Prairie Research Institute seeks funding bump for environment-focused mission

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

We often hear about the challenges – and strong emotions – that bubble up when human land-use needs conflict with preserving natural environments. What we don’t always witness are the successes when industry, government and conservationists partner for the kind of harmony that benefits everyone.

Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve in Elgin, an hour northwest of Chicago, benefits from a host of entities working together to meld protecting wetlands and other natural habitats with the needs of people living and working nearby.

“Bluff Spring Fen is an important piece of history that’s still living now,” said Randy Locke (far right in group photo below), a principal research scientist at Prairie Research Institute (PRI). “There’s been long-term commitment and collaboration among landowners, natural resource agencies, mining companies, land developers, preservationists, municipalities and others to maintain the delicate balance between the health of the site and surrounding land uses that could impact the preserve’s integrity.”

Part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), PRI is yet another University of Illinois System entity that conducts transformative science that benefits the people, economy and environment of Illinois, the nation and the world.

Each spring, the system requests funding from the state to continue essential academic, research, economic development and outreach work that positively impacts communities across the state. This budget cycle is key for PRI, which receives essentially the same annual contribution from the state as it did when it became part of the U of I System in 2009. The system is asking the state for a 12 percent boost for PRI in the next budget cycle, increasing the $14.8 million budget to about $16.5 million.

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