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October 23, 2001

Ryan Announces Acquisition of 345 Acres of Land Adjacent to Goose Lake Prairie in Grundy County

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the acquisition of 345 acres of land adjacent to Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area and Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area in Grundy County to protect high-quality prairie and provide habitat for grassland and wetland wildlife.

"This acquisition through my Open Land Trust initiative will provide additional protection for a rare prairie that is home to grassland and wetland birds and two threatened or endangered insect species," Ryan said.

The acquisition includes two parcels totaling 340 acres purchased with $1,473,000 in funding from the Governor's Open Land Trust Program, the four-year, $200 million initiative to acquire real property for conservation, natural resource protection and recreation purposes. Another five-acre parcel acquired for $21,725 through state Park and Conservation funds is a parking lot that will be available for use by anglers fishing at Heidecke Lake. Commonwealth Edison Company owned the parcels and leased them to the state.

"The larger parcels are among the largest tracts of unprotected prairie in the state," the Governor said. "The acquisition will allow restoring and enlarging of the grassland habitat at Goose Lake Prairie to benefit wildlife, while enhancing recreational uses including bird watching, hiking and deer hunting."

To date, the Governor's Open Land Trust Initiative has resulted in the state's acquisition of more than 23,750 acres for needed open space, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, forest restoration and protection from development. In addition, more than 3,400 acres of open space are being acquired by local governments through the Open Land Trust grant program.

The 2,838-acre Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area features a variety of prairie and wetland habitats and represents the largest remnant of prairie left in Illinois. It is home to deer, fox, beavers, badgers, barred owls, red-tailed hawks, red-winged blackbirds and great blue herons. Two species of threatened or endangered insects, the redveined prairie leafhopper and the eryngium stem borer, are also found on the site. The 1,475-acre Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is located just north of Goose Lake Prairie.


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