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IL Gets $21 million in Conservation Funding

Millions of dollars are heading to Illinois wildlife projects, including saving the endangered osprey. (iStockphoto)
Millions of dollars are heading to Illinois wildlife projects, including saving the endangered osprey. (iStockphoto)
March 9, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Several Midwestern states, including Illinois, are getting millions of dollars to help protect fishing, hunting and wildlife areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is setting aside $21 million for conservation efforts in Illinois. Over the past two years, the Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has helped bring back the osprey population to the state. Jim Hodgson, who heads the Midwestern division of the program, said the bird has been endangered in the state.

"Ospreys are an important component in our wildlife ecosystems," he said, "so having a population of osprey also benefits other wildlife resources."

The money for the restoration program comes mainly from taxes on sporting equipment such as guns, ammunition and fishing equipment. Hodgson said it's a "user-pay, user-benefit system."

Other recent projects include helping manage the state's white-tailed deer by figuring out the best spots to allow hunters access in overpopulated areas. Hodgson said all of the program's money will be invested in restoring and conserving Illinois' fish and wildlife resources.

"It has provided the hunting and fishing outdoor-recreation economy a multi-billion-dollar boost to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor-recreation opportunities," he said.

In all, this year the restoration program will distribute more than $1 billion to all 50 states.

Information on Illinois' program is online at fws.gov.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL