Sen. Rachel Ventura

Filed: 5/2/2023





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 2357 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
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, the State must
12offer assistance to other units of local government that are
13taking steps to fight climate change by restoring forests,
14wetlands, prairies, and other landscapes native to Illinois
15and demonstrated to have a positive environmental impact.



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1    Section 10. State goal. It is the goal of the State that
2there be no overall net loss of the State's existing forest,
3prairie, or wetland acres or their functional value due to
4State-supported activities. Further, the State and units of
5local government shall preserve, enhance, and create forests,
6prairies, and wetlands where practical in order to mitigate
7the impact of climate change and reduce carbon dioxide from
8the atmosphere.
9    Section 15. Receipt of federal moneys. The Department of
10Natural Resources may receive federal moneys to administer a
11Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
12    Section 20. Establishment of the Healthy Forests,
13Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
14    (a) The Department of Natural Resources, subject to
15appropriation, shall establish and administer a Healthy
16Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program to restore
17degraded forest lands and native prairies, and to promote the
18growth of native vegetation that remove carbon dioxide from
19the atmosphere and help to mitigate the impact of climate
21    (b) Eligible entities for the Healthy Forests, Wetlands,
22and Prairies Grant Program include:
23        (1) units of State and local government including, but
24    not limited to, State agencies, municipalities, townships,



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1    counties, forest preserves, and park districts;
2        (2) conservation land trusts;
3        (3) not-for-profit entities with conservation missions
4    including, but not limited to, climate change mitigation,
5    preservation of natural lands, and conservation of the
6    State's natural resources; and
7        (4) other entities to be determined by the Department
8    as eligible recipients of the grants under this Act.
9    (c) The Department may utilize an amount not to exceed 25%
10of the funds appropriated for the Healthy Forests, Wetlands,
11and Prairies Grant Program for administrative costs and for
12the purposes as described in subsection (e).
13    (d) The Department shall adopt any rules necessary for the
14implementation of this Act, including requirements and
15timeframes for the submittal of grant applications by eligible
17    (e) Grants under this Act may be used by eligible entities
18for the purpose of:
19        (1) matching funds for federal or private dollars for
20    projects that forward the goal of climate change
21    mitigation through the promotion of the management,
22    planting, maintaining and preserving of native grasses,
23    plants, and trees;
24        (2) projects along roadways and in parks and forest
25    preserves on public or private lands to plant native trees
26    and prairie grasses demonstrated to absorb carbon;



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1        (3) projects promoting the stewardship of existing
2    public and private urban forests and natural lands,
3    including the removal of invasive or non-native plant
4    species;
5        (4) funding regional teams tasked with planting native
6    prairie grasses and trees, prescribed burning for the
7    maintenance of natural lands, removing invasive plant
8    species, and educational outreach;
9        (5) education and marketing regarding local projects
10    or steps community members may take to promote the growth
11    of native vegetation that removes carbon dioxide from the
12    atmosphere; and
13        (6) other projects to be determined by the Department
14    as eligible projects under the grant program established
15    under this Act.
16    Section 25. Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant
17Fund. The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Fund
18is created in the State treasury. The fund shall be
19administered by the Department of Natural Resources. The fund
20may receive moneys appropriated by the General Assembly or
21from the federal government, private donations, or any other
22legal source.
23    Section 90. The Department of Natural Resources Act is
24amended by changing Section 1-15 as follows:



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1    (20 ILCS 801/1-15)
2    Sec. 1-15. General powers and duties.
3    (a) It shall be the duty of the Department to investigate
4practical problems, implement studies, conduct research and
5provide assistance, information and data relating to the
6technology and administration of the natural history,
7entomology, zoology, and botany of this State; the geology and
8natural resources of this State; the water and atmospheric
9resources of this State; and the archeological and cultural
10history of this State.
11    (b) The Department (i) shall obtain, store, and process
12relevant data; recommend technological, administrative, and
13legislative changes and developments; cooperate with other
14federal, state, and local governmental research agencies,
15facilities, or institutes in the selection of projects for
16study; cooperate with the Board of Higher Education and with
17the public and private colleges and universities in this State
18in developing relevant interdisciplinary approaches to
19problems; and evaluate curricula at all levels of education
20and provide assistance to instructors and (ii) may sponsor an
21annual conference of leaders in government, industry, health,
22and education to evaluate the state of this State's
23environment and natural resources.
24    (c) The Director, in accordance with the Personnel Code,
25shall employ such personnel, provide such facilities, and



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1contract for such outside services as may be necessary to
2carry out the purposes of the Department. Maximum use shall be
3made of existing federal and state agencies, facilities, and
4personnel in conducting research under this Act.
5    (c-5) The Department may use the services of, and enter
6into necessary agreements with, outside entities for the
7purpose of evaluating grant applications and for the purpose
8of administering or monitoring compliance with grant
9agreements. Contracts under this subsection shall not exceed 5
102 years, without an executed extension in length.
11    (d) In addition to its other powers, the Department has
12the following powers:
13        (1) To obtain, store, process, and provide data and
14    information related to the powers and duties of the
15    Department under this Act. This subdivision (d)(1) does
16    not give authority to the Department to require reports
17    from nongovernmental sources or entities.
18        (2) To cooperate with and support the Illinois Science
19    and Technology Advisory Committee and the Illinois
20    Coalition for the purpose of facilitating the effective
21    operations and activities of such entities. Support may
22    include, but need not be limited to, providing space for
23    the operations of the Committee and the Illinois
24    Coalition.
25    (e) The Department is authorized to make grants to local
26not-for-profit organizations for the purposes of development,



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1management, maintenance, and study of wetland areas, forests,
2prairies, and other landscapes demonstrated to reduce the
3impact of climate change.
4    (f) The Department has the authority to accept, receive
5and administer on behalf of the State any gifts, bequests,
6donations, income from property rental and endowments. Any
7such funds received by the Department shall be deposited into
8the Natural Resources Fund, a special fund which is hereby
9created in the State treasury, and used for the purposes of
10this Act or, when appropriate, for such purposes and under
11such restrictions, terms and conditions as are predetermined
12by the donor or grantor of such funds or property. Any accrued
13interest from money deposited into the Natural Resources Fund
14shall be reinvested into the Fund and used in the same manner
15as the principal. The Director shall maintain records which
16account for and assure that restricted funds or property are
17disbursed or used pursuant to the restrictions, terms or
18conditions of the donor.
19    (g) The Department shall recognize, preserve, and promote
20our special heritage of recreational hunting and trapping by
21providing opportunities to hunt and trap in accordance with
22the Wildlife Code.
23    (h) Within 5 years after the effective date of this
24amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the Department
25shall fly a United States Flag, an Illinois flag, and a POW/MIA
26flag at all State parks. Donations may be made by groups and



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1individuals to the Department's Special Projects Fund for
2costs related to the implementation of this subsection.
3(Source: P.A. 102-388, eff. 1-1-22; 102-699, eff. 4-19-22.)
4    Section 95. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
5Section 5.990 as follows:
6    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
7    Sec. 5.990. The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies
8Grant Fund.".