Farmers in the Kankakee area have raised concerns about the refuge since the 1990s, and those opinions have not been incorporated into the refuge planning process in any meaningful way. Because of that, farmers in the area feel a real sense of defeat toward their own federal government.

The sad thing is that they’re using our tax dollars against us.

Kankakee County farmer

When immense local opposition to a project is shown, and those concerns are not addressed or even acknowledged, local citizens lose heart. Farmers have many other concerns about how the US Fish & Wildlife Service proceeds with a wildlife refuge:

  • Years and years of planning, drastically changing plans and proceeding anyway
  • Years and years of planning without publishing a plan for the public
  • Cutting ribbons and celebrating without a plan for the public
  • A changing Presidential administration that halts progress (and answers) for years
  • Accepting donations of land from conservation groups without public knowledge
  • Taking advantage of foreclosed or abandoned properties for the purposes of the refuge
  • Potentially taking away local tax base and forgoing payments due to a lacking budget
  • Land changes resulting in reduced land values in the area and for neighbors
  • Broad-stroke regulations for refuges that don’t fit the local environment
  • Accumulating more land before or without maximizing conservation value on land that is already set aside for that purpose
  • The agency being unable to adequately address mitigation needs of adjacent neighbors dealing with flooded land, weed or fire pressure, or wildlife nuisance issues due to the refuge