CREP Easement Monitoring

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) will be opening for new enrollments hopefully soon in 2021. In preparation, The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has partnered with the Illinois Natural History Survey to create six new field-based job positions as field scientists/Conservation Resource Specialists.  Their role is to bridge the gap between the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, IDNR, the scientific community, and most importantly, the landowners.  These positions are dedicated to support multiple agency partners with: CREP easement enrollments, monitoring, habitat management, and support for federal CRP/CREP.

Another component to these positions is research and data collection through interactions with landowners on the behalf of INHS,  compiling data on the best management practices implemented at given sites with documentation of landowner’s perceptions on conservation, freshwater species, and stream health. The underlying goal with these Specialists is to get a better understanding of the ecological impact of the CREP easements and use that information to better connect with landowners and other stakeholders.

As of June 2021, these are the Conservation Resource Specialists and their counties of responsibility:

Allison Bryant
Stephen A. Forbes State Rec Area
6924 Omega Rd.
Kinmundy, IL 62854

Allison works in Bond, Christian, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Jefferson, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington counties.

Anne C. Hughes
IDNR Des Plaines Game Propagation Center
30550 S. Boathouse Rd.
Wilmington, IL 60481

Anne is responsible for Bureau, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Marshall, McHenry, Putnam, Stark, Will, and Woodford counties.

Jake Lux
Illinois Natural History Survey
Forbes Biological Station
20003 CR 1770E
Havana, IL 62644

Jake works in Adams, Brown, Mason, and Schuyler counties.

Chris Miller
Illinois Natural History Survey
1816 S. Oak St., MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

Chris is responsible for Champaign, Coles, Douglas, DeWitt, Ford, Logan, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby, Tazewell, and Vermilion counties.

Kristen Ragusa
IDNR Pawnee Office
505 10th St.
Pawnee, IL 62588

Kristen covers Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Jersey, Macon, Menard, Morgan, Pike, Scott, and Sangamon counties.

Abbey Ward
Illinois Natural History Survey
Forbes Biological Station
20003 CR 1770E
Havana, IL 62644

Abbey works in Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Peoria, and Warren counties.

Through a working partnership between the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey, Conservation Resource Specialists will provide CREP program support, promote conservation goals, and develop relationships between landowners, SWCDs, and the scientific community. This map is a visual representation of the counties each Specialist covers, listed above.