Prairie Ridge Landscape
Protected lands - Prairie Ridge State Natural Area (nature preserve, land & water reserve and Illinois Natural Areas Inventory parcels), Twelve-Mile Prairie (conservation easement)
Priority resources - rare and declining grassland wildlife (especially threatened and endangered birds) and grassland-wetland wildlife, remnant prairie communities
Conservation philosophy - The primary goal is development of a grassland ecosystem capable of maintaining viable populations of grassland species, including both permanent residents and migratory species, with emphasis on threatened and endangered species. A secondary goal is the development of a prairie preserve characteristic of the presettlement flora of the Southern Till Plain natural division of llinois (from Simpson & Esker 1997).
10-Year Goals - add 500 grassland acres per year until target acreages (5,000 acres in each unit) are obtained; improve private land synergies (open space, foraging areas, brood habitat) on 500 acres near each unit within 3 years; establish three 500-acre satellite locations from year 4 to 7 of implementation (see Simpson and Esker 1997, Walk 2004)
Key Actions - Establishing additional habitat at core locations and satellites. Promoting compatible agricultural practices on adjacent private lands (managed grazing, small grains, legumes, idle/fallow areas, and field borders) with incentives and farm programs. Continually addressing grassland management/succession and invasive species (especially fescue) with methods including grazing, prescribed fire, mowing and mechanical and chemical control. Addressing management, restoration and outreach
Partners - Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Audubon Society, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service & Farm Service Agency, Ameren-CIPS, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, Eastern Illinois University, University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, Endangered Species Protection Board, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
Research, Monitoring & Evaluation - ongoing and periodic efforts include site breeding bird census, Christmas Bird Count (Jasper County), Spring Bird Count, prairie-chicken lek surveys, prairie-chicken genetic evaluations, threatened/endangered species surveys, herpetological surveys, insect surveys, vegetation cover mapping, research on grassland birds, mesopredators, reptiles, and prairie restorations (Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Natural History Survey, Eastern Illinois University, University of Illinois)