Resource Management

Photo of a diverse prairie with a purple coneflower in the foreground by Mike Budd/USFWS

Wherever we live - in the city or the country - Americans benefit from conservation. Natural systems like wetlands, forests and prairies help provide clean water, clean air and are the source of the food we eat. Managing and conserving these systems benefits people as well as the wildlife that lives there.


Management Needs & Techniques 

Habitat loss is one of the major reasons for the decline in many wetland and grassland dependent species. Because healthy habitats can’t exist without periodic disturbance, and due to the effects of past human manipulation, refuge lands need to be managed to improve or maintain habitat conditions. Some of the management techniques we use on the refuge could include: prescribed fire, grassland restoration, wetland restoration, woody plant control and invasive species control. By using these activities, the refuge is able to provide quality habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species.

Partnerships

The establishment of the refuge and conservation area was made possible by conservation partners and provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the opportunity to provide further partnership in the area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to work with the State of Illinois, conservation organizations, local communities, neighboring landowners and other stakeholders to restore oak savanna, grassland habitats and wetlands on public and private lands. Through this conservation area approach, we will strive to be part of the broader, community and partner-based conservation effort.

Invasive Plant Removal

Non-native plants, such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, brome grass, and purple loosestrife compete with native plants for sunlight and space. They often lack natural population controls that native plants have developed over time. Invasive plants crowd out more desirable species. As part of our management actions, we will work to reduce non-native plants and replace them with plants that were historically found in the Kankakee Basin. Tools may include: manual removal (by staff, contractors, or volunteers), prescribed fire, biological control, chemical control, and other techniques. 

Work with Private Landowners

The Service offers technical expertise and funding to help interested landowners improve and protect wildlife habitat on their lands. More than 90% of the land in the Midwest is privately owned, and wildlife depend on these lands for food, shelter, nesting, and migration. The Service provides assistance to landowners who wish to create a conservation legacy on their own lands.

Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program

The Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program is designed to assist private landowners in restoring and enhancing wetland, bottomland forest, riparian and grassland habitats for wildlife, fisheries, water quality, and recreation benefits. The Illinois staff provides technical advice and matching funds to landowners in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford counties. Assistance is available for restoration projects, including wetland water control structures and pipes, re-establishment of native prairies, and oak savanna restoration, to landowners who agree to maintain the area for a period of 10 years ore more. Please contact the Illinois Partners for Fish and Wildlife office at (217) 557-4474 for assistance.

See the Partners for Fish & Wildlife website for more information here.