2019 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 525 - CONSERVATION
525 ILCS 31/ - Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Act.

(525 ILCS 31/1)
Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Act.
(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/5)
Sec. 5. Legislative findings and statement of public policy.
(a) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) The Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act

defines natural areas and creates the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to preserve the highest quality natural areas in perpetuity to sustain for the people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of natural areas, including the elements of natural diversity present.

(2) The Natural Areas Acquisition Fund, established

in the Open Lands Acquisition and Development Act, shall be used by the Department of Natural Resources for the acquisition, preservation, and stewardship of natural areas, including habitats for endangered and threatened species, high quality natural communities, wetlands, and other areas with unique or unusual natural heritage qualities.

(3) The condition of dedicated and registered sites

tends to degrade over time without stewardship actions. Once degraded, the public's significant investment is devalued and these natural areas provide reduced benefit to the people of present and future generations.

(4) Conservation land trusts have experience managing

natural areas in order to counter the constant and increasing pressures exerted on conservation lands by ecological succession, habitat fragmentation, hydrological alteration, pollution, encroachment by invasive and exotic species, and criminal trespass.

(5) This Act and the powers afforded to the Illinois

Nature Preserves Commission are desirable to guide and preserve the highest quality natural areas in perpetuity.

(b) It is the purpose of this Act to:
(1) increase stewardship by providing stewardship

grants to conservation land trusts to help perform stewardship actions on eligible lands; and

(2) to enhance stewardship capacity within

conservation land trusts in local areas.

(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/10)
Sec. 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
"Administrative decision" has the same meaning ascribed to the term in Section 3-101 of the Administrative Review Law of the Code of Civil Procedure.
"Commission" means the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.
"Conservation land trust" means an entity exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code whose purposes include the restoration, stewardship, or conservation of land, natural areas, open space, or water areas for the preservation of native plants or animals, biotic communities, geologic formations, or archeological sites of significance.
"Department" means the Department of Natural Resources.
"Eligible land" means a site that has been dedicated by the Commission as an Illinois Nature Preserve or dedicated buffer or registered as a Land and Water Reserve, and has a current, approved management schedule.
"Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program" means a program established under Section 20 of this Act.
"Land" means real property and ownership rights applying to it and includes the real property, structures, and improvements.
"Management schedule" means an approved document consistent with rules for Management of Nature Preserves or rules for Register of Land and Water Reserves under the Illinois Administrative Code developed for the preservation, protection, management, and use of lands.
"Stewardship actions" means actions identified in an approved management schedule which are designed to maintain, preserve, or improve the condition of native natural communities, diversity of species, and ecological processes on eligible lands, such as, but not limited to, prescribed burns, control of exotic and invasive species, fencing, and other restorative practices.
"Stewardship grant" means a grant from the Department to a conservation land trust for the purpose of providing stewardship actions under Section 20 of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/15)
Sec. 15. Powers, duties, and authorizations. The Department may:
(1) make stewardship grants under Section 20 of this

Act under an appropriation made from the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund to conservation land trusts to conduct stewardship actions on eligible lands;

(2) establish the total amount of funds available for

annual stewardship grants, except the amount of stewardship grants made for any fiscal year may not exceed the amount set by administrative rule and shall not result in adverse impacts on the operations funded by the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund;

(3) accept and receive any funds including by

agreement, grant, contract, donation, gift, or bequest from any corporation, foundation, non-governmental agency, individual, or instrumentality of any of those for the purposes of executing stewardship grants under this Act and these funds are to be deposited into the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund;

(4) develop and administer the Illinois Natural Areas

Stewardship Grant Program within the Department;

(5) adopt rules to effectuate the purposes of this

Act; or

(6) from an appropriation made to the Department for

this purpose, use funds received under this Act to pay for the cost of departmental personnel; contractual, professional or technical services; and equipment, materials, and supplies necessary or appropriate to perform the functions under this Act.

(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/20)
Sec. 20. Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program.
(a) The Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program is established to make grants to conservation land trusts for the purpose of promoting stewardship actions on eligible lands.
(b) A conservation land trust in good standing with the federal Internal Revenue Service may apply for a grant.
(c) An agency, organization, or entity that has taxing powers, collects taxes, or has eminent domain powers is not eligible to apply for the grant program under this Act.
(d) Eligible land held by agencies, organizations, or other entities may be the recipient of stewardship actions conducted under the grant as long as there is a properly executed agreement between the agency, organization, or entity and the conservation land trust that has been awarded the grant.
(e) The Department shall adopt administrative rules in consultation with the Commission for grant writing, the selection of grant recipients, amount of grant awards, and eligibility requirements to implement the purposes of this Act. However, the rules shall include the following requirements:
(1) amounts for match and caps for any stewardship

grant under this Act; and

(2) the Commission shall be notified of any agreement

between a conservation land trust and an owner of eligible lands for stewardship actions to be conducted under the grant agreement.

(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/25)
Sec. 25. Priorities. In considering applications for grants under this Act, the Department shall establish priorities that:
(1) provide the greatest benefit to implementing the

needs and priorities identified in the Illinois Natural Area Plan, the Illinois Sustainable Natural Areas Vision, and the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan;

(2) provide the greatest benefit to other stewardship

needs identified by the Department, in consultation with the Commission, in administrative rule; and

(3) consider, but not be limited to, the rarity and

condition of resources, severity of stewardship need, timeliness of actions, proposed stewardship actions, and availability of other resources.

(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/30)
Sec. 30. Administrative Review Law. All final administrative decisions under this Act are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review Law of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/35)
Sec. 35. Fund depository. All funds, assessments, fines, settlements, compensations, transfers, appropriations, penalties, and donations made under this Act shall be deposited into the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund subject to the limitations described in subsection (2) of Section 15 of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


(525 ILCS 31/99)
Sec. 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.
(Source: P.A. 100-420, eff. 8-25-17.)


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