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November 3, 2000

Federal funding secured for Illinois Rivers 2020

Federal funding secured for Illinois Rivers 2020

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan and Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood today praised the passage of the Water Resources Development Act, providing $100 million over three years to fund Illinois Rivers 2020 program.

"I want to thank Speaker Hastert, and Congressman LaHood (R-Peoria) for their commitment to restore the Illinois River and I look forward to President Clinton signing this bill," said Governor Ryan. "Because of the leadership of Speaker Hastert and Congressman LaHood and the guidance of Lt. Gov. Wood and the Illinois River Coordinating Council, Illinois will be able to revive the Illinois River and preserve our most important natural resource for all future generations."

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who strongly supported Illinois Rivers 2020, said that authorization of the program "is vital to the economic and environmental health not only of Illinois, but of the entire Midwest." The Speaker also commended the program's comprehensive approach to protecting the state's waterways and said that "the Illinois Rivers 2020 initiative demonstrates how federal and state efforts can be coordinated with private, citizen-led organizations to advance sound environmental policy."

"This is great day for the Illinois River and the State of Illinois," said Congressman Ray LaHood. "Today's passage of WRDA is a giant step forward in realizing the 20-year goal of this program. We have worked very hard over the past few years to establish a comprehensive plan to revitalize our great waterway. Today's passage of Illinois Rivers 2020 provides us with the ability to ensure the Illinois River continues to be our state's greatest natural resource for future generations."

"I am very proud of what our statewide team has accomplished in enacting this landmark legislation, and we couldn't have done it without the leadership of Congressman LaHood and Speaker Hastert," said Lt. Gov. Wood. "The Illinois Rivers 2020 initiative will provide tremendous economic and environmental benefits for our state, and will help sustain the health of our waterways for current and future generations. This is a wonderful victory for all the people of Illinois."

All 22 members of the Illinois congressional delegation, more than 65 environmental, conservation and agricultural groups and more than 350 mayors endorsed the initiative. Participating groups included the Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Farm Bureau, Prairie Rivers Network, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The Illinois River and its watershed stretch across 55 counties and affect 90 percent of the state's population. More than 900,000 people receive their drinking water from the river. Illinois Rivers 2020 moves beyond studies and begins implementation of restoration and prevention throughout the basin rather than just maintaining the status quo.

This expanded, voluntary, incentive-based program was developed by Lt. Gov. Wood's Illinois River Coordinating Council, which worked with members of the Illinois congressional delegation, agricultural, environmental and natural resources agencies.

Illinois Rivers 2020 will develop new technologies and innovative approaches to:

  • Improve water quality within the entire Illinois River Basin
  • Protect farmland and open space
  • Restore, enhance and preserve habitat for plants and wildlife
  • Enhance the waterway as a vital transportation corridor
  • Provide for land treatment of storm water and best management practices for upland areas

The Illinois Rivers 2020 initiative requires federal/state-matching funds before any restoration programs begin along the Illinois River. Lt. Gov. Wood and council partners will draft state legislation that will be introduced in the General Assembly next spring.


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