A new partnership between Apex Clean Energy and Ducks Unlimited will restore wildlife habitat in the lower Illinois River Valley, a region crucial to community recreation and multiple species of birds and other wildlife.
DU will lead a project to improve more than 340 acres of habitat on Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Illinois, which encompasses 9,000 acres of floodplain habitat at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
Apex develops, constructs, and operates utility-scale wind, solar, and energy storage facilities across North America. Through its new Apex Conservation Grant program, the company has contributed $300,000 to DU to launch the project.
“Beyond our work to accelerate the shift to clean energy, it’s critical for us to act and lead on sustainability,” says Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex. “This partnership with Ducks Unlimited—the first of Apex’s conservation grants—will restore crucial habitat corridors to improve forest health and sustainability for many species.”
The project has two objectives: restore 324 acres of forested, emergent, and scrub-shrub wetlands within the floodplain, and implement nearly 20 acres of timber-stand improvements to boost forest quality.
“Improving these forested wetlands will benefit a wide variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, bats, and fish,” says DU Regional Biologist Michael Sertle. “Apex is an industry leader for clean water and wildlife, and we couldn’t achieve this tremendous project without them.”
Project funding also comes from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Rice Family Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, and DU Major Sponsors.