The Macon County Conservation District was awarded a generous grant of $2,917,380.00 from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to add 236 acres to Fort Daniel Conservation Area. This grant helps the Conservation District add 236 adjoining acres to the existing 370- acre Fort Daniel Conservation Area. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded over 5,000 grants totaling $258 million to Illinois nonprofit organizations, schools, municipalities, and local and state governments. The property will be restored to native wildlife habitat over the next three years, which includes upland and pothole prairie, seasonal wetlands, and oak savanna. Animals to benefit include all of our native wildlife, including bees, butterflies, waterfowl, amphibians and common mammals. In addition to expanding wildlife habitat, this addition to Fort Daniel Conservation Area will provide space for public recreation, including trails for hiking, and bird and wildlife watching.
“The District is excited about this acquisition and thankful to the Clean Energy Community Foundation for making this acquisition possible,” said Jerry Culp, Macon County Conservation District Executive Director. “The property will give the District the opportunity to provide much needed habitat, including pothole prairies and seasonal wetlands, which are often overlooked and underappreciated but provide a very high quality and diverse habitat. These areas, once restored, will provide important natural resources not only for plants and animals, but also for people, as well as commercially, ecologically and economically. They serve as natural sponges that hold excess water which helps reduce the severity and risk of flooding. They help recharge ground water and aquifers while filtering out sediment and chemicals to clean our water supplies.”
Upon completion of the restoration process, which will take three years, all trails on the 236-acre addition will be fully open to the public. Fort Daniel Conservation Area is currently a 370-acre site located 9 miles southeast of downtown Decatur. Existing amenities include 4.5 miles of scenic hiking trails through forest and prairie habitats. There is also a pavilion, picnic tables, and playground. Fort Daniel Conservation Area is one of several Macon County Conservation District sites open to the public for free, all year round, for educational programs, family events, and outdoor recreation.
For more information about Fort Daniel Conservation Area or the Macon County Conservation District, visit MaconCountyConservation.org.