When the Natural Land Institute (NLI), the oldest land trust in Illinois, purchased this property in 2008, with help from many partners. The plan was to sell the property (via a bargain sale) to the Illinois DNR. This would provide access to 2,500 acres of public land to the north. Sale proceeds would go toward the next preservation project. That was the year that our now jailed governor swept every possible fund (including DNR’s land acquisition fund) leaving NLI holding this property.
Located 150 miles away in Rockford, IL, local partners were needed to steward this land. Initially the Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District took up the torch which was passed a few years ago to River Bend Wildland Trust.
In 2011 shallow water wetlands were excavated at the southern portion of the property and in early 2012 prairie was seeded in the surrounding areas.
Trees have been planted and replanted, pruned and weeded. Volunteers and staff alike work to keep invasive plants at under control while making sure new new plants and desirable seed make it into the soil.
At some point in the future NLI will likely deed the property to River Bend, but not until this local land trust is stable and well supported by the community. NLI has been a huge supporter of conservation in the Quad Cities in the past. Working with NLI, we hope to permanently conserve more land in the region. We cannot do it without community support. Both organizations have “donate” buttons on their Facebook pages and websites. We look forward to new friends. Keep an eye on the Milan Bottoms Facebook page for upcoming activities.