Efforts to manage and showcase Quad-City natural areas received a boost Wednesday with the announcement of a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend to the Q-C Wild Places program.
The program was begun in 2011 by River Action Inc., Davenport, as a way to promote awareness, access and conservation of natural areas, some of them widely known, such as Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, and some less familiar, such as Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge near Wapello, Iowa.
The award announcement was made at Nahant Marsh, a 513-acre area next to the Mississippi River in southwest Davenport.
The money is not earmarked for any particular project; rather, it will support ongoing efforts.
The Q-C Wild Places program brings together 63 natural areas — all within an hour’s drive of the Quad-Cities — run by 19 organizations and 27 site managers. Because budgets and staff vary, it is often difficult for them to receive the funding and publicity they need to increase awareness and make improvements, and Q-C Wild Places aims to help that, said Kathy Wine, the director of River Action.
For publicity purposes, the sites are listed on the website qcwildplaces.com as a kind of one-stop shopping site. Q-C Wild Places has already funded several projects. Those include a recreational trail extension at Sunderbruch Park in Davenport for $5,000, the construction of a footbridge at Black Hawk State Historic Site for $10,000 and the construction of a handicapped-accessible fishing area and hiking trail at Lost Grove Lake in rural Scott County.
Restoration of a sand prairie and turtle nesting site, as well as construction of a viewing platform, are under way at Nahant Marsh.