Administrative Rule set forth in 17 Ill. Adm. Code 3060.
Education projects include interpretative activities that teach Illinoisans about the natural world around them and hopefully have lasting effects. Types of projects might include: interpretive trails, curricula, or workshops; trail signs; exhibit displays; outdoor education activities; or instructional packets and material. “One time only” projects directed at one small group of students will generally not be funded.
Inventories that target birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, plants, invertebrates, native vegetation, habitats on an area of land (site, county, region).
Management projects that have a direct habitat enhancement benefit to non-game wildlife, native plants and natural communities. Examples of this type of project include exotic species removal, brush cutting, installation of nest structures, and vegetation management.
The funding requested for small projects cannot exceed $2,000.00.
Priority funding themes for small projects include:
Specific information for Wildlife Rehabilitator Projects:
Eligible recipients are limited to those persons who possess a current wildlife rehabilitation license/permit issued by the Department and who have provided care for threatened or endangered wildlife species during the 3-year period preceding the date of their application for grant funds.
Those applicants who intend to use any portion of funding received from the Department to take care of migratory birds must also possess a current wildlife rehabilitation license/permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing that activity.
Eligible projects are limited to those projects necessary for maintenance of facilities used to rehabilitate threatened or endangered species.
Eligible uses of funding are limited to structural repair and maintenance of existing buildings, pens, cages and appurtenant facilities used to take care of threatened or endangered wildlife species (listed species). Funding shall be limited to a maximum of $2,000 for a qualified, eligible project. DNR can only award $2,000 in project funding, per year, per applicant.
Specific information for Illinois Non-Game and Plant Large Project Funding Program:
Large projects proposed for funding and should address an identified priority need of non-game wildlife and plants (as outlined below) and are usually, but not limited to, $2,000 to $20,000.
Priority funding themes for large projects include:
Demographic or life history information where limited knowledge exists.
Preparation of a recovery plan or pieces of a recovery plan for listed animals or plants (see example
Implementation of conservation or recovery actions for priority species that are well documented or part of established plans.
Inventories of priority species and their habitats where presence is likely but undocumented, or inventories of priority areas.
Effects of stewardship activities on priority species
Acknowledgment of Funding Source
The recipients shall give proper credit to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund and coordinate with the Department on any publication, written document, news article, television and radio release, interview or personal presentation, if initiated by the recipient, which refers to the project. The recipient is required to submit one article to their local public media announcing the receipt of the funding for their project. This may be done either by submitting one article to or taking out advertising space in their local newspaper announcing the receipt of the funding.
The recipient shall post a sign or include a logo, if practical and applicable, crediting the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund. Signs and logos shall be supplied by the Department. The Department will provide guidance to the recipient for posting of signs and logos on projects awarded under the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund.