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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces Acquisition of 160 Acres of Land in Iroquois County

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the acquisition of 160 acres of land in southwest Iroquois County to provide additional habitat for grassland wildlife.

"Blocks of grassland habitat in this portion of the state, particularly tracts of this size, are rare," the Governor said. "It is important to preserve and restore them to help protect the wildlife that depend on them. This is what the Illinois Open Land Trust Program is all about."

The land was acquired with $330,000 from the Governor's Open Land Trust Program and a donation of $30,000 from three Pheasants Forever Chapters in Ford (Illinois Pioneer Chapter), Iroquois and Kendall counties. The Illinois Open Land Trust is the Governor's four-year, $160 million initiative to acquire real property for conservation, natural resource protection and recreation purposes.

"The willingness of conservation groups such as these three Pheasants Forever chapters to come forward to help fund and manage properties such as these shows the kind of cooperative spirit that makes Illinois a great place to work and live," the Governor said. "It is my hope that this team approach to natural resource preservation and enhancement will be the first of many through the Open Land Trust Program."

The Governor noted that undisturbed grassland habitat is very limited in this part of the state and few grassland blocks of this size remain in the northern two-thirds of Illinois.

"I hope that the widespread adoption of conservation buffers, such as grass filter strips, along with grassland acquisitions and restoration through programs such as the Open Land Trust, State Pheasant Fund and Habitat Fund will help reverse recent declines in grassland wildlife populations," Ryan said.

The property already provides habitat for deer, rabbits, pheasants and other upland species and further restoration to grasslands is planned. The Iroquois County Pheasants Forever Chapter will manage the property on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources.



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