OSLAD: Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Fund
Initiated in 1986, OSLAD provides financial assistance to local government agencies for the acquisition and development of land for public parks and open space. The program matches funds provided by park districts, municipalities, forest preserve districts and other local government agencies. These local agencies are required to provide at least 50% of the project funding to be eligible for OSLAD grant assistance. Since 2000, IDNR has awarded over 900 grants totaling $277.3 million for conservation purposes. OSLAD is one of the most popular and successful conservation programs in the state and almost every county has a park or recreation agency which has received OSLAD funding.
NAAF: Natural Areas Acquisition Fund
NAAF was established in 1989 for the acquisition, preservation and stewardship of natural areas, including habitat for threatened and endangered species, high quality natural areas, wetlands and other areas with unique or unusual natural heritage qualities. NAAF receives funding through the real estate transfer tax; however, due to fluctuating real estate transfer tax revenues and political choices that have redirected funds for operational support, less that $1 million has been spent on land acquisition since 2010.
Other State Conservation Funding Programs
PARC: Park and Recreational Facility Construction Grant Program
PARC was created in 2009 with $150 million total in appropriations. The program provides matching grants to local governments for projects such as acquisition, construction, rehabilitation of new or existing park and recreation facilities. Funded through the Illinois Job Now! Capital Program, PARC awarded more than $75 million in 2014; however, funding is largely exhausted and will not continue at the same level without new funding
OLT: Open Lands Trust
OLT was established in 1999 to acquire natural lands and expand public open spaces throughout the state. Ninety-four percent of OLT spending occurred from its first funding authorization by the General Assembly. OLT spent $135 million to acquire over 42,000 acres between 1998 and 2003, but just $8.6 million to acquire nearly 2,000 acres from 2004 to 2013.
Partners in Conservation: Formerly Conservation 2000 or C2000
Established in 1995 as Conservation 2000 and renamed in 2007 as Partners in Conservation, this program is designed to promote ecosystem-based management of privately held land in public-private partnerships.
Wildlife and Fish Fund: Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Created in 1980, the fund is federally protected by the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act, and is used for wildlife, game, and fish conservation purposes.
Illinois Habitat Fund: State Hunting Habitat Stamp
Created in 1993, this fund is federally protected by the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish and Restoration Act, and is used for the preservation and maintenance of high quality habitat lands.
Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund: Income Tax Check Off
Established in 1983, this fund is supported by voluntary check-off on state income tax forms, generating approximately $200,000 to $250,000 per year.
CREP: Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
Established in 1993, this program is focused on reducing sedimentation and nutrients in the Illinois River. It functions as a cooperative effort between private landowners and local, state and federal agencies.