ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION AGENDA

ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-SECOND MEETING

Illinois State Library
300 South Second Street, Room 403
Springfield, Illinois
February 2, 1999 10:00 A.M.


*Documentary Material Enclosed

Item 1: Call to Order, Roll Call, and Introduction of Attendees

Item 2:* Adoption of Agenda

Item 3:* Approval of Minutes of 161st Meeting, October 27, 1998

Item 4:* Next Meeting Schedule

Item 5: INPC Staff Report

REPORT
Carolyn Grosboll, Don McFall and Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 6: IDNR Staff Report

REPORT
Carl Becker
IDNR, Division of Natural Heritage

Item 7: IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation Realignment

REPORT
Kirby Cottrell
Office Director

Item 8:* Cass Co. - Cox Creek Hill Prairies Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The Cox Creek Hill Prairies, a 575-acre site located on the northern boundary of Site M in Cass County, is owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The predominant community within this area is loess hill prairie, and several high quality sites are present along the north side of Panther Creek. The site was recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1334) as a Category I site containing hill prairies of statewide significance. State-listed threatened species are also present, including Hill's thistle (Cirsium hillii), pale false foxglove (Agalinis skinneriana), Ottoe skipper (Hesperia ottoe), and the white lady's slipper orchid (Cypripedium candidum). A 1995 report states that this area contains "the largest complex of loess hill prairies in the state".

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Tim Kelley                                              Registration Approval
IDNR, Division of Natural Heritage

Item 9:* Wabash Co. - Marjorie J. Brines White Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Marjorie J. Brines proposes to register 10 acres of the 67-acre Mount's Woods Natural Area as the Marjorie J. Brines White Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve. The site was recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #42) as Grade A dry-mesic upland forest. Mount's Woods Natural Area is the only privately-owned Grade A dry-mesic upland forest remaining in the Wabash Border Natural Division of Illinois.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Bob Edgin                                               Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 10:* Calhoun Co. - Jennings Family Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed Jennings Family Hill Prairie Nature Preserve is a 34.8-acre parcel containing Grade A loess hill prairie, Grade A limestone cliff community, and Grade C mesic and dry-mesic upland forest. The hill prairie and limestone cliff are listed on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1227). The hill prairie is home to conservative species such as bluehearts (Buchnera americana), Indian plantain (Cacalia plantaginea), and leadplant (Amorpha canescens). The state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) has also been known to inhabit the property. The site has been enrolled in the Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark program since 1988. If approved for dedication, Jennings Family Hill Prairie will be the first Nature Preserve in Calhoun County, and the first hill prairie in the Driftless Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division to be legally protected in perpetuity.

REPORT                                                 ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Debbie Newman                                      Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 11:* Kane Co. - Hemmer Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed Hemmer Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve is a wetland complex owned by Ms. Patricia Hemmer Braddock, Mr. David Hemmer, and Mr. Joseph Hemmer. The wetland complex consists of three wetland basins that serve as the headwaters of the south Branch of the Kishwaukee River and Coon Creek. The two wetland basins included in this proposal for dedication are referred to as Hemmer #1 (15.8 acres) and Hemmer #2 (16.2 acres) totaling 32 acres. In 1996, these wetlands were included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1519) for recognition of extant high-quality fen and sedge meadow wetland communities. Although this wetland complex was only recently included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, noted and respected botanists have long considered the Hemmer wetland complex a significant natural area. Since the Hemmers' great grandfather, George Hemmer Sr., homesteaded the property in 1842, the proposed Hemmer Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve has remained in the Hemmer Family for four generations. The current generation of Hemmers also have a strong attachment for the land and have supported management activities for several years. Both the Hemmer Family and the INPC staff recommend that the 32 acres identified in this proposal for dedication be granted preliminary approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steven Byers                                           Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 12:* Will Co. - Addition of Buffer to Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

Messenger Woods Nature Preserve is a 407-acre natural area owned by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. A large portion of Messenger Woods was identified by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #884) as a Category I Ecological Area due to the occurrence of grade B dry-mesic upland forest and grades A and B mesic upland forest. Portions of the natural area identified by the INAI extend onto private property surrounding the Nature Preserve. Anthony and Mary Pragovich own 5.1 acres of the original natural area. The Pragovichs are interested in habitat conservation and aware of the role their property serves in buffering and preserving the intact mesic upland forest community adjacent to Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Mr. and Mrs. Pragovich are proposing to dedicate approximately 2.75 acres of their property as nature preserve buffer.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Brian Reilly                                              Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 13:* Will Co. -- Vermont Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC) proposes to dedicate Vermont Cemetery Prairie, a one-acre prairie located in northwest Will County. The Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1080) identified the site as one acre of Grade A dry-mesic prairie. This represents more than 10% of all of Illinois' Grade A dry-mesic prairie. Among the native plant species growing in Vermont Cemetery are the Federally Threatened and State endangered Mead's milkweed (Asclepias meadii) and the state-threatened Hill's thistle (Cirsium hillii). In 1983, the prairie received preliminary approval to be dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve, Resolution 772. Final approval was never requested because legal title was not clean. The FPDWC accepted clean title to the property in 1998. At this time, the FPDWC requests reiteration of preliminary approval to dedicate Vermont Cemetery Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Brian Reilly                                              Reiteration of Preliminary Approval For Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission                                               

Dr. Robert Betz
Consultant to the Commission

Item 14:* Cook Co. - Addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Nature Conservancy proposes to dedicated 54 lots (approximately 5.1 acres) as an addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve. The proposed addition is located within the designated boundary of the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #400) for Gensburg-Markham Prairie as well as the boundary established for Gensburg-Markham Prairie National Natural Landmark. A preservation strategy for this site was first articulated in a Master Plan approved by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission at its 95th Meeting on August 1, 1983 (Resolution #750), which called for protection of the prairie extending north and south of Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve. Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve

is part of an archipelago of four prairies that are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies, surviving remnants of the vast prairie that once extended for miles along Lake Michigan and the Lake Plain Section of old Lake Chicago. Both the INPC staff and The Nature Conservancy recommend that the 5.1 acres identified in the proposal for dedication be granted final approval for dedication as an addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve.

REPORT                                                 ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steven Byers                                            Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 15:* Cook Co. - Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of a 60-acre parcel known as Paintbrush Prairie at its 145th Meeting on October 25, 1994 (Resolution #1248). At the Commission's 148th Meeting on August 1, 1995 (Resolution # 1281), the Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of a key 8-acre addition. More recently, an additional 10.1 acres was conferred preliminary approval as an addition to Paintbrush Prairie at the Commission's 161st Meeting on October 27, 1998 (Resolution #1445). To date, none have received final approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The instrument of dedication prepared for this agenda item will provide for final approval of approximately 68 acres of Paintbrush Prairie which was granted preliminary approval at the Commission's 145th and 148th Meetings. The final addition granted preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 161st Meeting is not included in this instrument of dedication because The Nature Conservancy has not yet closed on this tract of land because the landowner now wishes to include an additional two acres in the purchase agreement. Paintbrush Prairie is one of four prairies located in the City of Markham, Illinois that are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Sundrop Prairie, and Dropseed Prairie. Aside from the collective importance of this archipelago of prairies, Paintbrush Prairie supports over 200 plant species, including the state-threatened eared false foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata). The early fen sedge (Carex crawei), which also occurs at Paintbrush Prairie, was recently removed from the list of threatened and endangered animals and plants of Illinois. Both the INPC staff and The Nature Conservancy recommend final approval for dedication of 68 acres of Paintbrush Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steven Byers                                           Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 16:* Henry Co. - Mineral Marsh Nature Preserve, Dedication

This 230-acre natural area in Henry County, within the Green River Lowlands, is owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The site contains sand prairie and semi-permanent ponds that are surrounded by marsh and wet sand prairie. The site was recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1103) as a category II site because of the presence of endangered species, including one of the largest populations of the Illinois mud turtle (Kinosternon flavescens) in the Midwest. The site contains dry/dry mesic sand prairie, dry sand savanna, and wet sand prairie and marsh communities. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 161st Meeting on October 27, 1998 (Resolution #1453).

REPORT                                                 ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED 
Anne Mankowski                                     Final Approval for Dedication
IDNR, Division of Natural Heritage

Item 17:* LaSalle Co. - Lower Fox River - Wedron Palisades Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Wedron Silica Company proposes to dedicate a one-mile long sandstone cliff on the east bank of the Fox River as the Lower Fox River - Wedron Palisades Nature Preserve. This rock wall is one of 14 natural areas along the lower Fox River. The palisades were identified on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #676) due to the occurrence on the edge of the cliff of the state-threatened northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis). The lower Fox River is a high-quality natural area because of the abundance of plants, animals and geologic features surrounding the River. The River was identified on the INAI (#1444) as an "outstanding example of the rivers and creeks of the Illinois River watershed." The lower Fox River provides habitat for the state-endangered greater redhorse. (Moxostoma valenciennesi), and the state-threatened river redhorse (M. carinatum). The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 160th Meeting on August 4, 1998 (Resolution #1431).

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Brian Reilly                                              Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 18:* Marshall Co. - Addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, Dedication

Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve is an approximately 1.26-acre tract (lot #117) within the 78-acre Hopewell Estates Hill Prairies Natural Area (INAI #231), located along the Illinois River bluffs about 18 miles northeast of Peoria in Marshall County in the Village of Hopewell, and is owned by Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang. On October 27, 1998, at the 161st Meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, preliminary approval was granted for the dedication of approximately 0.74 acres on an adjacent lot (#116) as an addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve (Resolution #1448). Emiko Yang is the owner of lot #116. Restoration management of high quality glacial drift hill prairie and upland woodlands at the site has already included extensive brush cutting and prescribed burning. An on-going plant survey is being conducted, with assistance from a Wildlife Preservation Fund grant, to monitor long-term trends. The staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission recommends 0.74 acres at lot #116 in the Village of Hopewell be granted final approval as an addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Tom Lerczak                                           Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 19: Update on Protection of Prairies on Railroad Rights-of-Way

REPORT
Brian Reilly
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 20:* Edgar Co. - Baber Woods Nature Preserve, Authorization to Sell or Barter Wood Products Removed from the Nature Preserve During a Restoration Project

Baber Woods, an approximately 50-acre old growth remnant of dry-mesic upland forest owned by The Nature Conservancy, is dedicated as a nature preserve to protect the old growth oak-hickory forest. This forest has experienced a vast increase in sugar maples over the past 33 or more years. This increase has been accompanied by a striking decrease in oak and hickories. Proposed management calls for restoring ecological conditions to allow increased oak and hickory reproduction and survival. This includes controlling sugar maple invasion by cutting and removing or girdling up to 80% of sugar maple stems. The Nature Conservancy proposes to allow a contractor to cut and remove much or most of the sugar maple invasion. The Nature Conservancy wishes to either sell or barter the logs to a contractor who will use the logs for wood products. The Nature Conservancy seeks the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission's approval to sell or barter trees that are cut as part of the ecological restoration process.

REPORT                                                ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Mary Kay Solecki                                   Approval of Sale or Barter of Logs Removed
Randy Heidorn                                         During Ecological Restoration
Nature Preserves Commission

Vern LaGesse
The Nature Conservancy

Item 21: Lake Co. - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve, Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation

REPORT
Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 22: Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person )

Item 23: Other Business

Item 24: Adjournment