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90_HJ0057 LRB9011938ACcd 1 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 2 WHEREAS, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing 3 to establish a 30,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge along the 4 Grand Kankakee River in Illinois and Indiana by preserving 5 the existing remnants and restoring former parcels of 6 wetlands, oak savannas, and prairies; and 7 WHEREAS, The Kankakee River watershed extends from the 8 headwaters of the Kankakee River near South Bend, Indiana to 9 its confluence with the Des Plaines River, where the two 10 rivers form the Illinois River, southwest of Joliet, 11 Illinois; and 12 WHEREAS, The Grand Kankakee Marsh was one of the largest 13 inland marshes in the world, comprising 500,000 acres of 14 wetlands, oak savannas, and native prairies until it was 15 drained and converted to agriculture; and 16 WHEREAS, More than 90 percent of Illinois wetlands have 17 been destroyed over the last 200 years, and the proposed 18 Refuge would restore some of these wetlands; and 19 WHEREAS, Wetlands, oak savannas, and native prairies are 20 part of our State's natural heritage and are among the most 21 biologically diverse ecosystems in the world; and 22 WHEREAS, The remnants of these ecosystems are being 23 threatened by urban sprawl from the Chicago metropolitan area 24 and Gary, Indiana and need to be protected before they are 25 lost; and 26 WHEREAS, The Kankakee River watershed drains a total of 27 5,167 square miles, 2,177 of which are in Illinois; and 28 WHEREAS, There are extensive flooding, soil erosion, 29 siltation, and water pollution problems along the Kankakee 30 River; and -2- LRB9011938ACcd 1 WHEREAS, The proposed Refuge would restore wetlands and 2 therefore help alleviate flooding, soil erosion, and 3 siltation problems, improve the overall quality of the 4 Kankakee River, filter pollutants from a public drinking 5 water supply, and provide a wildlife habitat; and 6 WHEREAS, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would work 7 with landowners adjacent to or downstream of any Refuge 8 parcels to ensure that flooding does not occur on their 9 property as a result of the Refuge; and 10 WHEREAS, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would create 11 the Refuge by acquiring fee title and conservation easements 12 from willing sellers only and by using other cooperative 13 approaches, such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, 14 which includes royalties from offshore oil drilling, and the 15 Migratory Board Fund, which includes federal duck stamp fees; 16 and 17 WHEREAS, Funding for the Refuge will not come from 18 taxpayers; and 19 WHEREAS, The creation of a Wildlife Refuge could 20 facilitate the recovery of numerous State and 21 federally-listed threatened and endangered species by 22 restoring their natural habitat; and 23 WHEREAS, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would 24 strengthen partnerships with others to create the Refuge, 25 including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the 26 Natural Resources Conservation Service, conservation groups, 27 and sporting clubs; and 28 WHEREAS, The Refuge would provide economic growth, 29 including increased employment and personal income of area 30 residents, due to increased tourism to the area from anglers, 31 hikers, photographers, bird-watchers, canoeists, hunters, and -3- LRB9011938ACcd 1 other outdoor enthusiasts; and 2 WHEREAS, The Refuge would provide conservation education 3 and research opportunities to schools and scientists; and 4 WHEREAS, The Refuge would protect open space, serve as 5 invaluable wildlife habitat, and provide the opportunity to 6 restore a nationally significant oak savanna habitat in 7 Illinois; therefore be it 8 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 9 NINETIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE 10 SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that we urge the President and the 11 United States Congress to support the establishment of the 12 Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge as proposed by 13 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and be it further 14 RESOLVED, That the Illinois General Assembly supports the 15 Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge; and be it 16 further 17 RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be 18 presented to the President of the United States, the 19 presiding officers of the United States Senate and the United 20 States House of Representatives, the members of the 21 congressional delegation from Illinois, and the U.S. Fish and 22 Wildlife Service.
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