Acres for Wildlife Program
Acres For Wildlife
Division of Wildlife Resources
WILDLIFE NEEDS YOUR HELP!
Illinois wildlife needs help. Like humans, wild birds, mammals, and other
living creatures need space to live and propagate.
habitats – the places where animals and plants live – are the
key to wildlife’s future. Unfortunately,
these have changed enormously in the state and many wildlife populations have
declined at alarming rates as a result.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is working to enhance habitat
on state-owned lands. But, as the new
Wildlife Action Plan makes clear, wildlife’s future also
depends on the 95% of
owned by private landowners. Wildlife
depends on you, the landowner, to provide essential habitat. Whether your
property is small or large, you can help.
CAN YOU HELP?
time and learn to share your land with wildlife. Your efforts will not only benefit wild animals
and plants, but you, your family, and friends for years to come.
and improving habitat is the key. Help
is available to do just that through IDNR's “ILLINOIS
ACRES FOR WILDLIFE” program and your local IDNR wildlife biologist.
ACRES FOR WILDLIFE
for Wildlife” is an IDNR Landowner Assistance Program. Through “Acres for Wildlife,” landowners receive
help in protecting, improving, or developing lasting wildlife habitat
on their property.
- the program is strictly voluntary
- landowners retain complete
property control (trespass
for any reason is prohibited without landowner permission)
- there is no cost for IDNR services
(or payments for participation).
return for IDNR assistance, landowners pledge their willingness to protect
and improve habitat on their land as they are able.
Protecting a minimum of one acre of habitat for at least one
year is required.
WHAT IDNR PROVIDES
Resource Assessment. A biologist will be happy to discuss with you what is
needed on your land. For larger acreages,
the use of aerial photographs and a site visit with the landowner will usually
be necessary to properly assess wildlife opportunities. Depending on the location or complexity desired,
some follow-up visits may also be helpful.
your land falls within a specially designated Conservation
Opportunity Area identified in the Illinois Wildlife Action
Plan, our biologists will also help you learn about special opportunities
you may have to assist with the conservation and management of unique wildlife
in greatest need of conservation.
Management Plans. In the end, the goal
is to help each landowner understand their land and resources better. An appropriate management plan to meet wildlife
needs for healthy grassland, wetland, woodland, or farmland habitat
as appropriate will then be prepared.
cropland areas, the plan may suggest alterations in farm practices such
as delayed mowing or participation in “set-a-side” programs. Odd areas and undisturbed areas (e.g., around
ponds) are especially valuable to farmland wildlife and can be enhanced
by plantings or constructing artificial nest structures and brush piles.
In woodland areas, the
plan may suggest changes related to grazing, timber management, the use of
prescribed fire, or the control of exotic invasive species.
Comparable considerations may be made for wetland and grassland habitats.
Expanding existing habitat or developing new habitat will often be
a focus of planning. Literature regarding
the habits and needs of specific animals or plants may also be provided.
Tree Seed or Seedlings. IDNR can often provide native grass and forb seed, or tree and shrub seedlings at no charge for areas
you decide to plant or otherwise enhance.
A Sign. For all rural landowners who
qualify, an attractive sign is also provided to recognize your contributions.
The signs also encourage others to recognize the value of wildlife.
Equipment. On a limited basis, special
equipment is available to assist in getting improvements you undertake
“on the ground.”
Financial Help. Biologists will advise on cost-sharing programs such
as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement
Program (CREP), Landowner Incentive Program (LIP), Private Land Incentive
Program (PLIP), Conservation Practices Program (CPP), Partners for Wildlife
(PW), and Forestry Development Act (FDA).
your land with wildlife. Without
sufficient grassland, woodland, wetland, and farmland habitat, wildlife
will disappear and we will all be poorer.
you are interested in establishing or managing wildlife habitat we invite
you to complete an application form.
Once submitted, you will be contacted by a district wildlife
biologist who will help you identify your opportunities to manage.
(Your request in no way obligates you to participate in the program.)
Click here for District Wildlife Biologist Contact Information