Photo by Rebecca Olson

Brothers John and Robert Carleton have had conservation agreements (otherwise known as conservation easements) on a portion of their land since 2006. This year, with a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, they were able to put the remainder of their land into conservation agreements next to NLI’s Conklin preserve which now protects 380 acres of this beautiful piece of the Pecatonica River floodplain forest. This 380 acres is also part of a much larger complex along the river of bird and animal habitat.

It is part of an area known to house seven threatened and endangered species. There are likely many other species of concern that utilize this important habitat corridor. The Pecatonica River corridor makes for some of the best wild bird habitat in the county and is home to over 100 species of birds.

Protecting land within this important river corridor has been a priority, and we are grateful to the Carleton’s for their vision that preserves our clean water, clean air, and holds floodwaters and carbon in the soil.  John and his brother Robert will continue restoring forest health to release desirable trees from being choked out by invasive species, and for growth and regeneration of Bur Oak, Pin Oak, Post Oak, Bitternut Hickory, Sycamore, and River Birch and all the creatures that they support.


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