Executive Order to Promote Clean Water, Outdoor Recreational Space, and Youth Environmental Education Initiatives
WHEREAS, Article XI of the Illinois Constitution states that each person has the right to a healthful environment, and that the public policy of the State of Illinois (hereinafter the “State”) and the duty of each person is to provide and maintain a healthful environment for the benefit of this and future generations; and
WHEREAS, the mission of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (hereinafter the “Department”) is to manage, conserve and protect Illinois' natural, recreational and cultural resources, further the public's understanding and appreciation of those resources, and promote the education, science and public safety of Illinois' natural resources for present and future generations; and
WHEREAS, a healthful environment is key to economic development and sustainability, assures basic life-sustaining ecosystem services, and enhances the health and well-being of children and adults; and
WHEREAS, the State significantly lags behind other states in the amount of open space for conservation and outdoor activities with only about one percent of its land protected, at a time when pressures on open space and habitat from development, invasive species and other stresses continue, and while many other states have adopted bold approaches to conservation funding; and
WHEREAS, youth participation in outdoor activities is declining, and new generations are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, with negative effects on children’s physical and mental health; and
WHEREAS, with limited land for outdoor recreation, access to that land becoming more difficult due to changing population patterns, cultural changes, the impacts of urban sprawl and fragmentation, and a growing population, outdoor recreationists must compete for the remaining available land and depend more heavily on private landowners; and
WHEREAS, in October of 2009 the Department convened a Conservation Congress and thus revived a very important tradition of constituent involvement in conservation and outdoor recreation; and
WHEREAS, over 140 representatives of a very diverse group of organizations from all parts of the state deliberated for two days over research and survey results, and developed over twenty recommendations to improve the future of conservation funding, youth recruitment and retention, and access to public and private lands for recreation, and those constituents have worked diligently to further those recommendations; and
WHEREAS, Conservation Congress recommended developing new stable dedicated funding for conservation and outdoor recreation needs, expanding access for recreation on private land, and adopting a new Environmental Literacy for Illinois strategic plan; and
THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, pursuant to the authority vested in me by Article V of the Illinois State Constitution of 1970, hereby order as follows:
The Department, in cooperation with Conservation Congress participants, shall develop proposals and implementation strategies for funding for clean water initiatives, acquisition of land for conservation and outdoor recreation needs, and for sustainable operation of the Department in pursuit of its mission. The Department shall present these proposals to the Office of the Governor by March 1, 2011;
- PUBLIC RECREATIONAL ACCESS
The Department shall, in consultation with Conservation Congress participants, create programming to increase public recreation access that meets the growing demand for outdoor recreation opportunities and the specific needs of the State’s hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, and landowners. Programming may include, but not be limited to:
- Developing communications and marketing programs to promote and foster our heritage pursuant to the Department of Natural Resources Act (20 ILCS 801/1-15) which provides, in pertinent part, that the Department “shall recognize, preserve, and promote our special heritage of recreational hunting and trapping by providing opportunities to hunt and trap in accordance with the Wildlife Code,” and provide information on Department wildlife programs.
- Providing education and outreach to State landowners and recreation users on liability and attaining recreational access through obtaining permission from landowners.
- Identifying opportunities and create programming for expansion of recreational access with the express goal of providing a range of opportunities to fulfill recreational needs of persons of all socio-economic backgrounds and to those who are beginning their pursuit in outdoor recreation. Opportunities such as cooperative landowner and referral programs, commercial land access programs, and walk-in hunter access programs may be considered.
- YOUTH RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
The Department shall, in cooperation with the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity work together with interested partners to update and adopt the Environmental Literacy for Illinois strategic plan that will provide abundant opportunities and resources for teachers, students, and parents to educate Illinois youth on nature, conservation, and environment throughout formal and non-formal education programs by December 31, 2010.
- SAVINGS CLAUSE
Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to contravene any state or federal law.
This Order shall be in full force and effect upon its filing with the Secretary of State.
Issued by the Governor: April 13, 2010
Filed with the Secretary of State: April 14, 2010