The mission of Blackhawk Hills Regional Council (BHRC) is to assist the people and local agencies of northwest Illinois in developing and implementing a regional outlook that will enhance economic growth, workforce development, natural resource conservation, and quality of life for local communities through leadership, program and project development, planning, and leveraging of resources.
BHRC is a not-for-profit organization based in Rock Falls, that serves Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside Counties in northwest Illinois. Services include community planning, development assistance, natural resource conservation and protection support, and grant writing and administration. BHRC is sponsored by local County Boards and Soil and Water Conservation Districts and is overseen by an 18-member council, consisting of three representatives from each of the six counties.
Blackhawk Hills was authorized in March 1974 by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and quickly became a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Blackhawk Hills region includes Carroll, Lee, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside Counties and covers approximately 3,777 square miles. Blackhawk Hills is sponsored by the County Boards and Soil and Water Conservation District Boards in the region. The governing body includes 18 members which consist of one County Board member from each county, one Soil and Water Conservation District member from each county, and one Area Representative from each county. Please see the Contact Us page for a list of our council members.
Resource Conservation and Development
The Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program helps communities protect and maintain their natural resources in a way that will improve the local economy, environment, and living standards. The overall aim of an RC&D program is to identify problems, establish goals and objectives, develop alternatives, and implement plans. Each RC&D defines its own goals and objectives that are unique to their area. The RC&D goals should be focused on land conservation, community development, water management, and environmental issues.
Economic Development District
Blackhawk Hills RC&D was designated as an Economic Development District (EDD) by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in March 1992. The purpose of the program is to accelerate overall economic development program planning on a regional basis and to utilize all applicable federal, state, and local agencies, groups, and organizations in implementing the plan(s).
Through the Economic Development District, Blackhawk Hills assists local governments and public entities in acquiring funds for a variety of community development and planning activities, including the construction of infrastructure for the enhancement and expansion of business and industry. In addition, the EDD helps develop and implement a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) to improve job opportunities and quality of life for local communities.
Blackhawk Hills RC&D was designated a not-for-profit regional planning organization and renamed Blackhawk Hills Regional Council in May 2012.