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June 22, 2007

Governor Blagojevich announces Wildlife Preservation Fund Grants
Voluntary donations of nearly $200,000 from Illinois residents help protect and enhance wildlife habitat

SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to support 51 projects throughout Illinois that will enhance habitat for wildlife, including the restoration and protection of threatened and endangered species. Funding for the projects comes from Illinois citizens through donations to the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“This program and the people who support it continue to make a difference in our efforts to protect wildlife and our state’s natural heritage,” said Gov. Blagojevich.

The Wildlife Preservation Fund is a voluntary contribution check-off option on the Illinois state income tax form. In the 24 years of the program, a combined total of more than 1,000 large and small projects have been funded through check-off donations totaling more than $4.9 million. The funds have been used to support projects ranging from habitat enhancements to species restoration.

“The Wildlife Preservation Program is a great way for everyone to contribute to the natural health of the State of Illinois and our native animals who need our help to survive,” said Acting Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Sam Flood. “The tax check-off donation is an easy way to ensure protection of our threatened and endangered species.”

Donations for the Wildlife Preservation Fund, which are tax deductible and may be made on line 28a of the IL-1040 form, can be sent to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Resource Conservation, Division of Habitat Resources, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.

The Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Advisory Committee approved more than $197,000 in funding for 51 projects this year. They include 14 projects with funding ranging from $2,000 to $19,890 and are outlined below:

• Augustana College, $14,487 for a project on demographic and genetic evidence to determine the rarity status of wild blue larkspur in Illinois. To support listing this species as "Threatened," a thorough survey must be conducted to document the number of occurrences, population sizes, and the range in Illinois. The survey will be conducted in Mercer, Henderson, Pike, and Adams counties.

• Chicago Botanic Garden, $13,000 for development of a formal Statewide Recovery Plan for the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake in Illinois - Phase 1 of 3-phase project. To develop this plan with the primary goals of securing and/or delisting the species in Illinois, as well as precluding federal listing of the animal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

• Hyerczyk, Richard D., $3,387 for the Lichen Flora of Illinois Beach State Park Nature Preserve. To document the lichen flora at Illinois Beach State Park Nature Preserve and to write and publish a report of the lichen vegetation found there.

• Illinois Department of Natural Resources, $15,000 for Mississippi River - Pool 22 and the Chain of Rocks - Ebonyshell Mussel Survey. To locate and determine the status of existing ebonyshell populations in these areas; provide information for the development of a management strategy for this species and it’s associated habitat; locate potential parent stock; and, update the Illinois Natural Heritage Database.

• Illinois Department of Natural Resources, $6,000 for Illinois Wild Mammals and Illinois Woodland Wildflowers Posters. To produce these two double-sided posters to be distributed to educators and the general public. This will fulfill needs in the IDNR poster series.

• Illinois Department of Natural Resources, $8,443 for Avian Ecological Investigation: 25 Years Later. To obtain abundance and distribution information of breeding birds and the collection of vegetation stratum ranking information. Also to collect transect and census points with a GPS unit so further avian analysis can be done.

• River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area (RtRCWMA), $4,000 for River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area Outreach Support. To develop outreach materials on invasive weed management.

• Southwestern Illinois RC&D, Inc., $10,000 for Illinois Cave Amphipod Recharge Area Delineation in Monroe County, IL. For contractual services related to dye-tracing activities of the recharge areas important to the federally endangered Illinois cave amphipod.

• Three Rivers Environmental Assessments, $19,890 for Status Survey of the Northern Madtom, Notorus stigmosus, in the Lower Ohio and Wabash Rivers. To perform focused sampling to determine the present distribution and abundance of the northern madtom in the lower Ohio River; and, to identify and describe habitats where they are collected.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $4,631 for Status of three freshwater snails species in the lower Ohio River basin in Illinois. To sample the freshwater snail assemblage of the lower Ohio River basin in Illinois to obtain data on distribution and abundance with emphasis on declining taxa.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $9,152 for Vegetation of natural plant communities of the Kankakee Sand Area. This study will involve baseline taxonomic and ecological studies of the sand communities of the Kankakee Sand Area to determine similarities and differences in vegetation composition and structure between the major sand deposits of Illinois.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $5,723 for New Invaders Watch List: Mapping Target Plants and Adding New Species. To assist in adding five new target plant species to the New Invaders Watch List (NIWL) and the building of an interactive web mapping of occurrence records in the Chicago Wilderness area.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $5,000 for Wetland Occupancy and Connectivity Patterns of Blanding’s and Western Painted Turtles in the Green River Valley. To survey all wetlands in a 900-hectare area in Lee County to assess how landscape structure affects the distribution and connectivity of the Blanding’s turtle using the western painted turtle as a comparison species.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $13,668 for Evaluating Hill Prairie Quality in Illinois using Auchenorrhynch Homoptera (Insecta: Homopter) and Vascular Plants. Conduct quantitative inventories of AH and vascular plants on 15 hill prairies; calculate and perform statistical testing; and, construct a database of species encountered.

Funding of $2,000 or less was awarded for 37 other projects to be conducted by a variety of organizations, groups, institutions and individuals throughout the state. They are as follows:

• Bade, Simon, $1,900 for Survey for Hexalectris spicata, the endangered Crested Coralroot Orchid. The focus is on conducting a population count at the existing sites, and expanding searches around prairies and glades in the vicinity of the existing sites in southwest Illinois.

• Bade, Simon, $1,976 for Herpetofaunal Survey of New Addition to Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, Brickey-Gonterman Nature Preserve, and Angela’s Prairie Land and Water Reserve. To determine the presence or absence of several species of herpetofauna at these Monroe County sites, which contain numerous hill prairies. The results of the survey will allow appropriate management plans to be made for these sites.

• Bi-State Airport Authority, $2,000 for Lawrence County Wetland Restoration. For restoration of a 19-acre ephemeral wetland located on airport property to a diverse herbaceous community that would provide structure and cover for amphibians, marsh birds and other species once a dense stand of black willows is removed.

• Boutelle, Tracy, $2,000 for Friends of the Cache River Watershed - Outreach Education Initiative. To educate Illinoisans, especially residents near the Cache River, about the importance of this wetland and its native plants and animals by developing marketing materials including a newsletter and web site along with other outreach activities.

• Brookfield Conservation Commission, Village of Brookfield, $2,000 for Brookfield Oak Savanna Riparian Habitat Improvement. To create a series of vernal pools in lowland areas adjacent to Salt Creek to attract riparian species native to the region but not currently found in the target area.

• Campton Township, $2,000 for Harley Woods. To hire a contractor to remove garlic mustard, dames rocket and other aggressive plants to restore this Kane Co. ecosystem.

• Deer Run East Property Owners Association (DREPOA), $2,000 for Water Control Structure for Deer Run Wetland. To install a water control valve in an old agricultural drain tile in order to maintain and control the water level in a marsh owned by DREPOA and adjacent private landowners who are members of DREPOA in Kane Co.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $1,912 for Macrofungi associated with tree windfalls in Brownfield and Trelease Woods. To help address a trend observed in mixed forests in the Midwest where Northern red oaks are rapidly being replaced by sugar maples.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Comparison of Plant Species and Soil Traits at Sites Where Physaria ludoviciana (silvery bladderpod) is Present or Absent in Three States. To survey plant species and to compare soils in parallel areas (within close proximity of each other) where the plant is present or absent in three states.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Distribution of Brochures and Installation of Plaques for Gardens Demonstrating Illinois-adapted Native Plants. To print and distribute these brochures and to produce and install plaques in the prairie and woodland demonstration gardens on the campus of EIU.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Distribution of Posters and Implementation of a Logo to Identify Native Plants Available for Landscaping. These will be used at garden centers, nurseries, native centers, schools and county extension offices throughout the state to help with quick identification of Illinois plants.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Assessment of Stream Valley Segments as Determinants of Stream Habitat Quality.

Funds will help determine if valley segments are a valid way for selecting stream locations for determination of habitat quality.

• Eastern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for using geomorphology to predict fish assemblages in eastern Illinois streams. To potentially provide insight into how geological features may be limiting stream biological potential, thus providing implications for stream naturalization or restoration.

• Grand Prairie Friends, $2,000 for East-central Illinois Natural Areas Internship. To hire interns to supplement the stewards controlling exotic and invasive plant species and other maintenance at GPF property.

• Hahn, Marianne L., $2,000 for Survey of the moths, butterflies, and leafhoppers at Sweet Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve. To conduct a survey of the conservative insect taxa that inhabit the Sweet Fern Savanna, with special attention to the large suite of conservative butterfly and moth species that historically have been found in sand ecosystems in the region.

• Illinois Audubon Society’s Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, $1,000 for Purchase Burn Equipment. To purchase protective gear and water pumps to be used by volunteers during prescribed burns (four FireLine classic one-piece jumpsuits; three Indian "Smokechaser" fire pumps; and four Bullard Wildfire firefighter’s helmets).

• May, Thomas, $620 for Census of wintering population of two Illinois Endangered species (Short-eared Owl and Northern harrier) on reclaimed strip mined land. Perform a comprehensive census to determine if there was an actual increase in the number of owls and to trap them for banding purposes.

• McCusker, Courtney E., $1,260 for Response of avian communities to invasive bush honeysuckle. To determine the composition of the avian communities in sites with an infestation of the plant and compare them to sites containing only native shrubs.

• Palis, John, $2,000 for Bantam Sunfish (Lepomis symmetricus) survey of WRP Wetlands at Grassy Slough Preserve. To resurvey the wetland where bantam sunfish were previously observed and survey additional WRP wetlands on GSP to determine the extent of colonization of these Johnson County wetlands by bantam sunfish.

• Perry County Soil and Water Conservation District, $407 for DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Wetland Site Enhancement for Educational Purposes. To make some improvements to the site to make it more accessible to students and the public, and to enhance its use for educational purposes.

• Pilgrim Park Camp and Conference Center, $1,344 for Prairies and Woodlands: A Hands-on Environmental Education Project. A prairie restoration for summer visitors and woodland activities for fall through spring weekend retreat groups at the site near Princeton. Includes a prairie restoration/education project and a woodland trail marking and exotic plant removal project.

• Piskin, Kurt, $1,825 for Genetic diversity of mycorrhizal fungi associated with the eastern prairie fringed orchid, Platanthera leuccophaea, in Illinois prairies. To assess the distribution and diversity of fungal species throughout the prairies of Illinois to assist land managers in finding the correct fungi to propagate this species in their area.

• River Trails Park District, $1,476 for Woodland Trails Habitat Restoration Project. To remove invasive species of plants, specifically European buckthorn and garlic mustard.

• Round Lake Area Park District, $2,000 for Hart’s Woods Nature Trail. To design and install a trailhead sign at the entrance to the nature trail and design and produce trail maps and a tri-fold brochure.

• Southern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Management and Restoration Analysis for Kankakee Sands: Black Oak Sand Savannas. To provide land managers a science-based plan to help formulate, implement, and monitor effective management and restoration of the endangered black oak sand savannas.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Mapping the invasion dynamics of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard). To sample CCDC Collins Woods near St. Joseph five years after the initial survey to generate a spatiotemporal map of an on-going garlic mustard invasion and to document the impact of the aggressive invasive species on groundlayer flora.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Ecophysiology of the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus). To capture approximately 60 Eastern massasaugas with equal numbers of male, female and juveniles; measure resting metabolic rates; digestive efficiency; and, calculate an energy budget. All of this will be used to test several hypotheses to assist in predicting the response to future management strategies.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $1,956 for Presence of the Bird-voiced Treefrog Hyla avivoca According to Call Surveys in Southern Illinois. To conduct calling surveys at seven sites in southern Illinois to determine the presence of the Bird-voiced treefrog at these sites and the impact of these sites on the conservation of this species.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $1,988 for A Site Inventory of Spring Bay Fen Nature Preserve, Woodford County, Illinois. To conduct a comprehensive vouchered inventory of vascular plants occurring in this last know remnant of Illinois River cold water tall shrub fen.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $1,991 for The impact of the invasive species Coronilla varia (crown vetch) on pollinator guild and pollen deposition to stigmas of native prairie plant species. To determine the pollinator guild in areas with crown vetch and the impact of crown vetch on pollen deposition to stigmas of native prairie plant species.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $2,000 for Survey and Status of the Eastern massasauga (Sistrurus c. catenatus) and Kirtlands snake (Clonophis kirtlandii) at Allerton Park, Piatt County, Illinois. To determine the status of the Eastern massasauga and Kirtland’s snake at Allerton Park through visual encounter searches.

• University of Illinois, Board of Trustees, $1,982 for Identifying the distribution and habitat of Jefferson’s Salamander, Ambystoma jeffersonianum, in Illinois - Modeling the niche of A. jeffersonianum in Illinois, generating predictive distribution maps of the species, and subsequently conducting site surveys within their predicted range. This project is to determine the efficiency of niche modeling as a conservation tool, and to better understand the distribution and habitat of this species in the state.

• Viers, Brittney L., $1,993 for the impacts of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) on native oak/hickory plant communities. To measure and compare the species composition and diversity of both native hardwood communities and stands of naturalized loblolly pines to determine their impact in southern Illinois.

• Why Not Now? Incorporated, $545 for Wildlife and Habitat Education Project. To educate children and adults with disabilities about the indigenous populations and habitats of the birds, mammals, and aquatic life at this 102-acre accessible camp in Fulton Co. by studying the educational material and personal observations.

• Winfield United for a Better Community, $2,000 for Community Outdoor Classroom. The second of a three-phase project which involves designing, purchasing and installing five educational signs to be placed in the newly developed Outdoor Classroom area in the front yard of the Winfield Public School.

• Free Again, Inc., $2,000 for Free Again Rehab – To repair flight pens at the Williamson County facility.

• TreeHouse Wildlife Center, $900 for Nocturnal Predator Barrier for Avian Caging. The project will involve use of 4’x8’ sheets of fiberglass reinforced paneling to surround outdoor caging to make it too slick for mink to climb, preventing the loss of protected, listed birds at the Macoupin County facility.


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