Habitat Wheel Initiative

Project Description

This project has implemented the Habitat Wheel Initiative, which has created grassland habitat on a landscape scale using incentives provided by state, federal and private programs supporting the priorities of the Illinois State Wildlife Action Plan. In addition to town-meetings, Farm Bill Biologists are being used to promote existing programs in targeted areas.

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Yes
County: De Witt County, IL; Ford County, IL; McLean County, IL; Montgomery County, IL
Project Size:
  • 90483.59 acres

Project Sites

  • Finfrock Land Acquistion
  • Ford-Sibley HWI
  • Logan-Dewitt HWI
  • McLean-Saybrook HWI
  • Montgomery-Cranfill HWI

Goals and Targets

Primary Motivations:

  • Public Benefit
  • Conservation Mission

Primary Goals:

  • Promote available conservation programs to 300 landowners.
    Progress: Created 150 landowner binders for landowners in the Montgomery-Cranfill HWI in cooperation with the Montgomery SWCD and WCS funding. These were provided to landowners as information on their specific property and what programs their lands qualified for and the cost share available. Forty-six landowners came to a meeting in the area that further described conservation opportunities. Contracted with the McLean Co SWCD to create landowner packets for landowners in the McLean-Saybrook HWI area. Over 100 landowner packets were created; however, by the time they were finished, the rental rates were outdated and they only provided the minimum enrollments. DNR District Biologists have been assigned a percentage of their time to promote conservation programs in HWIs. We also were successful in our SAFE proposal which overlaps our HWI areas. We created a promotional brochure which was mailed to each of the 22 identified SAFE areas. These areas then provided that brochure to landowners in the project area. We are working to put 5 farm bill biologists on the ground using a combination of funding from DNR Pheasant and Habitat Funds, PF, a SWG and WCS. Their primary function will be to work with landowners and we expect that we will quickly exceed our goals.
  • Enroll / acquire 2,500 acres.
    Progress: To date we have acquired 937 acres total including the 540 acre Nardin property in the Mclean-Saybrook HWI area, and the 377 acre Finfrock property in the Logan-Dewitt HWI area. We have enrolled 19.6 acres in the Ford HWI, 27 acres in Dewitt HWI, 221 acres in the McLean HWI, 441 acres in the Tazewell HWIand 145 acres in the Montgomery-Cranfill HWI area.
  • Identify 5 target HWIs.
    Progress: PF worked closely with DNR to identify 22 grassland focus areas for our state's SAFE proposal. These overlap with our Habitat Wheel Initiative. We have selected 4 of the focus areas as target HWIs. We are about to put Farm Bill Biologists on the ground and will use these to identify the final area.

Consistent With Plans:

  • Habitat Conservation Plan
  • Other
  • Conservation Plan
  • State Wildlife Action Plan

Targeted Habitats:

  • Shrublands and Grasslands
    • Grasslands

Targeted Species:

No targeted species were identified for this project.

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year
Conservation easement In Progress 2009 2009
Other - Private property transactions: Conservation Program Promotion In Progress 2007 2009
Land acquisition for conservation (fee simple, etc.) Completed 2008 2008


Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes

Monitoring Activities
Using existing DNR montitoring to determine grassland bird response.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization

Wildlife Conservation Society

Managing Organization

Pheasants Forever
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Contact Information

Aaron Kuehl (Director of Conservation)
Pheasants Forever

General Information

Project #: 1786
Last Updated: January 17, 2011

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