Illinois Grants Available for Wildlife Groups and Landowners

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is encouraging Illinois wildlife groups and individuals interested in wildlife conservation to apply for financial assistance for projects that protect and manage non-game species in Illinois through the State Wildlife Grant program.

Groups and organizations submitting project grant proposals must do so by April 16, 2007.

The State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program, funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides funds specifically for the protection and management of non-game species in the greatest need of conservation, as identified in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.

"This grant program is intended to help us put federal dollars to work on the ground in Illinois now to conserve wildlife and vital natural areas for future generations," said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.

The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan outlines specific steps – developed by scientists, sportsmen, conservationists and members of the community – to conserve wildlife before species become more rare and more costly to protect. The SWG program provides funding to every state and territory to support cost effective conservation aimed at keeping wildlife from becoming endangered.

The program is administered by the IDNR Office of Resource Conservation.

The Illinois allocation of these federal funds is uncertain at this time as the U.S. Congress has not yet approved funding legislation. Illinois received $2 million for the program in 2006. Approval of project proposals submitted by the April 16 deadline will be subject to the final allocation of available federal funding.

Annual SWG funds given to each state and territory are disbursed according to population and land area, and are contingent upon annual funding appropriated by Congress. Under new guidelines released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 2007, the new "Planning" definition allows for a match of 75 percent federal funds to 25 percent state funds within certain parameters. The new "Implementation" definition restricts the match to a maximum reimbursement of 50 percent of total project costs.

Information on the pre-application for the State Wildlife Grant program is available on the IDNR web site at: http://dnr.state.il.us/orc/wildliferesources/theplan/swggrant/login.asp.

The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan is available on the IDNR web site at: http://dnr.state.il.us/orc/Wildliferesources/theplan/.

For more information on the State Wildlife Grant Program in Illinois, contact the IDNR Watershed Protection Section, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-5907, e-mail: james.renn@illinois.gov.

The deadline for submitting project pre-proposals for the State Wildlife Grants is April 16, 2007.