SPRINGFIELD --Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Renee Cipriano has announced a grant of $8,200 to Living Lands and Waters, Inc., to assist them in cleanup efforts at Plum Island, a valuable nesting spot for bald eagles. Living Lands and Waters is a not for profit organization dedicated to cleaning up the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. The cleanup is scheduled for the week of October 18.
Plum Island is a 55-acre uninhabited island in the Illinois River located just downstream from Starved Rock Dam and is visible from Starved Rock State Park. The eagles perch in trees on the island’s shores just below the Starved Rock State Park cliffs. Earlier this year, the Audubon Society and its supporters successfully prevented Plum Island from being developed into a resort area and upscale condominiums.
The group of supporters, consisting of Friends of Plum Island, Save Our American Raptors, the Sierra Club of Illinois, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, and others, is now working toward cleaning up the remainder of years of misuse and neglect.
“This grant will go a long way toward cleaning away the remnants of old buildings, equipment, as well as the other debris that is polluting the land and water of Plum Island and creating a blight on the natural beauty of this scenic place," noted Director Cipriano.
.” The grant money from the Illinois EPA will be used to cover the cost of equipment, landfill fees, operating expenses for the barge and work crew supplies," she added.
The Plum Island Sanctuary will be cleaned of the debris, old cabins, a boat and abandoned equipment by Chad Pregracke and his crew from Living Lands and Waters. When informed of the contribution Pregracke expressed his gratitude: “This is truly awesome. Every donation we get allows us to be on the island cleaning up debris that much longer, restoring the eagle habitat and ridding the river of further pollution from the garbage that has been left behind.”
In addition the cleanup by Living Lands and Waters, there will be a public river clean up on Saturday, October 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a formal dedication of the Plum Island Sanctuary at approximately 2 p.m. Participants are asked to sign in at the Starved Rock State Park Boat Ramp parking area prior to 9 a.m. Pregracke and his crew will assign work teams for the clean-up activities. After lunch, there will be a short Native American ceremony by members of Midwest SOARRING, recognition of the partners who worked to preserve the island, and the unveiling of the sanctuary sign. The public is invited to come to the clean-up, lunch and dedication ceremony.