On Friday, August 25, Governor Rauner signed into law the Natural Areas Stewardship Act, which received unanimous support in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly.
This act will better protect the last remaining fragments of Illinois’ wildlife and natural landscapes by allowing nonprofit conservation organizations to conduct needed stewardship and restoration projects on lands enrolled in the Illinois Nature Preserve System. The Illinois Nature Preserves are living museums, home to tallgrass prairie, oak savannas, sandstone bluffs, ravine ecosystems, and hundreds of rare wildlife species.
Prairie State Conservation Coalition, along with our partners at Illinois Environmental Council, Openlands, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Chapter, and the Prairie State Conservation Coalition led the effort to pass this vital support for conservation.
By applying for existing state funds, conservation land trusts can assist local and state agencies in caring for the 600+ Illinois Nature Preserve sites that provide habitat to 20% of Illinois conservation priority species. Openlands sincerely thanks Representative Tom Bennett (R-106) and Senator Jason Barickman (R-53) for their leadership in passing this agreement, the Governor for supporting conservation in Illinois, as well as our many members who contacted their elected leaders in support of this bill.