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Environment

New Nature Reserve Planned in East Moline

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Rock Island County Forest Preserve District
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Rock Island County Forestry Preserve District
the location of the new nature preserve

Thanks to a state grant, next year Rock Island County will acquire 180 acres between I-80 and Route 92 that includes hickory forests and 40 acres of fallow fields.

Jeffrey Craver is the Director of the Rock Island County Forestry Preserve District. He says the county plans to restore native prairie on the land, but otherwise leave it mostly untouched.

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Rock Island County Forestry Preserve District
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Rock Island County Forestry Preserve District

"The intent of the district is not to establish any permanent structures. The most that we'll probably do to the property will be natural surface trails so that people can come out and enjoy nature."

The new nature preserve will be located just a few miles south of the Illiniwek Forest Preserve. Craver says it will help endangered wildlife, including two species of endangered bats and the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

This is the first major land acquisition by the county in 60 years, made possible thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, as well as money from the Conservation Fund and the Quad City Community Foundation.

If all goes well, Craver says the preserve could be open to the public by the spring of 2023.