ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION AGENDA
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-EIGHTH MEETING

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Lake Level Conference Room A-B
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
February 4, 2003 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 the 177th Meeting, October 29, 2002

Item 4: Next Meeting Schedule

6 May, 10:00 a.m. - Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford
5 August, 9:00 a.m. - Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield
28 October, 10:00 a.m. - Pere Marquette State Park Lodge, Grafton

Item 5: INPC Staff Report

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

Item 6: IDNR Staff Report

REPORT
Glen Kruse
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation

Item 7:* Hancock Co. – Geissler Savanna Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Geissler Savanna Land and Water Reserve, owned by the IDNR, consists of 36.97 acres in Hancock County, located in west-central Illinois. The IDNR acquired the property from Save the Prairie Society in 1998. Save the Prairie Society had initially purchased the area from Byron Geissler in 1997. While under the ownership of Save the Prairie Society, the INPC conveyed preliminary approval for the dedication of Hancock (Geissler) Savanna as a nature preserve in August, 1997, at the 156th Meeting (Resolution #1367). The proposed reserve contains approximately 9 acres of high-quality mesic and dry-mesic savanna representative of the Galesburg Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division. It was recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a Category I site in 1990 (#1229). Geissler Savanna is the second largest intact savanna of this type in Illinois. Four endangered and threatened plant species are found at this location including: savanna blazingstar (Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii), Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii), eastern prairie white-fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), and Virginia bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum). Savanna blazingstar is a natural occurrence at this site. The other three plants were previously known from this area but were extirpated and have recently been restored to Geissler Savanna through reintroduction programs.

REPORT
Angella Moorehouse
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 8:* Jasper Co. – Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands Land and Water Reserve, owned by the Illinois Audubon Society (IAS), is a 40-acre tract located within the Jasper County unit of Prairie Ridge INAI site (#601). The tract was purchased by the IAS in December, 2002 with the assistance of a Conservation 2000 grant. The proposed reserve will be restored to native grasses and forbs typical of the Effingham Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and will be managed in conjunction with the Jasper County unit of Prairie Ridge State Natural Area (PRSNA). PRSNA provides critical habitat for 36 endangered, threatened, watchlist, or grassland sensitive species. If registered, the reserve would increase the total acreage of restored grasslands at PRSNA - Jasper County to 1,983 acres. Three grain bins were purchased with the property and will be sold with the buyer being responsible for their removal. Proceeds from the sale of the bins will be used to purchase grass and forb seed for the restoration. Allowable uses will include bird watching, nature observation and study, scientific research, photography, and harvesting grass and forb seed to supplement future restorations on this and other dedicated or registered tracts. A 25-foot by 60-foot access lane will be maintained as a parking/viewing area.

REPORT
Bob Edgin
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 9:* Jo Daviess Co. – Apple River Canyon Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Apple River Canyon State Park, owned and managed by the IDNR, is located in the northwest corner of Illinois, in the northeastern part of Jo Daviess County. The Apple River and extensive portions of Apple River Canyon are recognized on the INAI (#1056, #1069). At INPC’s 175th Meeting in May, 2002, approximately 442 acres within Apple River Canyon State Park were dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The proposed land and water reserve will provide protection for the significant resources of the Apple River and the nature preserve. The proposed reserve includes 182 acres of stream segments and selected shoreline access located in the McKeague Unit and the Thompson Prairie Unit, south of the main park unit. At least three state- threatened plant species are known from the exceptional dolomite cliffs located in the proposed reserve. In addition to high-quality upland communities representative of the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division, the Apple River is identified as a high-quality stream by the INAI and river otters are known to use the river and its adjacent uplands.

REPORT
Ed Anderson
District Heritage Biologist
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation, Region I

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 10:* LaSalle Co. – Camp River Trails Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The Girl Scouts of Whispering Oaks Council proposes to register 68 acres of its camp as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve. The registration of this property is being purchased through Conservation 2000's Fox River Ecosystem Partnership. The camp is found along the lower Fox River INAI site (#1444), and lies within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division of Illinois. Registration of this site will permanently protect forested floodplain, dry-mesic upland forest, forested seeps, sandstone bluffs, a population of the state-threatened northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and approximately 2500 feet of Mission Creek, a small high-quality tributary of the Fox River. The Girl Scouts will continue to use the land as they have in the past. Hiking, camping, swimming, and canoeing will be allowed while the high-quality resources are being preserved.

REPORT
Kim Roman
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 11:* Marshall Co. – Sandy Creek Bluffs Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The 153.45-acre Sandy Creek Bluffs, owned by Dr. John Raffensperger and Reverend Carolyn M. Raffensperger, contains no less than 120 acres of young-to-mature second-growth woods in two tracts separated from each other by a county highway. The woods, which are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, are dominated by oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.), and support a breeding bird community that contains no less than 17 area-sensitive species known to suffer from habitat fragmentation (as defined by the IDNR Natural Heritage Technical Publication #1). In fact, the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillis) Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons), American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), and the formerly state-threatened Veery (Catharus fuscescens), all of which have been observed during the breeding season on the proposed reserve, are known to be highly sensitive to fragmentation. Sandy Creek Bluffs also contains a 20-acre prairie/savanna restoration plus two small artificial ponds. Thirteen acres of old fields, also located on the site, will be completely reforested, which will eventually contribute to the formation of a much larger block (approximately 100 acres) of contiguous forest. Much of the land adjacent to Sandy Creek Bluffs is also forested, which suggests the possibility of a much larger, landscape-scale restoration project. The 2.5-acre Wier Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, part of the 169-acre Sandy Creek Hill Prairies Natural Area (INAI #188), is located within one mile to the north.

REPORT
Tom Lerczak
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 12:* Hancock Co. – Stony Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication

Located within Hancock County, in the far west-central part of Illinois, Stony Hills Nature Preserve contains approximately 30 acres. The site is owned by Roger Batz and Gretchen Graft Batz of Elsah, Illinois. The entire 30-acre proposed nature preserve lies within the boundaries of Jamar Haven Land and Water Reserve. In 1999, the INPC approved registration of Jamar Haven as the 39th Land and Water Reserve (Resolution #1504). Stony Hills contains about 3.5 acres of the 5-acre site recognized by the INAI (#1645) as the Niota Geological Area. The Niota Geological Area was confirmed by the Illinois State Geological Survey as a Category IV geological site. The site contains significant geological and archeological features and habitat for a state-threatened reptile.

REPORT
Angella Moorehouse
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 13:* Kane Co. – Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed 65.92-acre Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve, owned by the Dundee Township Open Space Program, is a mosaic of natural plant communities arrayed upon a rolling topography with diverse soil types, different exposures, and varying moisture regimes. The site was recently recognized by the INAI (#1625) for populations of the state-threatened Hill’s thistle (Cirsium hillii). The populations of Hill’s thistle are surviving elements of a dry prairie plant community. This type of prairie community is extremely rare in the State. Only 1.4 acres of high-quality dry prairie were identified on the INAI. In addition to the dry prairie plant community, elements of sedge meadow and graminoid fen wetlands also survive at the site. The proposed Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. The Dundee Township Open Space Program was created in 1996 with a stated purpose of protection and preservation of farmland, flood plains, wetlands, native woodlands, and rapidly disappearing wildlife habitat.

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Preliminary Approval for Dedication

Item 14:* McHenry Co. – Fel-Pro Triple “R” Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication

The McHenry County Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy propose to dedicate 90.2 acres (15.96 acres as nature preserve and 74.06 acres as nature preserve buffer) to be known as Fel-Pro Triple “R” Nature Preserve. A portion of the proposed nature preserve lies within a larger wetland basin recognized by the INAI as Detrana Fen (#1557). The proposed Fel-Pro Triple “R” Fen Nature Preserve is located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Five natural plant communities support 268 native plant species including the state-endangered green-fruited burreed (Sparganium chlorocarpum). The proposed 90.02- acre Fel-Pro Triple “R” Fen Nature Preserve is part of a 225-acre tract conveyed to The Nature Conservancy and the McHenry County Conservation District in 1999 by the Herz, Kessler, Lehman, Mecklenburger, Morris, Radov, Scholzman, and Weinberg families (the owners of Fel-Pro). The site was referred to by these families as the Fel-Pro Rest, Relaxation, and Recreation Ranch, hence the triple “R” designation. The balance of the site, and portions of the proposed Nature Preserve, will offer outdoor educational opportunities for the public and children enrolled in programs offered by Metropolitan Family Services.

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Preliminary Approval for Dedication

Item 15:* Cook Co. – Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Burnham Prairie, owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, is an INAI site (#98) located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This unique site is recognized for its dry-mesic prairie, wet-mesic prairie, wet prairie, and savanna communities. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County recently acquired 78.5 acres of this site and wishes to protect it in perpetuity by dedicating it as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The District will manage the proposed Nature Preserve for its outstanding natural heritage resources, while facilitating compatible public use. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 177th Meeting (Resolution #1683) in October, 2002.

REPORT
Kim Roman
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 16:* Cook Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Nature Conservancy is seeking final approval for an approximate 1.5-acre buffer addition to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve. Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is one of four prairies located in Cook County that are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. The Indian Boundary Prairies are a surviving remnant of a vast prairie that once extended along Lake Michigan in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Aside from the collective importance of this archipelago of prairies, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is included on the INAI (#1563). It supports over 200 plant species, including the state-threatened eared false foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata). Outstanding features of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve are the ten acres of high-quality mesic prairie and the occurrence of the habitat-restricted two-spotted skipper (Euphyes bimacula) and black dash (Euphyes conspicua). Sixty acres of Paintbrush Prairie were conferred preliminary approval at the Commission’s 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1248). At the Commission’s 148th Meeting in August, 1995 (Resolution #1281), preliminary approval was granted for dedication of a key 8-acre addition. In October, 1998, a 10.1-acre addition was conferred preliminary approval at the Commission’s 161st Meeting (Resolution #1445). In May, 1999, preliminary approval for dedication of a 2-acre buffer addition was granted at the Commission’s 163rd Meeting (Resolution #1478). The 60-acre tract and 8-acre addition were granted final approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the Commission’s 162nd Meeting in February, 1999 (Resolution #1465). In August, 1999, at the Commission’s 164th Meeting, final approval for dedication was granted for the10.1-acre addition and 2-acre buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve (Resolution #1498). In October, 2002, the Commission granted preliminary approval for a 1.74-acre nature preserve buffer addition (Resolution #1684). Subsequent to that meeting, The Nature Conservancy decided to proceed with final approval of the approximate 1.5-acre nature preserve buffer addition. This addition will increase the size of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve from 80.1 to approximately 81.6 acres.

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 17:* Cook Co. – Addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Nature Conservancy is seeking final approval of a 2.09-acre addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve. The Nature Conservancy owns approximately 80 acres of mesic and wet-mesic prairie and sedge meadow known as Sundrop Prairie. A portion of this prairie received preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1249). Final approval for dedication of 52.1 acres as an Illinois Nature Preserve was granted at the Commission’s 166th Meeting in February, 2000 (Resolution #1522). This prairie is one island in an archipelago of prairies known collectively as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. The Indian Boundary Prairies are a surviving remnant of a vast prairie that once extended along Lake Michigan in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Sundrop Prairie is considered an important and integral part of the Indian Boundary Prairies and is included on the INAI (#1575). The site supports a high-quality sedge meadow with a rich assemblage of plants (over 230 native plant species) including the state-threatened early fen sedge (Carex crawei). This dedication will increase the size of the Nature Preserve from 52.1 to 54.19 acres.

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

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

Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang are seeking final approval for dedication of a 5.2-acre addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve. The existing Nature Preserve is a 3.1-acre site within the 78-acre Hopewell Estates Hill Prairies Natural Area (INAI #231) that supports grade A and grade B glacial drift hill prairies with grade C woodlands representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The proposed addition consists of lots 111 and 119, which are adjacent to each other but separated by a small road from the dedicated nature preserve. The addition contains mature grade C dry-mesic upland woodlands and mesic ravine woods, mostly on steep north to northeastern facing slopes. The woods support a rich ground flora of mesic species including a large population of the highly conservative and formerly state-threatened Schreber’s aster (Aster schreberi), plus several species of ferns. Dedication of this nature preserve addition will add significantly to the diversity of habitat types and is consistent with recommendations of the Illinois River Bluffs Ecosystem Partnership. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 174th Meeting in February, 2002 (Resolution #1633).

REPORT
Tom Lerczak
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 19:* Tazewell Co. – McCoy Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

McCoy Woods, owned by the Gould Family Trust and the Hancock Realty Partners, is a 28.7-acre site included within the 47-acre McCoy Woods Natural Area (INAI #132), recognized on the INAI for a 15-acre, grade A, wet floodplain forest and a 7-acre, grade B, mesic upland forest. The Commission granted McCoy Woods preliminary approval for dedication at the 177th Meeting in October, 2002 (Resolution #1685). The proposed nature preserve includes the grade A and B forests; approximately three acres of grade C, upland forest; and a 0.5-mile reach of the gravel-cobble-bottomed Mackinaw River (located approximately 20 miles downstream from the Mackinaw River Natural Area [INAI #788]). The preserve boundary follows the centerline of the river. The forest and stream natural communities are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. McCoy Woods has been identified as an INAI Gap site, which is a natural area that contains a type of natural community that is not protected in any of the existing nature preserves or land and water reserves.

REPORT
Tom Lerczak
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 20:* Boone County – Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve - Special Use Permit for Deer Removal for Testing of Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. On November 1, 2002, Illinois received confirmation that a CWD-infected deer had been found northeast of Rockford, Illinois along the Boone-Winnebago County line. Subsequent testing of deer in this area during the 2002 Firearm Deer Season resulted in confirmation of further positive cases of CWD. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plan to take additional samples from this geographic area to evaluate 1) how long CWD may have been present and 2) the distribution and prevalence of the disease. As there are currently no reliable live-animal tests for CWD, the surveillance sampling protocol involves removal of the brainstem and certain lymph nodes post-mortem followed by laboratory testing. Sampling would be accomplished through the use of USDA Wildlife Services professional sharpshooters over designated baited areas at night. The IDNR is seeking a Nature Preserve Special Use Permit at Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve that would allow lethal deer removal for the purpose of testing for CWD. Most of the land area in this vicinity is developed for residential housing, with resultant small tracts of land. Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve, owned by the Boone County Conservation District, likely represents the most strategically important block of suitable deer habitat in this geographic area.

REPORT
Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Approval of Special-Use Permit

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:* Vegetation Management Guidelines

The Management Guidelines give land owners and managers guidance on how to handle a land management issue in a nature preserve or land and water reserve. Once approved by the Commission, they become part of the policy guidance used by staff to review and approve management plans. An updated Vegetation Management Guideline for the control of multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and a new guideline for gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) are presented for approval. Methods of control for these species include various applications and combinations of prescribed fire, cutting and spot treatments of herbicide depending on site specific conditions and management goals. These revisions were drafted by Daniel Greuel and Shannon Horn respectively, and edited by Mary Kay Solecki and Randy Heidorn. The guidelines were submitted to INPC Consultants and Advisors and to selected natural area land managers for review. Recommended changes were incorporated into the documents.

REPORT
Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Approval of Guidelines

Item 23: 40th Anniversary of the Nature Preserves Commission Update

REPORT
Jill Allread
Nature Preserves Commission

 

Item 24: Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

Item 25: Other Business

Item 26: Adjournment

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