Clifftop gets IDNR grants

Pictured is one of several waterfalls in the sandstone canyons of Storment Hauss Nature Preserve in Monroe County. Management of this forest will allow for regeneration of native species. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently announced recipients of Illinois Natural Areas Stewardship grants for land trusts in Illinois to support stewardship on land protected by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.

Monroe County Clifftop was awarded two of the grants. The organization was awarded $35,800 to enlist contractual services to support glade restoration, eradication of non-native invasive species, install fire breaks and conduct prescribed fire at White Rock Land and Water Reserve and the Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies Land and Water Reserve.

Clifftop will also receive $53,999 to purchase a utility terrain vehicle to haul equipment and volunteers for site stewardship work and to hire a contractor for large-scale management efforts at Storment Hauss Nature Preserve.

The Illinois NAS grant program’s goal is to increase the delivery of much needed stewardship activities to natural areas permanently protected within the INPC system. Stewardship needs at natural areas throughout Illinois have continued to outpace the ability to deliver these services by individuals, volunteers, organizations and government agencies.

Clifftop President Jared Nobbe commented, “As an all-volunteer organization, Clifftop is honored to have received these two grants to further our efforts in conservation stewardship in Southwest Illinois.”

Funding for the program is derived from a portion of the Illinois Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. The NAAF comes from a fee on the transfer of real estate in Illinois. When a person or corporation buys real estate in Illinois, they pay a fee of $1.50 per $1,000 paid for the property. Money generated by this fee is divided four ways: 50 cents to county governments, 50 cents for affordable housing assistance, 35 cents for IDNR Open Space Land Acquisition and Development and 15 cents for the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. 

The NAAF is used for “the acquisition, preservation and stewardship of natural areas, including habitat for endangered and threatened species, high quality natural communities, wetlands and other areas with unique or unusual natural heritage qualities.

Clifftop’s White Rock Nature Preserve, 6438 Bluff Road, Valmeyer, is open to the public seven days a week from sunrise to sunset for passive recreation—hiking, birding and just enjoying nature. 

A grand opening of Storment Hauss Nature Preserve, 3326 Reed Road, Red Bud, is planned for this fall, at which time it will be open on the same schedule.

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