Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Partnership announces grant opportunities
Individuals and organizations in northern Illinois have until Feb. 16 to submit proposals to receive grant funds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation 2000 Program.
Property owners, conservation groups, educators and citizen groups can qualify for grants ranging from $1,500 to $500,000 for natural resource protection and enhancement. Anyone interested in submitting a Conservation 2000 grant proposal through the Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Ecosystem Partnership needs to attend the next partnership meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Firstar Bank meeting room, 430 Main St. in Pecatonica.
Ecosystem Partnerships benefit conservation in northern Illinois and throughout the state, said Keith Blackmore, president of the Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Partnership. For example, Conservation 2000 is helping a private landowner near Durand in Winnebago County restore habitat for river otters and nesting cover for migrating waterfowl. In Stephenson County, the Soil and Water Conservation District will receive funds to purchase a tractor, mower and sprayer to assist landowners in reforestation efforts.
Conservation 2000 projects that can be proposed in any one of five categories:
1) Resource economics, to use the natural resources of an area to create an economic benefit for the surrounding community; 2) Habitat, to restore or enhance the existing landscape, such as reforestation, prairie establishment, and creation of wetlands; 3) Outreach, to provide the public with management assistance and technical advice; 4) Research, for the collection, analysis and interpretation of environmental data; 5) Capital, to purchase conservation easements or acquire land for the purpose of habitat protection or restoration.
Citizens have formed 38 ecosystem partnerships throughout Illinois. Partnerships in northern Illinois are the Driftless Area, Kishwaukee River, Lower Rock River, Rock River, Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers and Upper Rock River.
Application forms and instructions are available on the Internet at http://dnr.state.il.us/orep/c2000/index.htm. Applicants can call Sue Merchant at the Natural Land Institute at (815) 964-6666 for instructions on presenting project descriptions at the Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Partnerships meeting in Pecatonica on Jan. 14 and for information about other partnerships in the region.