Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB1701
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Full Text of SB1701  103rd General Assembly




SB1701 EnrolledLRB103 29043 AWJ 55429 b

1    AN ACT concerning local government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The State Finance Act is amended by changing
5Section 6z-32 as follows:
6    (30 ILCS 105/6z-32)
7    Sec. 6z-32. Partners for Planning and Conservation.
8    (a) The Partners for Conservation Fund (formerly known as
9the Conservation 2000 Fund) and the Partners for Conservation
10Projects Fund (formerly known as the Conservation 2000
11Projects Fund) are created as special funds in the State
12Treasury. These funds shall be used to establish a
13comprehensive program to protect Illinois' natural resources
14through cooperative partnerships between State government and
15public and private landowners. Moneys in these Funds may be
16used, subject to appropriation, by the Department of Natural
17Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department
18of Agriculture for purposes relating to natural resource
19protection, planning, recreation, tourism, climate resilience,
20and compatible agricultural and economic development
21activities. Without limiting these general purposes, moneys in
22these Funds may be used, subject to appropriation, for the
23following specific purposes:



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1        (1) To foster sustainable agriculture practices and
2    control soil erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loss
3    from farmland, including grants to Soil and Water
4    Conservation Districts for conservation practice
5    cost-share grants and for personnel, educational, and
6    administrative expenses.
7        (2) To establish and protect a system of ecosystems in
8    public and private ownership through conservation
9    easements, incentives to public and private landowners,
10    natural resource restoration and preservation, water
11    quality protection and improvement, land use and watershed
12    planning, technical assistance and grants, and land
13    acquisition provided these mechanisms are all voluntary on
14    the part of the landowner and do not involve the use of
15    eminent domain.
16        (3) To develop a systematic and long-term program to
17    effectively measure and monitor natural resources and
18    ecological conditions through investments in technology
19    and involvement of scientific experts.
20        (4) To initiate strategies to enhance, use, and
21    maintain Illinois' inland lakes through education,
22    technical assistance, research, and financial incentives.
23        (5) To partner with private landowners and with units
24    of State, federal, and local government and with
25    not-for-profit organizations in order to integrate State
26    and federal programs with Illinois' natural resource



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1    protection and restoration efforts and to meet
2    requirements to obtain federal and other funds for
3    conservation or protection of natural resources.
4        (6) To support implement the State's Nutrient Loss
5    Reduction Strategy, including, but not limited to, funding
6    the resources needed to support the Strategy's Policy
7    Working Group, cover water quality monitoring in support
8    of Strategy implementation, prepare a biennial report on
9    the progress made on the Strategy every 2 years, and
10    provide cost share funding for nutrient capture projects.
11        (7) To provide capacity grants to support soil and
12    water conservation districts, including, but not limited
13    to, developing soil health plans, conducting soil health
14    assessments, peer-to-peer training, convening
15    producer-led dialogues, professional memberships, lab
16    analysis, and development and travel stipends for meetings
17    and educational events.
18        (8) To develop guidelines and local soil health
19    assessments for advancing soil health.
20    (b) The State Comptroller and State Treasurer shall
21automatically transfer on the last day of each month,
22beginning on September 30, 1995 and ending on June 30, 2023,
23from the General Revenue Fund to the Partners for Conservation
24Fund, an amount equal to 1/10 of the amount set forth below in
25fiscal year 1996 and an amount equal to 1/12 of the amount set
26forth below in each of the other specified fiscal years:



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1Fiscal Year Amount
21996$ 3,500,000
31997$ 9,000,000
72001 through 2004$14,000,000
82005 $7,000,000
92006 $11,000,000
102007 $0
112008 through 2011 $14,000,000
122012 $12,200,000
132013 through 2017 $14,000,000
142018 $1,500,000
152019 $14,000,000
162020 $7,500,000
172021 through 2023 $14,000,000
18    (c) The State Comptroller and State Treasurer shall
19automatically transfer on the last day of each month beginning
20on July 31, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022, from the
21Environmental Protection Permit and Inspection Fund to the
22Partners for Conservation Fund, an amount equal to 1/12 of
24    (c-1) The State Comptroller and State Treasurer shall
25automatically transfer on the last day of each month beginning
26on July 31, 2022 and ending June 30, 2023, from the



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1Environmental Protection Permit and Inspection Fund to the
2Partners for Conservation Fund, an amount equal to 1/12 of
4    (d) There shall be deposited into the Partners for
5Conservation Projects Fund such bond proceeds and other moneys
6as may, from time to time, be provided by law.
7(Source: P.A. 101-10, eff. 6-5-19; 102-16, eff. 6-17-21;
8102-699, eff. 4-19-22.)
9    Section 15. The Soil and Water Conservation Districts Act
10is amended by adding Sections 3.24, 3.25, 3.26, 3.27, 22.03a,
1122.03b, 22.03c, and 22.03d as follows:
12    (70 ILCS 405/3.24 new)
13    Sec. 3.24. "Healthy soils practices" means systems of
14agricultural, forestry, and land management practices that:
15        (1) improve the health of soils, including, but not
16    limited to, consideration of depth of topsoil horizons,
17    water infiltration rate, water-holding capacity, organic
18    matter content, biologically accessible nutrient content,
19    bulk density, biological activity, and biological and
20    microbiological diversity;
21        (2) follow the principles of: minimizing soil
22    disturbance and external inputs; keeping soil covered;
23    maximizing biodiversity; diversifying crop rotations;
24    maximizing presence of living roots; integrating animals



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1    and insects into land management, including grazing
2    animals, birds, beneficial insects, or keystone species,
3    such as earthworms; and incorporating the context of local
4    conditions in decision-making, including, for example,
5    soil type, topography, and time of year; and
6        (3) include practices such as conservation tillage or
7    no-till, cover-cropping, perennialization of highly
8    erodible land, precision nitrogen and phosphorus
9    application, managed grazing, integrated crop-livestock
10    systems, silvopasture, agroforestry, perennial crops,
11    integrated pest management, nutrient best management
12    practices, invasive species removal and the planting of
13    native species and those practices recommended by the
14    United States Department of Agriculture's Natural
15    Resources Conservation Service - Field Office Technical
16    Guide.
17    (70 ILCS 405/3.25 new)
18    Sec. 3.25. "Soil health assessment" means soil health
19indicator measures, including, but not limited to, soil
20organic matter, soil structure, infiltration and bulk density,
21water-holding capacity, microbial biomass, and soil
23    (70 ILCS 405/3.26 new)
24    Sec. 3.26. "Initiative" means the Illinois Healthy Soils



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2    (70 ILCS 405/3.27 new)
3    Sec. 3.27. "Healthy soil" means the continuing capacity of
4a soil to function as a vital, living biological system that
5sustains plants, animals, and humans, increases soil organic
6matter, improves soil structure and water-holding and
7nutrient-holding capacity and nutrient cycling, enhances water
8infiltration and filtration capability, promotes water
9quality, and results in net long-term ecological benefits.
10"Healthy soil" includes soil that hosts a diversity of
11beneficial organisms, grow vigorous crops, enhance
12agricultural resilience, including the ability of crops and
13livestock to tolerate and recover from drought, temperature
14extremes, extreme precipitation events, pests, diseases, and
15other stresses, break down harmful chemicals, and help convert
16organic residues into stable soil organic matter and retaining
17nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus.
18    (70 ILCS 405/22.03a new)
19    Sec. 22.03a. Illinois Healthy Soils Initiative.
20    (a) The Illinois Healthy Soils Initiative is created. It
21is the purpose of the Initiative to improve the health of soils
22through efforts that improve soil and water quality, increase
23the resilience of ecosystems to extreme weather events,
24protect and improve agricultural productivity, and support



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1aquatic and wildlife habitat.
2    Subject to appropriation, the Initiative shall be
3administered by the Director of Agriculture with consultation
4from soil and water conservation districts, the Illinois
5Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Natural
6Resources, and the University of Illinois Extension Program.
7The Department shall create guidelines and guidance to assist
8soil and water conservation districts in developing soil
9health assessments in order to identify desired capacity and
10funding levels and establish regular, measurable,
11cost-effective, and technically achievable goals to advance
12voluntary and incentive-based strategies that improve healthy
13soils. These assessments shall be used to identify
14opportunities to access financial and technical assistance
15from local, State, and federal sources to guide resources to
16their best potential use.
17    The Initiative shall complement and improve coordination
18of existing resources and processes and shall not replace
19existing, local, State, or federal funding or technical
20assistance programs. The Department shall report on progress
21of the Initiative annually.
22    The Initiative shall promote voluntary and incentive-based
23soil health efforts. No part of this Section shall be used to
24impose mandates or require practice adoption.
25    (70 ILCS 405/22.03b new)



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1    Sec. 22.03b. Guidelines for soil health assessments. The
2Department shall adopt and revise guidelines to assist soil
3and water conservation districts in determining local goals
4and needs for implementing soil health assessments.
5    In developing its guidelines to assist soil and water
6conservation districts in determining local goals and needs
7for soil health assessments, the Department shall consider:
8        (1) county and State levels of conservation practice
9    adoption. Guidance should also be provided to districts to
10    meet USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service determined
11    conservation practice standards or Illinois Urban Manual
12    Practice Standards;
13        (2) information regarding beginning, socially
14    disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers, as well
15    as disadvantaged communities;
16        (3) availability of State and federal financial and
17    technical assistance programs to soil and water
18    conservation districts, local governments, and
19    conservation partners; and
20        (4) opportunities for evaluating results-based
21    practices utilizing tools, such as the U.S. Department of
22    Agriculture's revised universal soil loss equation, that
23    model environmental outcomes at the field, county,
24    watershed, or State level.
25    The information collected through the development of the
26guidelines shall be compiled and provided to the soil and



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1water conservation districts to inform the development of
2local soil health assessments.
3    Initial guidelines shall be completed and provided to soil
4and water conservation districts annually and shall include
5the grant agreement for the Soil and Water Conservation
6District Grants Program as well as outlining the funding
7resource support contained within the grant agreement to
8better inform the development of local soil health
10    (70 ILCS 405/22.03c new)
11    Sec. 22.03c. Local soil health assessments. Upon the
12adoption of guidelines described in Section 22.03b, each soil
13and water conservation district shall develop annually its own
14soil health assessment to guide voluntary and incentive-based
15strategies to improve soil health. The soil health assessment
16shall be technically feasible and economically reasonable.
17    The Department shall provide a template to the districts
18for the local soil health assessment, including the required
19information listed in this Section as well as information
20regarding available data and support materials collected as
21the guidance information listed in Section 25.
22    Each district is encouraged to collaborate with other
23local governmental entities and local stakeholders in
24developing and implementing its soil health assessment. Each
25district shall use the guidelines provided by the Department



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1in developing its soil health assessment.
2    Upon the request of a district, the Department may assist
3in the preparation of the district's soil health assessment.
4Districts may also work collaboratively to establish joint
5plans to leverage existing capacity and resources most
7    To carry out its assessment, a district shall identify
8soil health practices. The soil health assessment must
9consider opportunities to access, leverage, and use State and
10federal resources within a specific soil and water
11conservation district service area.
12    Soil and water conservation districts may also convene
13producer-led dialogues to identify special initiatives or
14pilot projects to leverage additional resources and implement
15soil health practices at scale across multiple operations and
16land ownerships.
17    In developing a soil health assessment, the soil and water
18conservation district shall:
19        (1) evaluate existing assets, such as current
20    practices, current cropping systems, crop processing and
21    market infrastructure, riparian buffers, wetlands, public
22    lands, funding, education, research and peer-to-peer
23    training opportunities, and existing partnerships;
24        (2) consider the eligible funding categories available
25    through the Partners for Conservation Fund and the
26    district's ability to advance healthy soils practices



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1    consistent with Natural Resource Conservation Service soil
2    health principles within a soil and water conservation
3    district service area;
4        (3) determine vulnerabilities, such as runoff risk,
5    riparian function, stormwater, floodplains and stream
6    impairments, and observed and predicted impacts from
7    climate change, especially to socially disadvantaged
8    farmers, ranchers, and communities;
9        (4) identify opportunities to conduct outreach to
10    agricultural producers and landowners and to develop
11    individual soil health plans;
12        (5) establish goals for achieving measurable outcomes
13    for soil health and farmer viability through voluntary and
14    incentive-based activities. This includes identifying
15    opportunities to support beginning, socially
16    disadvantaged, and veteran farmers as well as small and
17    mid-scale farmers;
18        (6) estimate 2-year funding levels needed from State,
19    federal and private sources in order to achieve goals; and
20        (7) identify opportunities to develop partnerships and
21    leverage resources from local governments, utilities, and
22    State and federal agencies.
23    The Department shall identify shared goals and priorities
24between districts and shall assist in developing partnerships
25and shared funding approaches to maximize capacity and
26resources. Initial soil health assessments shall be submitted



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1to the Department by September 1, 2024.
2    (70 ILCS 405/22.03d new)
3    Sec. 22.03d. Compliance and standards; cost sharing. To be
4eligible to receive State cost-share support after September
51, 2024, soil and water conservation districts shall have an
6updated soil health assessment.
7    The Department shall update its rules and procedures for
8cost-share funding to be inclusive of all relevant soil health
9practices promoting the rapid adoption of cost-effective and
10technically feasible projects. Updates to the rules and
11procedures for State cost-share programs shall also address
12barriers to access experienced by beginning, socially
13disadvantaged, and veteran farmers.
14    The Department may require results-based practices or the
15assessments of the environmental outcomes of projects, at the
16field or county level, as a condition of cost-share funding.
17    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
18becoming law.