McHenry County Parcel Starts National Refuge

Feb 28, 2013

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Illinois' purchase of 72 acres in McHenry County marks the beginning of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced the $511,000 purchase in late February. Director Marc Miller says the money comes from dedicated funds through the Capitol Construction Bill:

"This is our parcel, and we will work with the Fish & Wildlife Service on agreements once the refuge becomes more developed."
                                                                                            -- Marc Miller, DNR

According to Miller, the parcel will form the core of a refuge that eventually will cover 11,200 acres in Illinois, and Walworth County, Wisconsin. 85 percent of the land will be in Illinois.

According to a federal environmental assessment, 109 threatened or endangered species are listed in the area. They include 49 species of birds, and the Blandings Turtle.

In the attached audio link, Miller discusses how IDNR acquired the land and the role it will play in conservation in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.