The Era of Fund Sweeps Spawns PPW
The Partners for Parks and Wildlife (PPW) coalition formed in 2002 in response to proposed cuts to natural resource funds by then-Governor George Ryan. Alarmed by the potential impact these cuts would have on programs including the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) and the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF), organizations rallied around the common cause of protecting funding for land acquisition and conservation.
Since its inception, PPW members’ main focus has been on resisting attempts by the state to sweep dedicated funds for conservation. This defensive stance has limited our ability as a coalition to promote a more progressive agenda, including securing a sustainable dedicated state funding source to support more open space in Illinois.
However, PPW members are anxious to embark on a more aggressive policy agenda, and are committed to finding long-term solutions to this long-term underfunding problem. A stable and reliable funding source can secure future generations with open space, natural areas, parks, and recreational opportunities worth preserving.
Securing State Funding
With the potential for a new state capital investment program, PPW is advocating for a new source of open space funding. An Illinois Capital Investment Program MUST include land and water conservation funding as a legacy investment to preserve Illinois natural heritage for citizens today as well as future generations.
Securing More Federal Dollars for Conservation
PPW is also working towards securing permanent funding for The Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program helps protect some of America’s most important natural areas and has been authorized to receive up to $900 million a year, but most of these funds have been diverted elsewhere. Click here to view a Land and Water Conservation Fund fact sheet.
2012: IDNR Sustainability Bill Passes with PPW help.
2009: PPW members rally to reinstate federally protected funds. $9.5 million was reinstated.
2008: With help from the public, PPW saved 7 state parks that were slated for closure.
2007: PPW introduces the iSpace program (IL Special Places and Conservation Enhancement).
2006: Despite advocacy work, fund sweeps persist. NAAF loses $5 million, and OSLAD loses $12 million.
2005: The legislature appropriates funds to NAAF and OSLAD that were much lower than the real estate tax generated.
2004: On February 18th 2004, Governor Blagojevich suggested taking a “holiday” from open space programs to take $35 million of natural resource funds for the state budget. PPW mobilizes forces to save $56 million for funding open spaces. PPW membership swells to 129 organizations.
2003: PPW is victorious in overturning the proposed changes that would divert funds from the NAAF and OSLAD.
2002: PPW is created to defend the state’s natural areas and recreational sites.