Ecosystem partnership seeks 2007 project ideas, grant funds

The Upper Rock River Ecosystem Partnership (URREP) is currently seeking project ideas for the Conservation 2000 Ecosystem Program funded through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Annually, the residents of the Upper Rock River watershed can submit grant proposals to fund conservation projects.

URREP is hosting a grant proposal meeting at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Headquarters, 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford, Ill. 61103. All persons wishing to protect and enhance habitat in the watershed are encouraged to bring project ideas to this meeting.

URREP is a coalition of local stakeholders, including landowners, farmers, scientists, environmental groups, recreation enthusiasts, and governmental agencies all voluntarily working to protect the natural resources in the Upper Rock River watershed. Membership is open to all that support the goals and mission of the partnership. Over the years URREP has received over $550,000 in funds from C-2000 to preserve and restore natural areas, educate people, and plan for the future. URREP has also developed a Strategic Plan that has identified many critical projects needed in the watershed and can serve as a guidance document for project ideas. A copy of this plan can be obtained by contacting Chairman Jack Armstrong at 815-398-2974.

Ecosystem Projects are funded in the following categories:

Habitat: “On the ground” application of land and water management, creation, restoration, and enhancement techniques that promote increased biodiversity or improved ecological functions.

Land Acquisition: 30 year/perpetual easements and fee simple acquisitions that protect habitat and restore ecosystem functions.

Education/Outreach: Projects that reach a target audience informing them of the importance of or techniques used in the restoration, preservation, and/or management of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Planning: Development of plans that integrate Partnership goals with Program Guidance principles and/or with the mission of related and relevant programs.

Resource Economics:Unique economic development projects directly associated with human access or sustainable, non-destructive use of an ecosystem.

Research: Investigation, data analysis and research of ecological factors in the Partnership area that can be used to advance Partnership goals and the Program’s mission.

For a description of the detailed C-2000 program requirements and the application process, visit the IDNR Web site. The final online grant application deadline is February 2007. Contact Joshua Sage, 547-7935 or for more information.

From the Jan. 3-9, 2007, issue

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