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Illinois Habitat Fund Grant

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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Anticipated deadline: Aug 1, 2021 3:00pm PDT

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $400,000

Fields of work: Habitat & Ecosystem Restoration Land/Habitat Conservation

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Illinois

Location of residency: Illinois

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Program Background and History

The Illinois Habitat Fund is one of three programs funded through the purchase of a State Habitat Stamp. The Habitat Endowment Act, enacted in 1992, provides long-term funding for the Illinois Habitat Fund. The State Habitat Stamp replaced the existing Pheasant and Furbearer stamps, expanding funding opportunities for enhancement to all types of habitat. 

The Illinois Habitat Fund portion involved in the Special Wildlife Funds Grant Program provides for enhancing game and non-game wildlife habitat. Organized groups of volunteers from appropriate notfor-profit organizations and governmental entities develop projects and submit applications to the Department to help fund their projects. The grants are competitive, and are evaluated for their merit.

Projects that have been undertaken in the past include:

  • Purchase of a no-till drill for native grass & forbs seeding that replaced a well-used irreparable drill.
  • Timber Stand Improvement beside and in a designated Conservation Opportunity Area.
  • Exotic/Invasive Species Control by an applicant with necessary certifications and proven efficiency and technical abilities.

Performance Measures

The purpose of the Illinois Habitat Fund and this program is to support activities and programs undertaken by the Department or other managers of land to preserve, protect, acquire, and manage habitat for future generations. Habitat quality is measured by such parameters as type, native diversity, size, structure, scarcity and location.

Linkage with neighboring habitat, whether existing or potential, is another important consideration. Illinois’ habitat includes all wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and agricultural lands, natural or altered, that support or have the potential to support populations of wild animals in any or all phases of their life cycles.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible applicants are limited to managers of land and that are an appropriate not-for-profit organization or government agency that has the expertise, equipment and permission from the landowner (if applicable) to develop and/or manage habitat.
    • “Appropriate Not-For-Profit Organization” means a not-for-profit corporation that:
      • is organized pursuant to the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 [805 ILCS 105]
      • is in good standing as a not-for-profit corporation, and
      • is authorized to conduct affairs in Illinois with one of its purposes as stated in its Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws being the support, development, conservation or management of habitat for future generations, or wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Kinds of Projects Eligible for Grants:
    • Projects are limited to those seeking to:
      • Projects are limited to those seeking to preserve, protect, acquire or manage habitat (all wetlands, woodlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands, natural or altered) in Illinois that have the potential to support populations of wildlife in any or all phases of their life cycles.
    • Examples of past funded projects include: native grass and forb seed, herbicide, and habitat management equipment such as controlled burn tools, seeders, sprayers, native grass drills and land purchases.
  • New application(s) which continue, supplement or expand an existing grant project are eligible to compete without preference or hindrance for a new grant. 


  • Cost sharing or matching funds are not required for award of these grants but it is an evaluation criteria item.
    • The review committee feels the applicant demonstrates more value and importance in their project when cash or in-kind match is included.


  • Kinds of Projects Ineligible for Grants:
    • Projects that are ineligible include:
      • education projects
      • purchase or lease of a vehicle such as a truck or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s)
  • Examples of applications that were not funded in the past include:
    • Purchase of a no-till drill for grass seeding in waterways, filter strips & field borders.:
      • Rejected because drill use was not primarily for wildlife habitat improvement/management.
    • Development of under 5 acres of habitat in industrial zone:
      • Rejected because of location.
    • Creek restoration in urban area to improve stream stability, water quality, recreational opportunity & aesthetic value:
      • Rejected because of minimal benefit to wildlife.

This page was last reviewed July 20, 2020 and last updated July 20, 2020