Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB2781
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Full Text of SB2781  103rd General Assembly



SB2781 EnrolledLRB103 37263 JAG 67384 b

1    AN ACT concerning conservation.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act.
6    Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly finds it is in
7the interest of the State to encourage natural solutions as
8one component of the State's efforts to reduce and remediate
9the impacts of climate change. Natural solutions must include
10planting native trees and other vegetation demonstrated to
11reduce carbon dioxide. To accomplish this purpose, the State
12must offer assistance to other units of local government that
13are taking steps to fight climate change by restoring forests,
14wetlands, prairies, and other landscapes that are native to
15Illinois and that are demonstrated to have a positive
16environmental impact.
17    Section 10. State goal. It is the goal of the State that
18there be no overall net loss of the State's existing forest,
19prairie, or wetland acres or their functional value due to
20State-supported activities. Further, the State and units of
21local government shall preserve, enhance, and create forests,
22prairies, and wetlands where practical in order to mitigate



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1the impact of climate change and reduce carbon dioxide from
2the atmosphere.
3    Section 15. Receipt of federal moneys. The Department of
4Natural Resources may receive federal moneys to administer a
5Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
6    Section 20. Establishment of the Healthy Forests,
7Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
8    (a) The Department of Natural Resources, subject to
9appropriation, shall establish and administer a Healthy
10Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program to restore
11degraded forest lands and native prairies and to promote the
12growth of native vegetation that removes carbon dioxide from
13the atmosphere and helps mitigate the impact of climate
15    (b) Entities that may apply to participate in the Healthy
16Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program include:
17        (1) State agencies and units of local government,
18    including, but not limited to, municipalities, townships,
19    counties, forest preserves, and park districts;
20        (2) conservation land trusts;
21        (3) not-for-profit entities with conservation
22    missions, including, but not limited to, climate change
23    mitigation, preservation of natural lands, and
24    conservation of the State's natural resources; and



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1        (4) other entities that, because of their missions,
2    are determined by the Department to be eligible recipients
3    of the grants under this Act.
4    (c) At least 75% of the moneys appropriated for the
5Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program shall be
6awarded to the State agencies, units of local government, land
7trusts, and other entities that the Department determines are
8eligible for a grant under this Section. The Department may
9use an amount not to exceed 23% of the moneys appropriated for
10the Program for the purposes of restoring degraded forest
11lands and native prairies and to promote the growth of native
12vegetation that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
13help mitigate the impact of climate change. The Department may
14use an amount not to exceed 2% of the moneys appropriated for
15the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program for
16administrative costs associated with the Program.
17    (d) The Department shall adopt any rules necessary for the
18implementation of this Act, including rules establishing
19requirements and timeframes for the submission of grant
20applications by entities that are authorized to apply to
21participate in the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies
22Grant Program.
23    (e) Grants provided under this Act may be used by eligible
24entities for the purpose of:
25        (1) matching funds for federal or private dollars for
26    projects that forward the goal of climate change



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1    mitigation through promotion of the management, planting,
2    maintaining, and preserving of native grasses, plants, and
3    trees;
4        (2) financing projects along roadways and in parks and
5    forest preserves on public or private lands to plant
6    native trees and prairie grasses demonstrated to absorb
7    carbon;
8        (3) financing projects that promote the stewardship of
9    existing public and private urban forests and natural
10    lands, including the removal of invasive or nonnative
11    plant species;
12        (4) funding regional teams tasked with planting native
13    prairie grasses and trees, prescribed burning for the
14    maintenance of natural lands, removing invasive plant
15    species, and educational outreach; and
16        (5) promoting education and marketing regarding local
17    projects or steps community members may take to promote
18    the growth of native vegetation that removes carbon
19    dioxide from the atmosphere.
20    Section 25. Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant
21Fund. The Healthy Forest, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Fund
22shall be administered by the Department of Natural Resources.
23The Fund may receive moneys appropriated by the General
24Assembly or from the federal government, private donations, or
25any other legal source. Subject to the limitations in



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1subsection (c) of Section 20 of this Act, moneys in the Fund
2shall be used by the Department for the purpose of providing
3grant assistance in accordance with this Act and for the
4purpose of administering the grant program established under
5this Act.
6    Section 90. The Department of Natural Resources Act is
7amended by changing Section 1-15 as follows:
8    (20 ILCS 801/1-15)
9    Sec. 1-15. General powers and duties.
10    (a) It shall be the duty of the Department to investigate
11practical problems, implement studies, conduct research and
12provide assistance, information and data relating to the
13technology and administration of the natural history,
14entomology, zoology, and botany of this State; the geology and
15natural resources of this State; the water and atmospheric
16resources of this State; and the archeological and cultural
17history of this State.
18    (b) The Department (i) shall obtain, store, and process
19relevant data; recommend technological, administrative, and
20legislative changes and developments; cooperate with other
21federal, state, and local governmental research agencies,
22facilities, or institutes in the selection of projects for
23study; cooperate with the Board of Higher Education and with
24the public and private colleges and universities in this State



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1in developing relevant interdisciplinary approaches to
2problems; and evaluate curricula at all levels of education
3and provide assistance to instructors and (ii) may sponsor an
4annual conference of leaders in government, industry, health,
5and education to evaluate the state of this State's
6environment and natural resources.
7    (c) The Director, in accordance with the Personnel Code,
8shall employ such personnel, provide such facilities, and
9contract for such outside services as may be necessary to
10carry out the purposes of the Department. Maximum use shall be
11made of existing federal and state agencies, facilities, and
12personnel in conducting research under this Act.
13    (c-5) The Department may use the services of, and enter
14into necessary agreements with, outside entities for the
15purpose of evaluating grant applications and for the purpose
16of administering or monitoring compliance with grant
17agreements. Contracts under this subsection shall not exceed 5
182 years, without an executed extension in length.
19    (d) In addition to its other powers, the Department has
20the following powers:
21        (1) To obtain, store, process, and provide data and
22    information related to the powers and duties of the
23    Department under this Act. This subdivision (d)(1) does
24    not give authority to the Department to require reports
25    from nongovernmental sources or entities.
26        (2) To cooperate with and support the Illinois Science



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1    and Technology Advisory Committee and the Illinois
2    Coalition for the purpose of facilitating the effective
3    operations and activities of such entities. Support may
4    include, but need not be limited to, providing space for
5    the operations of the Committee and the Illinois
6    Coalition.
7    (e) The Department is authorized to make grants to local
8not-for-profit organizations for the purposes of development,
9management, maintenance, and study of wetland areas, forests,
10prairies, and other landscapes demonstrated to reduce the
11impact of climate change.
12    (f) The Department has the authority to accept, receive
13and administer on behalf of the State any gifts, bequests,
14donations, income from property rental and endowments. Any
15such funds received by the Department shall be deposited into
16the DNR Special Projects Fund, a trust fund in the State
17treasury, and used for the purposes of this Act or, when
18appropriate, for such purposes and under such restrictions,
19terms and conditions as are predetermined by the donor or
20grantor of such funds or property. Any accrued interest from
21money deposited into the DNR Special Projects Fund shall be
22reinvested into the Fund and used in the same manner as the
23principal. The Director shall maintain records which account
24for and assure that restricted funds or property are disbursed
25or used pursuant to the restrictions, terms or conditions of
26the donor.



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1    (g) The Department shall recognize, preserve, and promote
2our special heritage of recreational hunting and trapping by
3providing opportunities to hunt and trap in accordance with
4the Wildlife Code.
5    (h) Within 5 years after the effective date of this
6amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the Department
7shall fly a United States Flag, an Illinois flag, and a POW/MIA
8flag at all State parks. Donations may be made by groups and
9individuals to the DNR Special Projects Fund for costs related
10to the implementation of this subsection.
11(Source: P.A. 102-388, eff. 1-1-22; 102-699, eff. 4-19-22;
12103-363, eff. 7-28-23.)
13    Section 95. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
14Section 5.1015 as follows:
15    (30 ILCS 105/5.1015 new)
16    Sec. 5.1015. The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies
17Grant Fund.