The Shawnee RC&D has received final approval on the funding of a multi-year project, “Cross Boundary Oak Ecosystem Restoration in Southern Illinois”, from the USDA Forest Service.

This projects builds upon the success of the Let the Sun Shine in project and expands the restoration efforts. The Forest Stewardship Cluster (FSC) approach has proved to be a useful tool to effectively and efficiently maximize land management efforts in a landscape with a diverse mosaic of ownership and land use goals. To that end, the restoration focus of this project will be two FSCs that were not the priority during the first phase of the restoration effort. GIS-based data collection systems will continue to be used to collect data and assess project progress.

Landowners within the Trail of Tears and Kinkaid FSCs will be offered opportunities to learn more about forest management, develop forest management plans, and be given the opportunity to include their forests as part of the landscape-scale restoration effort. Our strategy will be to prioritize project areas in terms of habitat connectivity, placing an emphasis on opportunities to combine landowners and work across public/private boundaries.