8 / OutdoorIllinois January 2006 January 2006 OutdoorIllinois / 9
The Action Plan fulfills our responsibil-ity
to protect wildlife and natural areas for
future generations by looking ahead.
Conserving and restoring natural places
will ensure clean water for people and
wildlife. Pollution and diseases affecting
wildlife, like DDT and West Nile Virus, are
often early indicators of problems that, if
left unchecked, can affect people, too.
Conserving wildlife makes Illinois a
better place to live. Walking in the
woods, sitting alongside a stream or
watching the birds in the backyard
brings relaxation and balance to our
hectic lives. Open space and natural
areas enhance property values because
people place a premium on green space
and the natural scenery of trees, grass-es,
streams and lakes. Communities
surrounded by abundant wildlife and
healthy habitats reap other benefits as
well, from nature-based tourism and
pation and delaying action—will be more
difficult and more expensive. Wildlife,
and the places they live, are too impor-tant
to us, our family traditions and
future generations. They’re worth the
wildlife associated recreation. Fishing
and hunting pump more than $2.5 billion
into the state’s economy each year.
Non-consumptive activities, such as
birdwatching and photography, generate
another $1.3 billion, supporting more
than 13,000 jobs.
By focusing on wildlife and natural
areas before problems become severe,
the Action Plan is a cost-effective, long-term
solution. Trying to recover endan-gered
species is often a tangle of regu-lations
and expensive efforts that are
often too late to be effective.
Using the philosophy “keeping com-mon
species common,” scientists,
sportsmen, conservationists and mem-bers
of the community worked together
on the Action Plan, advocating creative
and sensible solutions and incentives to
help private land owners do the right
things. The State Wildlife Grant Pro-gram,
a relatively new source of addi-tional
federal funding for conserving
non-game wildlife, provides some of the
resources biologists need to implement
The path outlined by the Illinois
Wildlife Action Plan is not cheap or
easy. But the alternatives—working
without partners, without public partici-servation
Reserve Program, we have
less than half as much grassland as in
1950. And constantly, a dizzying barrage
of new plants, animals and diseases
find their way into Illinois, crowding
out the native flora and
fauna that make
France or Korea.
In the fall of
2005, Illinois and every other
state completed a Wildlife
Action Plan to consider the
wildlife and places that need
extra help, and to decide the
most important conservation
actions to take. More than 150 agen-cies,
conservation groups and agricul-tural
and developmental interests
worked together to build the pro-active
Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.
By identifying wildlife with declining
populations or special needs, conserva-tion
will be more effective—and less con-troversial—
than waiting until they become
endangered, and difficult and costly to
recover. The Action Plan outlines the spe-cific
steps to conserve wildlife and wild
places that are important to so many
family traditions. Making the Illinois
Wildlife Action Plan successful is going
to take many people and groups working
together, just as they did to develop the
plan. Fortunately, we agree this is worth
the investment. After all, helping wildlife
benefits people, too.
The lands and waters of Illi-nois
are tremendously important
natural resources for the 12 mil-lion
citizens of Illinois. Everyone needs
land and water for so many things:
places to live, food and drinking water,
economic development, recreation and
agricultural production. Hopefully,
there’s room for wildlife in these places.
about the plan
For a free, full-color copy of the Illinois
Wildlife Action Plan, write to the
Watershed Protection Section, Illinois
Department of Natural Resources, One
Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL
62702, call (217)785-8266, or email
More information on the plan, and a
link to download the 380-page technical
document, can be found at: www.dnr.
For a CD copy of the full technical
report, contact DNR at the number or
Dr. Jeffery Walk is a scientist with the Illi-nois
Natural History Survey and is coor-dinating
the Wildlife Action Plan for DNR.
What’s in the Illinois
Wildlife Action Plan?
Goals: measures of what we want to achieve
with wildlife and habitat conservation.
A Wildlife and Habitat ‘Check-up’: the
size and condition of wildlife populations
and natural areas and an evaluation of the
problems affecting them. Scientists are
evaluating Illinois’ native plants, and will
fold that information into the Action Plan so
it covers all of the biological resources
cared for by DNR.
Actions: grouped under the broad and
overlapping topics of forests, streams,
farmlands and prairies, wetlands, green
cities, invasive species and land and water
stewardship, these seven “campaigns” out-line
the steps to reach the goals.
Research and Monitoring: a compilation of
the wildlife and habitat monitoring being done
by many agencies, identification of the little-known
wildlife and habitats and the problems
where effective strategies are lacking.
Local Priorities: an analysis of the most
important habitat types in each of the 15
natural divisions of Illinois (distinctive
regions with similar geologic history and
biological features), including regionally
important game animals and sport fishes,
unique sites with special significance to
conserving rare wildlife or natural commu-nities,
and recreational, educational and
economic opportunities related to wildlife
and wild places.
The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan outlines
objectives for both non-game and game
species and how to improve the quality
of existing habitat through a variety of
techniques, including prescribed burns
and removal of exotic species such as
purple loosestrife (above).
Illinois’ new action plan recognizes
the importance of wildlife and wild
places as family traditions.
Destruction of habitat is an obvious
problem, but with proper planning,
development can minimize impacts
and incorporate “green areas.”
The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan is a
long-term strategy for conserving
natural areas for future generations.
(Photo by Tracy Evans.)
(Photo by Jason A. Gould.)
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.