|Photo courtesy of
|Spring 2014 Update|
lot has happened since Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was
established in November 2012. Here is some information on how
our new national wildlife refuge is growing in outreach to its
neighbors this Spring!
For the land This summer, a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew will be conducting land restoration activities on refuge and other conservation lands. Local teens will be selected by a lottery to fill the four slots on the crew. Teens must be 15-18 years old and live in McHenry County, Illinois or Walworth County, Wisconsin.
For more information, see the YCC Member job description about this full-time work from June 9 to August 8. You must apply by May 2.
For the people The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will host its first Hackmatack NWR event by celebrating International Migratory Bird Day. Rangers will be banding birds at Lost Valley Visitor Center from 8 – 9:30 am on both Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. Drop by any time either morning to see what birds they find!
Friends Gatherings Quarterly Friends Gatherings began with forty-five eager volunteers attended the first gathering on March 11, 2014. We celebrated the 111th birthday of the national wildlife refuge system, updated attendees on refuge lands in Illinois and Wisconsin, and explored the ways people can be involved in refuge activities.
Future gatherings will be held at 6 pm on June 10, September 9 and December 9 at Lost Valley Visitor Center at Glacial Park, on Rt. 31 just south of Richmond, Illinois.
The June 10, 2014 Friends Gathering will focus on land restoration, and a restoration workday will be scheduled as a follow-up, hands-on event. RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook page.
These are exciting times as we explore the opportunities before us as we work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on our refuge!
|Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife
Refuge Quarterly Gatherings now beginning!
March 11, 2014 ~ 6:00 pm Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Ringwood, IL
Join the birthday celebration of National Wildlife Refuge System!
By Executive Order on March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, along Florida's central Atlantic coast,
as the first unit of the present National Wildlife Refuge System.
October 18, 2012
Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Receives
Department of Interior Partners In Conservation Award
|The Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
Partnership was one of 17 partnerships honored by Secretary of
Interior Ken Salazar as part of the Department of Interior’s
2012 Partners in Conservation Awards
at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C on October 18, 2012.
The Partners in Conservation Awards were established by Secretary Ken Salazar in 2009. They recognizes partnerships that promote conservation of America’s treasured landscapes, preserve natural and cultural resources, bring innovative approaches to resource management, and that engage diverse entities and youth in accomplishing the Department’s mission.
The Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nominated the 26-member team that made up the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Partnership. The nomination aimed at recognizing the group’s outstanding grassroots conservation initiative, which blended citizens together with a diverse mix of nonprofit and governmental organizations at the local, state and federal level. This group focused on one goal, to create a national wildlife refuge that complements existing conservation lands and provides significant grassland and wetland wildlife habitat – this is Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.
The partnership effectively incorporated sound biological science with the need to reconnect people and nature, as well as the needs of declining grassland birds, and created a long-term vision for people and nature to coexist in a rapidly urbanizing area.
|August 15, 2012 Hackmatack Refuge Approved|
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Illinois on
August 15th to announce that he has authorized the establishment
of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. He was joined by Senator
Dick Durbin, who has been instrumental in assisting with the
process. Also present at the event at Lost Valley Visitors
Center at Glacial Park in Ringwood were many stakeholders from
Illinois and southern Wisconsin who have been working to make
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge a reality. The new refuge is
part of the America's Great Outdoors Initiatives to enhance
conservation efforts, foster outdoor recreation opportunities,
create jobs, and fuel local economies.
Photo by Tina Shaw, USFW
Department of Interior Press Release
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Hackmatack Page
Friends of Hackmatack Press Release USFW Photos of the Announcement on Flickr
Northwest Herald article USFW Photos of the Event on Flickr
Map of Proposed Hackmatack NWR Preferred Alternative
|We are so excited the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has
completed their two-year study and have recommended that a new
wildlife refuge be established on the Illinois-Wisconsin border!
The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge will be the closest
refuge to the Chicago, Rockford, and Milwaukee and metro areas,
fitting nicely with the USFWS’s policy to establish refuges
easily accessible to people living in urban areas.
The Fish & Wildlife Service is recommending refuge lands which would link with and expand on existing lands already protected by the McHenry County Conservation District (Illinois) and Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources in order to provide large blocks of habitat for prairie species like Dickcissel, Henslow's sparrow and short-eared owl, the savanna-loving red-headed woodpecker, and wetland-dependent species like pied-billed grebe and the federally endangered Whooping crane.
We are in full agreement with the USFWS, the landscape of the Hackmatack area IS a national treasure worth preserving for future generations! The proposed refuge will bring tourism, jobs and new economic opportunity to our region as well as providing new educational and recreational opportunities to the citizens of both states.
The USFWS is soliciting public input on the proposed refuge until April 27, 2012
|Proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Executive Summary Environmental Assessment, Land Protection Plan, and Conceptual Management Plan March 2012|
|Article on Hackmatack in June Issue of OutdoorIllinois pdf|
|IDNR Podcast about Proposed Hackmatack Wildlife Refuge Link to IDNR podcast list|
|The birds are headed north, Flowers are starting to bloom, Celebrate spring by flocking out on your own to one of these upcoming Friends of Hackmatack events!|
|• Public presentation at 7 pm
on Thursday, April 14 at the Johnsburg Public Library, hosted by
Johnsburg Garden Club
• Public presentation at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 27 at the McHenry Public Library
• Booth at McHenry County Earth Day Celebration at Prairie View Education Center, Crystal Lake on Saturday, April 30, 11 am-4 pm MCCD Website
• Public presentation at Volo Bog’s International Migratory Birds Days Celebration at 1:30 pm on Sunday, May 1 Friends of Volo Bog Website
The land in the Hackmatack study area may be resting under a blanket of snow, but Friends of Hackmatack members aren’t! We continue to get the word out about the proposed refuge to as many people and organizations as we can.
We had a great time at Bald Eagle Watch at Starved Rock State Park in January!
|We’ll also be at these upcoming events:|
|• Exhibit at Wild Things Conference at University of
Illinois at Chicago on Saturday, March 5 • Public
presentation at 7pm on Wednesday, April 27 at the McHenry Public
• Booth at McHenry County Earth Day Celebration at Prairie View Education Center,
Crystal Lake on Saturday, April 30
• Public presentation at Volo Bog’s International Migratory Bird Day Celebration at 1:30 pm
on Sunday, May 1
|What’s next for the proposed refuge? US Fish & Wildlife Service is also busy studying the natural resources in the Hackmatack study area. Check out their webpage for the latest news on their planning team. They anticipate releasing a number of alternative scenarios for the refuge along with their recommended alternative.|
|Friends of Hackmatack will get the word out once the USFWS releases its alternatives study (called an Environmental Assessment). There will be a formal public comment period.|
|Many thanks to all of you who attended the recent Hackmatack
Open Houses in Illinois and Wisconsin! The USFWS team who
hosted these events commented that most attendees were
enthusiastic about the idea of a refuge, and were better
informed than at any similar event they’ve had in the past.
This is a tribute to YOU. We still need your help. USFWS has
asked for even more feedback from the public, to help guide
their efforts as they review the opportunities in this region.
Please, tell them (again) that you’re excited about Hackmatack; but also tell them what you’re thinking about:
|• the critical resource issues
in the area;
• the wildlife species you think they should be targeting;
• any “special places” you know about, that you’d love to see protected as part of
• the kinds of recreation opportunities you do (or don’t) want to see in the refuge;
• specific ways that a refuge could integrate itself into local communities;
|. . . or, any other thoughts you might have. They take these comments seriously!|
|You can send your thoughts directly to the USFWS planning
If you are a Hackmatack supporter but don’t have specific comments to add, the Sierra Club has made it easy for you to pass this message along to USFWS; http://bit.ly/9Zw8VK.
|Comments will be accepted through next Sunday, November 1st.|
|April 27, 2010 News from USFWS
USFWS press release:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Will Study Potential National Wildlife Refuge Along Wisconsin and Illinois Border
USFWS has established a Website HERE to provide citizens with information on the proposed refuge and the process of studying the refuge.
|April 8, 2010 USFWS Approves
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced their decision to proceed with a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in the bi-state region of southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Long known as an ecological hotspot, the region is home to many rare bird, fish, freshwater mussel and plant species, as well as some of the world’s most globally imperiled natural communities, including tall grass prairie and oak savanna.
The study, which could take up to two years, will involve an extensive review of the available biological data for the area as well as public meetings with local citizens, business interests and outdoor recreational user groups such as hunters, fisherman, photographers, boaters and hikers who are familiar with the region.
Studies of this type typically involve large geographic areas that include the region's ecological systems, wildlife resources, cultural and economic context. If the results of the study highlight resources that are significant from a national perspective, the USFWS will identify areas where such resources are concentrated as potential sites for a national wildlife refuge.
Unlike older refuge designs which often included vast tracts of open land in very rural parts of the United States, shifting population centers have produce a groundswell of interest in “urban” style refuges where people can engage in wildlife-related recreation and conservation education. These refuges involve partnerships linking existing public open space to refuge lands obtained through voluntary private lands conservation easements and strategic purchases from willing sellers to create a network of landscape conservation cooperatives.
|March 18, 2010
Chicago Wilderness endorses proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge
|March 14, 2010
The Journal Times article: Wild Oasis: Group hopes to establish wildlife refuge near Illinois border
|March 3, 2010
Northwest Herald article: County land could be used for wildlife refuge
|March 3, 2010
The Trust for Public Lands and Openlands, with the aid of grant monies, has facilitated a viability study for the proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge through Fermata, Inc. The study is now available as a pdf file HERE, and on the TPL site HERE.
|March 2, 2010
Friends of Hackmatack gave an informational presentation on the proposal Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge to the McHenry County Board at their regular meeting on March 2, 2010. Initial response from the Board was favorable, and we hope they will support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducting a feasibility study for the refuge.
|February 27, 2010
Friends of Hackmatack gave an informational presentation to the Wildflower Preservation and Propagation Committee (WPPC) at their annual Natural Landscaping Seminar, held February 27, 2010 at McHenry County College. The WPPC's support of the project was overwhelming! We thank them for their generous donation of $2,500 to Friends of Hackmatack, as well as the multiple pledges of support and donations from individual WPPC members and seminar attendees. The contributions will be used to continue the promotion of a national wildlife refuge in the bi-state area.
|February 22, 2010
Senator Dick Durbin (IL) has written a letter to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supporting the Service conducting a feasibility study for the proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. Other legislators who signed the letter include Senator Roland Burris (IL), Senator Russ Feingold (WI), Senator Herb Kohl (WI), Representative Melissa Bean (IL), Representative Daniel Lipinski (IL), Representative Donald Manzullo (IL), and Representative Mike Quigley (IL). View the letter of support HERE.
|Feb. 22, 2010 Hackmatack NWR Update
The proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge has recently been featured on
the RefugeWatch.org website, a blog highlighting news and events about national
wildlife refuges across America. View the article HERE.
|February 18, 2010
The McHenry County Conservation District's Board of Trustees approved a Resolution of Support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducting a feasibility study for the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge proposal. We appreciate their support.
|Feb. 3, 2010
Hackmatack NWR Update
In late 2009, both Illinois Governor Quinn and Wisconsin Governor Doyle sent letters to USFWS Director Sam Hamilton requesting the service conduct a study to assess the feasibility of establishing a National Wildlife Refuge in the bi-state area of Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeastern Illinois in order to protect remnant biologically significant communities in this rapidly developing area. In mid-December USFWS regional staff spent two days visiting the area and gathering information. (Illinois and Wisconsin are in USFWS Region 3 which has its headquarters in St. Paul, MN.) Region 3 staff prepared a Preliminary Project Proposal for the proposed refuge which they submitted to USFWS headquarters in Washington DC at the end of January. If this preliminary review of the project is positive, Director Hamilton will direct USFWS staff to launch a more intensive study.