The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has announced 10 grants totaling $500,000 for land trusts in Illinois – ncluding one in the Quad-City area – to support stewardship on land protected by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC).

The goal of the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship grant program is to increase the delivery of much needed stewardship activities to natural areas permanently protected within the INPC system, a news release says.

Stewardship needs at natural areas throughout Illinois have continued to outpace the ability to deliver these services by individuals, volunteers, organizations and government agencies. The grant program is designed to fund projects that address this deficiency by increasing the stewardship capacity of Conservation Land Trusts through grants that will expand their staff and equipment for these activities.

Eligible applicants under the grant program are Conservation Land Trusts exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and whose originating documents include in its purposes the restoration, stewardship, or conservation of land for the preservation of native plants or animals, biotic communities, geologic formations or archaeological sites of significance.

Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation will receive, $20,000 to buy a utility terrain vehicle to increase stewardship capacity for performing invasive species control and prescribed fire at Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges Nature Preserve, Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, Apple River Canyon Nature Preserve and Land and Water Reserve, Wapello Land and Water Reserve (all within Jo Daviess County), and Hahnaman Sand Prairie Nature Preserve (Whiteside County).

Funding for the program is derived from a portion of the Illinois Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. The fund must be used by IDNR for the acquisition and stewardship of natural areas, including habitats for endangered and threatened species.

More information about the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website at https://bit.ly/stewardshipgrants.