Minutes of the 151st Meeting
May 7, 1996
Gordon Goodman, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance... 8
Cook Co. -- Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication... 9
Jackson Co. -- Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie, Dedication... 10
Madison Co. -- Addition of Toadwood Scrubs
as Buffer to the
E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication... 11
Will Co. -- Goodenow Grove, Dedication ... 12
Will Co. -- Addition to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication... 13
Lake Co. -- Florsheim Park, Dedication... 14
Lee Co. -- Addition to Franklin Creek Nature Preserve, Dedication.. 15
Whiteside Co. -- Addition of Buffer to
Lyndon Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication... 16
Heron Pond/Little Black Slough Nature
Preserve Erosion Control Project: Status Report... 17
Adoption of Agenda... 2
Approval of Minutes of 150th Meeting... 3
Next Meeting Schedule... 4
INPC Staff Report... 5
IDNR Staff Report .... 6
Public Comment Period... 7
Amendment of Commission Resolution 1246, Item 10 of the 145th Minutes... 18
Approval of INPC Organizational Chart... 19
Other Business... 20
ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION
MINUTES OF 151st MEETING
(Subject to approval of Commission at 152nd Meeting)
Giant City State Park
336 South Church Road
Tuesday, May 7, 1996 -- 10:00 a.m.
151-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:05 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chairman Donnelley, the meeting began.
Members present: Gerald Adelmann, Thomas Donnelley, Guy Fraker, Don Pierce, John Schmitt, and Victoria Ranney.
Members absent: Judith Spasovich, Frank Farwell and Michael Schneiderman.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Steve Byers, Judith Faulkner, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Mary Kay Solecki, and Karen Tish, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Carl Becker, Dave Cooper, Fran Harty, Jean Karnes, Bill McClain, and John Schwegman, Division of Natural Heritage, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Susan Dees and George Rose, Department of Transportation (IDOT); Gordon Goodman, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance; Sharon Suchecki, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIU-C); Annie Rieken, Monroe County Heritage Foundation; Kristi Hanson and Mark Donham, members of several local environmental groups and residents of Pope County; Bob Winston, Friends of Bell Smith Springs; Connie Carroll and John "Jack" White, Ecological Services; Marcy DeMauro and Dave Mauger, Forest Preserve District of Will County; John K. Bouseman, Illinois Natural History Survey; Holly Harris, SIU-C; Steve Christianson, Native Forest Network; Larry Stritch, U.S.D.A. Forest Service; Dale Birkenholz, former Commissioner with INPC; Barbara McKasson, Sierra Club-Shawnee Group; Tom Beaumont, Southern Illinoisan (newspaper), and Stanley Harris, retired professor of Geomorphology at SIU-C.
Commissioner Donnelley welcomed three new Commissioners: Guy Fraker, Vicky Ranney and Michael Schneiderman (absent) and thanked the three Commissioners whose terms have expired with the Commission: Valerie Spale, Anthony Dvorak, and Wendy Paulson. He recommended a resolution for their time and duty.
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Pierce and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission hereby recognizes the outstanding service of former Commissioners Spale, Dvorak, and Paulson. Their unswerving dedication to the Commission has made a profound impact on the preservation and protection of Illinois' Natural Heritage.
151-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the Agenda for the 151st Meeting be adopted.
151-3) Approval of Minutes of 150th Meeting, February 6, 1996
It was moved by Ranney, seconded by Schmitt and carried that the minutes for the 150th meeting be approved.
151-4) Next Meeting Schedule
Carolyn Grosboll reported that the 152nd INPC Meeting will be held on August 6, 1996 at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. Carolyn also reported that the 153rd INPC Meeting will be held on October 29, 1996 at Funks Grove Nature Preserve near Bloomington, Illinois, rather than at Wildlife Prairie Park.
151-5) INPC Staff Report
Carolyn introduced two new INPC staff members: Karen Tish began on March 16, 1996 as an Office Specialist. Karen fills a vacancy which was created when Tammie McKay was promoted as the Executive Assistant for the Endangered Species Protection Board and INPC. Karen has worked for IDNR for seven years, most recently with the Division of Education, Public Events and Promotions.
Carolyn also introduced Don McFall, who began on April 16, 1996 as Deputy Director for Protection. Don will be responsible for the Commission's protection programs, including the supervision of the NAPS. Don worked for INPC in the early 1980's as a Natural Areas Preservation Specialist (NAPS). Don was formerly the Natural Areas Program Manager with IDNR's Division of Natural Heritage. Carolyn stated that INPC staffs are looking forward to working with both Karen and Don.
Carolyn gave an update on other vacancies and new positions with INPC. Two vacancies are in the process of being filled, a part-time (60%) Office Associate in the Springfield office and a NAPS in Will County which will be located at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois. Those vacancies have been posted and interviews will follow soon.
The Commission has been authorized to hire four new permanent full-time NAPS which will be located in Mason, McDonough, Randolph, and Wayne counties. Two permanent part-time (60%) positions will also be hired: a Northeastern Illinois Threats Coordinator which will be located in Kane County, and a Stewardship Project Manager who will assist Randy Heidorn in the Springfield office. The positions have been established with Central Management Services and will hopefully be posted soon and be filled by the end of this fiscal year. She stated that it is our hope to have the positions filled by the end of the fiscal year.
Carolyn's final update was on the Chicago Region Biodiversity Initiative, also known as Chicago Wilderness. The Commission passed a Resolution (#1287) at its 149th Meeting to become a member of the Chicago Region Biodiversity Council. Currently, there are 34 entities who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become a member of the Council. The Council's current Chair is Benjamin Tuggle, who is the Field Supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It has been through Ben's leadership that the Initiative is off to a good start. On April 10th, 1996 there was a kick off event held at the Field Museum in Chicago which featured field trips for the press to show them some of the region's biodiversity as well as the management techniques that are vital to the survival of these areas. Following the field trips, a reception was held at the Field Museum in which over 500 people attended. Carolyn reported that it was a great success. It was also announced on April 10 that the U.S.D.A., Forest Service was providing a $700,000 grant to the Council to begin funding some of the initial projects. Carolyn offered brochures which explained more about the Chicago Region Biodiversity Initiative and its members.
Don McFall, Deputy Director for Protection, passed out the Strategic Plan for Ecological Resources of Illinois (SPERI). Most of the INPC staff were involved in preparing this document along with IDNR and the Endangered Species Protection Board. This SPERI document is similar to the Natural Areas Plan of many years ago, which the Commission also helped put together. This document is comprised of the landscape view of protection and management of the Natural Areas. It outlines 47 specific tasks that landowners, citizens, and INPC can take to protect and save our native landscape. The SPERI has been approved by Director Manning and is ready for distribution to anyone who is interested.
Don reported that since the last Commission meeting, there is good news on the Savanna Army Depot in northwestern Illinois. Most people are probably aware that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) reached an agreement on the future use of the closed Depot. The Depot is 13,100 acres along the Mississippi River in far northwestern Illinois. It contains over 6,500 acres of Mississippi River bottomland, forest, sloughs and lakes; 5,500 acres of upland sand prairie, oak forests, and habitat for an amazing concentration of 32 endangered or threatened plants and animals. By terms of the agreement, 9,500 acres will be transferred to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for an addition to the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Approximately 3,500 acres will be available for the LRA for economic development and reuse. Don showed a map indicating the rich bottomland wetlands, upland sand prairie, and oak forest which will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. John Alesandrini represented the Commission at many of those meetings and a lot of people who are also present, helped to make this happen.
INPC staff attended the annual Natural Heritage Division Meeting in Peoria on March 11-13, 1996. The meeting permitted communication with other IDNR employees. This year joining Natural Heritage was the Office of Land Management and Education.
Don reported that the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was held near the Cache River State Natural Area on May 4, 1996. Carolyn and Judy represented the Commission, at the ceremony recognizing the Cache River wetlands as a RAMSAR site. The Cache River is in good company with Horicon Marsh, the Everglades, and Okefenokee Swamp.
In northeastern Illinois, Steve Byers served on the Natural Areas Study Technical Advisory Committee for the DuPage County Planning Commission. The purpose of this Commission was to develop criteria to evaluate the remaining parcels of open land in DuPage County for their natural resources and open space values. The important areas to INPC are being considered in that effort.
Steve represented the Commission in the South Metropolitan Regional Leadership and Regional Action Project 2000. The purpose of that meeting was to highlight the significance of open space in the southern Chicago area. Steve worked on a Challenge Cost-Share Agreement of over $3,000 to be used at Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve for fen wetlands. This project is a good example of how IDNR stewardship funds can sometimes be "leveraged" to bring in other funds allowing for more stewardship work to be accomplished on the nature preserve.
In northwestern Illinois, as stated earlier, John Alesandrini is involved in the Savanna Army Depot. He has also worked on the poor access to the cemetery adjacent to Brookville Cemetery Nature Preserve. This situation has been resolved. An IDOT permit has been issued allowing for a second access out of the cemetery. A letter of authorization for construction of a service road has been provided by the Commission which is allowed under the Rules for Management of Nature Preserves. John assisted in over 20 prescribed burns this spring which was a really good accomplishment.
In central Illinois, Mary Kay Solecki has been working on projects involving the Embarras and Mackinaw Rivers to make sure concerns are addressed in these projects. Mary Kay oversaw the Amy Brown contract which involved contacting 56 landowners along the Embarras River. That effort generated three new Natural Heritage Landmarks, and Don thanked Jack White for accepting that contract so this work could be completed.
In southern Illinois, Judy Faulkner negotiated a second Natural Heritage Landmark in the Lost Creek Marsh area, an important Southern Till Plain cordgrass prairie type that is very rare in Illinois. Judy has also been working to manage and restore the marsh area.
Judy has been continuing to be active on the equestrian issue on the Shawnee National Forest where closure orders are being planned. Of the 84 natural areas on the Shawnee National Forest, 40 natural areas are planned for closure to equestrian use in the near future. The paperwork has been completed and signs have been purchased as a cost-share project with IDNR. These will be the first closures resulting from the work in the past three years. These 40 areas include 23 sites that Congressman Poshard said were uncontested research natural areas. There has been further damage to some of the natural areas in the intervening time, and INPC staff continues to encourage the Shawnee National Forest to protect the areas and to manage them so that the recreational use is not damaging to them.
Randy Heidorn summarized a few of the stewardship activities of the Commission. He reported that he and Steve Byers were involved in a scoping meeting to develop a Volo Bog protection document which will be a regional type plan. There is a lot of concern with the rapid development in the area, and projects are coming to IDNR regarding adjacent parcels that may impact the nature preserves, but staff does not have good data to determine possible impacts. INPC staff are looking at collecting additional groundwater data and other kinds of information. The plan will use Geographical Information System (GIS) technology to do some advanced planning in the region around Volo Bog to prevent or lessen cumulative impact of the rapid development. Randy attended IDNR's Site Resource Review meeting. This is the planning process that IDNR uses for all of its lands. For the last couple of years, Randy has been participating in these meetings.
Randy updated the Commissioners on the Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol project. Since the last meeting, there have been a couple of meetings with cooperators in northeastern Illinois. Land managers in the area have selected 30 separate sites to release the Galerucella beetles, the insects that feed on the leaves of the purple loosestrife. These insects were approved through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) screening process for release in nature preserves to control purple loosestrife. The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) is confident that they will be able to produce the 60,000 insects needed for these 30 sites.
Randy reported that INPC has 135 legal master plans in place for nature preserves, of which 74 are current. This is a considerable increase over last year. The number of master plans has doubled due to the development of a general management schedule that covers routine management needs. Staff will be contacting landowners that do not have master plans to have them sign the general management schedule. This schedule will also be used with all new dedications. This will assure that INPC receives a master plan signed in a timely fashion as is required by the Natural Areas Preservation Act.
Randy has been very busy with Special-Use Permits this year. To date, 177 permits have been issued as opposed to 159 during 1995. There has been an increased interest in research and greater compliance with regulations this year.
Lastly, Randy mentioned that staff are gearing up to computerize information from the annual reports. Approximately one-half of the annual reports due this year have been received. Karen Tish has been preparing for this effort by attending a training session on the Paradox computer program.
Commissioner Fraker asked what the permit process was that was mentioned. Randy stated that a Special-Use Permit is required under the Natural Areas Preservation Act for any person who wants to conduct research within a nature preserve.
151-6) IDNR Staff Report
Carl Becker updated the Commissioners on the Teaming with Wildlife Initiative (copies of Teaming with Wildlife brochures were distributed). This Initiative is predicted to raise $350 million annually for aid to states to carry on activities to conserve fish and wildlife.
Under the formula that is proposed, Illinois would receive $13.5 million a year to implement this Initiative. The money is to be spent on conservation of fish and wildlife, including recreational opportunities, viewing and appreciation of fish and wildlife, and on educational opportunities so that people can learn more about these animals and their habitats. There are 752 coalition members nationwide and 54 are in Illinois, the third largest number in the nation. Illinois has been doing a remarkable job in supporting this Initiative.
On March 5, 1996 Bass Pro Shop signed on, making them the first major outdoor equipment retailer to come on board. This may be the catalyst for others such as Cabela's and REI to follow suit. After all, there is not much of a difference in prices on like items between these companies. Businesses that strongly support a strong conservation measure might get more conservationists to spend money at that particular retail outlet than at others. This support has prompted the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to move forward on this Initiative more aggressively. On Thursday, June 6, 1996 Representative Saxton from New Jersey, the Chairman of the House Resource Sub-committee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans, is going to be conducting hearings on this Initiative. That is a significant step. Shortly thereafter they intend to introduce legislation.
The funding for the Initiative comes from a user fee on outdoor recreation equipment. The total list of equipment has not been thoroughly determined, but it will include things such as tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and fuel. We will be moving into a campaign where we want to get the Congressmen and Senators on board with this legislation. The goal is to have 200 co-sponsors in the House and 75 co-sponsors in the Senate. Hopefully, the entire Illinois delegation will sign on as co-sponsors to this bill.
Carolyn added, for the benefit of INPC's new Commissioners, that the Commission passed a Resolution at the 150th Meeting to become a member of the Teaming with Wildlife Coalition (Resolution 1300).
Commissioner Schmitt asked if there had been a briefing for the Illinois delegation. Carl stated that efforts are underway and that they hope to have a presentation for them at their monthly breakfast.
Carl gave a report on the Natural Areas Program. Miller-Anderson Woods is currently a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve in Bureau and Putnam counties. IDNR has been able to acquire 24 acres there that was previously acquired by The Nature Conservancy. This now brings the total to 427 acres. The Department recently acquired 245 acres at the Cache River State Natural Area in Johnson County. This property is located on the southwest corner of Little Black Slough Nature Preserve and contains as upland forests and bluffs. The total acreage now owned by IDNR at Heron Pond-Little Black Slough Nature Preserve is 7,700 acres. This is the largest state natural area and largest dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve. Those are the two main acquisitions that the IDNR has had since the last Commission meeting.
Carl reported that the Division of Natural Heritage had the pleasure of hosting some members of the board of The Nature Conservancy at the Prairie Chicken Sanctuary last month with Judith Joy, a former Commissioner. She writes for the Centralia newspaper.
Lastly, Carl mentioned the 23rd Annual Natural Areas Conference, the 15th North American Prairie Conference, and the Indiana Dunes Conference which will be held October 23-26, 1996 in St. Charles, Illinois at Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center. The program is shaping up, the call for papers is out, and registration packets will soon be out. Carl asked that everyone sign up immediately after receiving their packet so that a space has been reserved, because they will fill up quickly. There will be six concurrent sessions at the conference and approximately 120 papers presented. There will be two paper sessions, a first poster session will be technical posters and then on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday there will be a poster session dedicated to volunteer projects. We will feature a Plenary Session on Wednesday morning and the Governor has been invited to speak. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and Jim Lyons, of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, have also been invited. Commissioner Ranney will be one of the featured speakers at the Plenary Session speaking about the history of the protection and preservation of all the lands in the Chicago region.
151-7) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
Kristi Hanson, who has lived in south Pope County near Cretaceous Hills Nature Preserve for 16 years, mentioned the federal court decision entered a few months ago resulting from a suit brought by Regional Association of Concerned Environmentalists (RACE), Sierra Club, and the Audubon Society against the U.S. Forest Service. The judge ruled that parts of the Shawnee Forest Plan having to do with logging, oil and gas drilling, and ATV's must be sent back to the Forest Service to be redone. Ms. Hanson spoke about ATV damage and showed photos and maps indicating the damage done to the forest in areas not designated as official trails. She said that trees have been cut to form new trails by the riders. In 1987 the Forest Service was notified about ATV's running in the wet, boggy portions of Cretaceous Hills, but the Forest Service did nothing to remedy the problem. Soon after, Brian Anderson, previous Director of INPC, was notified that Cretaceous Hills Nature Preserve was having ATV problems, and a gate was installed within a week. The gate has been successful in keeping the ATV's out. Ms. Hanson showed maps of the Barren Creek area where ATV's have been causing damage for the last 10 years. Ms. Hanson said that the ATV's continually go around the gate at Barren Creek. It has been reported, but nothing has been done. She and the neighbors have made a lot of appeals and threatened lawsuits to the Forest Service about enforcing the law, for the past 10 years to no avail. A year ago, 16 families signed a letter to the Forest Service asking that Burke Branch be closed. In June, three of the couples filed a law suit that is currently pending over jurisdiction of the roads. The judge has asked that they try to work with the Forest Service. All of the information for the jurisdiction was found to be in the transportation inventory. It was found that all the roads except two small ones are under the Forest Service's jurisdiction. Right now there is no closure orders on the Shawnee National Forest. ATV's have been illegal forever, but the Forest Service has never enforced it. Burke Branch is a research study area. In the last wilderness bill it was not included. She said her group felt the only way the area can be protected is if they can get it designated Wilderness. Ms. Hanson asked INPC to help in the next plan to get that designation made. She then passed out brochures on RACE for which she is a board member.
Carolyn asked if the judge ruled that only parts of the plan can be rewritten or if the whole plan must be rewritten. Ms. Hanson said she understood that only the parts on commercial logging, oil and gas drilling and designation of ATV trails must be rewritten. The Forest Service has to put out a draft plan and an EIS and the public will get an opportunity to comment. The Forest Service will come out with their final decision and it can be appealed.
The next person to speak was Bob Winston, representing Friends of Bell Smith Springs. He addressed horseback riding in natural areas. These areas have been heavily damaged by horse traffic from commercial horse camps. Trails that previously were foot trails are now trenches up to a person's knees. Horse camps are beginning to appear in the Bell Smith area. He requested that INPC take a strong public stand and demand that the Forest Service close horse trails within natural areas. Horse camps are the main culprit since they bring groups of up to 100 people to ride on the trails within these natural areas.
Barbara McKasson representing Sierra Club/Shawnee group also spoke of being concerned about the horseback riding. She brought a copy of a letter written to Congressman Poshard, who has been an advocate for the horseback riding groups and maybe has slowed down the progress of closing natural areas to the riding. She mentioned that members of her group visited Double-Branch Hole to view the recent damage and witnessed riders trying to ride up fragile cliffs where there are endangered species. They churned up soil in the stream turning it into a mudhole. She reiterated the fact that there are many designated horse and ATV trails, but the Forest Service is not enforcing the closure of natural area trails to the ATV's and horses. There are now 40 areas that are ready to be restricted. Barbara urged everyone to make this happen as soon as possible.
Mark Donham passed out some material to state his opinion on prescribed burning near Cretaceous Hills Nature Preserve. He mentioned that there are two sides to burning and that he wanted to mention the burning in the forest. He is concerned because there are plans for significant increases for the burning in forests. He indicated that in the SPERI document passed out by Don McFall, it states that burning adds nutrients, increases the vigor of desirable plants species, weakens undesirable plant species and stimulates some dormant seeds to germinate.
Mr. Donham reported that in a 1911 Stephen Forbes paper, Mr. Forbes writes that an absolute essential element to good soil is the presence of humus. It not only increases available plant food but also affects the physical condition beneficially. Surface fires burn out this humus and destroy the leaf mulch from which it is formed. The results of this are worse on limestone and sandy soils. By burning every year, the brush will be kept small, but be increased in quantity. If one small tree is killed, five new sprouts take its place. Many weeds and bushes also come in readily on burned soil and the quality of grass that survives under these conditions is inferior. Dunham stated that this is a pretty significant contradiction. He thinks that there should be an acknowledgement that there is another side and that it is not in the public interest. He showed pictures at Pine Hills Research Natural Area where state listed pine seedlings were killed. These are state endangered short-leaf pines. They did re-sprout, but appeared to be inferior in the picture.
Holly Harris, a student at the Environmental Center at SIU-C, asked INPC to demand that the Forest Service enforce the ruling that there be no equestrian riding in natural areas. She has visited places in the area which show the destruction of lichen communities and herbaceous plants on the endangered species list. She mentioned the money allocated for closing these areas and she encouraged the Commission to have other areas closed.
Steve Christianson, member of Native Forest Network, stated that as a State, we need to be telling the federal government what issues we need to address from the state level and not have Washington tell us how we are going to address things here in the state. He recommends that money available from the Forest Service meant for education be used for law enforcement efforts. He asked that the Commission use its authority to work with the Forest Service so they do their job in enforcing these laws, even if it means putting education on hold so that more law enforcement officers can be hired to keep these folks out of the natural areas. The Education will do no good if these places are trashed.
Carolyn thanked everyone for their comments and stated that INPC is concerned about the issues and has been very active in working with and urging the Forest Service to take action to prevent the equestrians from riding in these natural areas. Carolyn stated that some success has been made and 40 areas will be closed which is about half of the areas. Carolyn said that INPC staff will to continue to monitor this issue and work with the Forest Service urging them to continue their efforts. Hopefully, by working together, the problem can be resolved. Carolyn applauded the citizens because the citizen's words are often the ones that are heard most and she really appreciates their activities.
Chairman Donnelley added that he had heard words like "demand", and it is not really the Commission's position to demand another organization who has actual responsibility to do certain activities. The Commission can and will take a very strong position in urging and encouraging the Forest Service to protect and manage the 84 natural areas on their land. Everyone has a very personal sense of ownership in something like this because it is the citizens property. Everyone has to work together to urge the Forest Service to develop a strategy to protect these areas. Chairman Donnelley urged those present to not demand, but work with services by the state or federal government. He reiterated that working with those agencies gets much more done than demanding services. He encouraged working in a constructive positive manner and not in a negative sense.
Commissioner Adelmann echoed the admiration the Commission has for the stewards present that look out for property and educate the Commission and others. He also mentioned the concerns expressed about burning. He advised that INPC staff are very cautious when it comes to intervention. The purple loosestrife control is an example. It is done in a controlled way, monitored and evaluated and if it is successful, then it is expanded. Fire is part of the ecology of the prairies and savannas. Commissioner Adelmann stated that there is a lot of controversy regarding burning in forested areas. He hopes this issue is not overlooked in the package of items when expressing concerns to colleagues at the Forest Service. Commissioner Adelmann stated that after listening to some of the comments about burning, that he thinks it does raise some questions.
Chairman Donnelley asked Carl and Carolyn to make sure that people are taking the necessary precautions in this area.
151-8) Gordon Goodman, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance
Mr. Goodman distributed a brochure used to get a referendum passed to raise $3 million to purchase property near Lyman Woods. The referendum passed by 12 votes out of 14,000 votes cast on March 19, 1996. However, no land has been purchased. The DuPage County Forest Preserve District is presently acting on a unanimous recommendation from its Land Acquisition and Finance Committee to approve another $3 million towards this purchase. The Downer's Grove Village Council has scheduled a vote for two weeks from now to approve the developer's plans on this property, and the Council's staff recommendation is to approve these plans. Mr. Goodman reported that local advocates have given the Village four weeks of expert testimony about the likely adverse impact on Lyman Woods and they are trying to get the Village to ask the IDNR to help appraise this expert testimony. Mr. Goodman stated that they are trying to get the Village to understand the 1994 amendment to the Natural Areas Preservation Act which requires consultation actually gives the responsibility to the local unit of government, in this case the Village of Downers Grove, to determine whether there are adverse consequences to development. IDNR provides assistance but it is the Village's job to find out if there are adverse consequences; their job locally to mitigate if there are consequences. Mr. Goodman stated that so far they have been unsuccessful in getting the Village to step up to the plate. Mr. Goodman explained that he is present today because the Commission's willingness to say, "this is important and is significant". Thirty-three acres is a small area compared to 34,000+ acres that INPC is protecting throughout the state. The local advocates realize that this is a local problem and are working on it very hard; but, if he goes back and says that INPC is not interested in what they are trying to accomplish, that is terrible. If Mr. Goodman states that INPC agrees that this is a local problem, but feels it is very important to the state and to the nature preserves system that it is solved successfully, that is a completely different message. Mr. Goodman reiterated that it is very important to keep INPC's interest alive. Mr. Goodman also reiterated the importance of Section 17 of the Natural Areas Preservation Act. He stated that the local advocates have sent IDNR video tapes and minutes of all the Village meetings regarding the development. The purpose is to keep IDNR aware if the Village does ask them for a consultation, then the consultation can take place rapidly and successfully. Two things the local advocates are asking the Village to do are:
1) To ask the Department to help them understand the expert testimony.
2) If there are known adverse consequences, to look for a way in which they can be modified or eliminated. By having $6 million of public funds plus some private funds, the locals are hoping that the developer take that money and reinvest it within 18 months in another project so they will not have to pay a capital gains tax. The developers have invested $3.75 million at this point in the property.
Carolyn updated Mr. Goodman on where the IDNR stands on reopening consultation. Dr. Deanna Glosser, who is in charge of the consultation process for IDNR, informed Carolyn that in light of the fact that a District Heritage Biologist recently discovered a Cooper's hawk nesting near the property, IDNR has decided to reopen consultation. The property to be developed provides a foraging area for the Cooper's hawk. Dr. Glosser will also be looking at the hydrology issues brought up by Steve Apfelbaum last summer during his analysis of the property. There is some question, however, as to the impacts to the bird since it is not nesting on the site, it is just using the area as a feeding ground. Dr. Glosser conveyed to Carolyn that IDNR sent a letter yesterday to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County urging them to approve the $3 million for acquisition to go with the $3 million raised by the referendum, for a total of $6 million to acquire the property.
Chairman Donnelley thanked Mr. Goodman for making his presentation.
151-9) Cook County -- Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Fran Harty presented a report for preliminary approval for dedication of Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve. IDNR proposes to dedicate the 12-acre Old Plank Road Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Old Plank Road Prairie is a railroad prairie that was included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) for its high natural quality mesic prairie. IDNR plans to protect the prairie while developing the right-of-way into a biking and hiking trail.
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Pierce and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for dedication of Old Plank Road Prairie as a nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-10) Jackson County -- Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie, Dedication
Judy Faulkner gave a slide presentation as she presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve contains 4.14 acres of dry-mesic prairie near DeSoto in Jackson County, Illinois. The proposed nature preserve is part of the DeSoto Railroad Prairie INAI site, containing dry-mesic, mesic and wet-mesic prairie, which is adjacent to the Illinois Central Railroad and is approximately one mile in length. The land was recently purchased for preservation purposes by Judy Faulkner, her son David, Ed and Eunice Franke (Judy's parents), Rich and Charlon Franke and Don and Kathy Franke (Judy's two brothers and sisters-in-law). Ed and Eunice have given their children and grandchildren a legacy and a sincere interest in and deep respect for nature. The dedication is the family's way of passing that legacy on to its future generations. The prairie is one of only two remaining high quality prairies in the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and is highly recommended for dedication.
Judy and her family were thanked by Jack White on behalf of himself and many others who had viewed and studied the prairie in classes taken at SIU-C. Chairman Donnelley also thanked Judy and her family on behalf of the whole Commission.
It was moved by Pierce, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for dedication of the Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie in Jackson County, as a nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-11) Madison County -- Addition of Toadwood Scrubs as Buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication
Judy Faulkner presented a proposal for reiteration of preliminary approval for dedication of Toadwood Scrubs as an addition of buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve. The addition contains approximately five acres, primarily consisting of wet-mesic floodplain forest, near Cahokia Creek in Madison County, Illinois. Toadwood Scrubs belongs to John and Kay Kendall who reside just east of the proposed addition. The Kendall property lies adjacent to Bohm Woods, an INAI site containing two nature preserves. Although Toadwood Scrubs is not a part of the Bohm Woods INAI site, it is ecologically and hydrologically connected to Bohm Woods, and would provide an important buffer for the existing nature preserve. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that the proposed Toadwood Scrubs be dedicated as an addition of buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve.
Toadwood Scrubs was given preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve at the 149th Meeting (Resolution 1290). Due to the fact that two and one-half acres is not of nature preserve quality, it is recommended that all five acres be dedicated as buffer.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Schmitt and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants reiteration of preliminary approval for dedication of Toadwood Scrubs as an addition of buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-12) Will County -- Goodenow Grove, Dedication
Dave Mauger of the Forest Preserve District of Will County presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of portions of Goodenow Grove and Plum Grove Forest Preserves as the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve will consist of approximately 282.59 acres as nature preserve and 258.63 acres as nature preserve buffer and will encompass much of the INAI site identified as Goodenow Grove (INAI #452). Within the proposed nature preserve, 360 native plant species, 131 species of birds, and 46 species of herptofauna have been recorded from 12 natural plant communities. Of that impressive list of native flora and fauna, nine state-listed endangered or threatened species have been documented. Those species include the spotted coral root orchid (Corallorhiza maculata), ear-leafed foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata), Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii), sharp-shinned hawk (A. striatus), black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), brown creeper (Certhia familiaris), veery (Catharus fuscescens), eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus), and Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandi).
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for dedication of Goodenow Grove in Will County, as a nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-13) Will County -- Addition to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal for reiteration of preliminary approval for dedication of an addition to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve. The addition consists of 214 acres proposed for dedication as nature preserve buffer which was given preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 134th Meeting (Resolution #1110). This 214 acres is now being proposed for addition as nature preserve, and an additional 25 acres proposed for dedication as nature preserve buffer. These dedications will increase the size of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve from approximately 561.6 acres (471 acres as nature preserve and 90.6 acres as nature preserve buffer) to approximately 827.6 acres. Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve is owned by IDNR, Forest Preserve District of Will County, Village of University Park, and the Village of Park Forest.
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants reiteration of preliminary approval for dedication of additions to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-14) Lake County -- Florsheim Park, Dedication
On behalf of the Village of Lincolnshire, Steve Byers presented a proposal to dedicate the 40-acre Florsheim Park as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Florsheim Park was recently included on the INAI (#1500) because of the presence of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), the state endangered Crawford's oval sedge (Carex crawfordii), and the state threatened common yellow lake sedge (Carex rostrata) and dog violet (Viola conspersa). These species are among the nearly 250 native plant species known from four natural plant communities at Florsheim Park. Dedication of Florsheim Park as an Illinois Nature Preserve by the Village of Lincolnshire will preserve the parcel in perpetuity and therefore honor the terms of the resolution the Village adopted in accepting this property from the Florsheim family. The proposed Florsheim Park Nature Preserve was granted preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 150th Meeting (Resolution 1303).
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Pierce and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of Florsheim Park Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-15 Lee County -- Addition to Franklin Creek Nature Preserve, Dedication
John Alesandrini presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of an addition to Franklin Creek Nature Preserve. Franklin Creek Nature Preserve is 96 acres in size and is owned by IDNR. IDNR proposed to make a 93-acre addition to the nature preserve in 1987. The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication of the addition in 1987 at its 116th Meeting (Resolution 960). The proposed addition consists of two tracts of land containing mature second growth dry-mesic and mesic upland forest, a small glacial drift hill prairie, and seep springs.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ranney and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of an addition to Franklin Creek Nature Preserve in Lee County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-16 Whiteside County -- Addition of Buffer to Lyndon Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
John Alesandrini presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of an addition of buffer to Lyndon Prairie Nature Preserve. Owned by the Natural Land Institute, Lyndon Prairie Nature Preserve was given final approval for dedication in 1995 (Resolution 1275). The 30+ acres of railroad prairie nature preserve includes remnants of wet, wet-mesic, mesic and dry-mesic prairie and the Burlington Northern Railroad Prairie "inventory" site (INAI 1075). The Natural Land Institute now proposes to dedicate four additional acres of mesic and dry-mesic prairie at the northeast end of the nature preserve, immediately adjacent to existing nature preserve buffer, as an addition of nature preserve buffer. The proposed addition of nature preserve buffer was given preliminary approval at the Commission's 150th Meeting (Resolution 1305).
It was moved by Pierce, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of an addition of buffer to Lyndon Prairie Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-17) Heron Pond/Little Black Slough Nature Preserve
Erosion Control Project: Status Report
Randy Heidorn gave a status report on Heron Pond/Little Black Slough Nature Preserve Erosion Control Project. His report was brief due to the fact that the Commission and staff had just visited the area on Monday, May 6, 1996. He indicated that data collection during the last three months has been the main thrust of activities. Randy stated that good solutions should be developed with the data collected from the recent (and ongoing) flooding conditions. An emergency condition occurred at the site where six trees were undercut and about to fall over two weeks ago. There was concern that much of the bank would be taken when they did fall over, causing damage to the natural levee of the pond. Randy reported that he authorized the killing of those six trees to make sure that the trees did not leaf out and have something for the wind to catch and pull them over. Staff are continuing to monitor the conditions along that levee to make sure that the levee is kept intact.
Commissioner Schmitt asked if there was a reason the trees were not just cut off. Randy explained that when the trees are killed, they get much lighter, and easier to remove. Part of the problem is their location. It is prohibitively expensive to have someone go out over the river to cut the trees out. It would be difficult to find someone willing to bring equipment into those areas. It is also a safety concern. This was discussed and it was decided to let the trees die and hopefully start to loose some of the weight on top, and as the branches fall, the weight would be less.
Commissioner Schmitt noted that some of the trees that have fallen have large root systems. Randy said the root systems die back when the tree is killed. Ideally, it would be quicker to cut them down, but staff has chosen a less risky method of getting rid of the danger. One of the trees that fell was less damaging than anticipated.
Commissioner Fraker said that it struck him as an extremely urgent matter and he urged staff to take action even though it might be a gamble. He feels if staff continues to do nothing, it may be costly.
Jack White reported on salamanders like ones seen yesterday while attending the tour of the Lower Cache River and Heron Pond Nature Preserve. He reported that the Mole Salamander is one that was not seen which was at Bird Springs before that swamp was lost to entrenchment along the Cache River, the same process that is going on now at Heron Pond. The river's gradient used to be about a foot per mile; now it is eight feet per mile. This is causing the river to deepen and widen its channel. As it widens, the natural levees along the sides erode. It is going to continue to widen and form a new flood plain at a lower level and leave the current high and dry.
Stanley Harris, spoke of his knowledge of the Cache River and the fact that no one has done anything about it. He reported that what is going on is not natural, and shortening of the lower Cache River has increased the volume and caused the channel itself to deepen. Animal burrows extend well back from the vertical bank under the paths. When the flood water goes back, it will follow those courses. As it does so, it erodes, top and bottom. That is a serious problem. Maybe the only thing to do is move the course towards Dutchman's Creek. Mr. Harris further stated that Heron Pond will be lost just as Bird Springs Swamp was lost unless something is done.
Chairman Donnelley thanked the speakers for their concern and agreed that something must be done.
151-18) Amendment of Commission Resolution 1246, Item 10 of the 145th Minutes
Randy Heidorn presented reasons for the amendment of Commission Resolution 1246, Item 10 of the 145th Minutes. Randy stated that Resolution 1246 was written to deal with and handle the review of management within Illinois Nature Preserves. During implementation, it was discovered that there may be a problem, particularly in Part 3. The goal was to have the Commission set policy on management, approving management in general terms, especially the first few times an activity is done, and then the staff would apply that to other sites. Part 3 contains the words "contested or" which may provide for a situation where routine management could be stopped if someone were to object. Commission staff would have to wait until the next meeting to get Commission approval and this could put the landowner in a very difficult position. Landowners may have to shut down an activity even though it had previously been approved by the Commission. Randy recommended the removal of the words "contested or" from Part 3 of Resolution 1246. Staff will still have the discretion to bring items that become controversial to the Commission.
Commissioner Schmitt expressed concern that those words were added for that very reason.
Carolyn suggested that a potential problem is created because an opportunity is created to delay standard management practices. If an issue is elevated to a point that a lot of people are complaining about it, those issues are within the discretion of the Director or the Deputy Director for Stewardship to bring to the Commission. Certainly, if something becomes controversial, the Commission is going to be the deciding body on that issue.
Chairman Donnelley said the key to this could be best expressed in two words, "faith and flexibility". The Commissioners and the staff have to have a great deal of faith in each other to make all of this work in the first place. The Commissioners have to have the faith in the professionals that they are doing the right thing. INPC staff also have to have faith that Commissioners are doing the right thing, approving the right thing. We have to give the staff maximum flexibility to make their jobs possible. Without that flexibility we are just saying, "Why have a staff if we are going to make the decisions anyway." For that reason, Chairman Donnelley feels taking the words "contested or" out of Part 3 of Resolution 1246 will be better and much more effective.
Commissioner Schmitt asked what problems this has caused this year.
Randy responded that there has been only one potential problem where there was a proposal for management that was routine brush cutting. The situation would have been brought to the Commission's attention anyway because of the concern of the constituents in the area. This is an attempt to be proactive. Staff saw, as a result of that situation, a real dangerous loophole for someone who does not like a specific management practice.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ranney and carried that Resolution 1246 be amended removing the words "contested or" from Resolution 1246 as recommended by staff and presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 151st meeting.
151-19 Approval of INPC Organizational Chart
Carolyn presented the INPC Organizational Chart which reflects the current and new permanent and part-time staff of the Commission as well as the new Commissioners. Also included is a revised INPC Map which shows the new areas for the Natural Areas Preservation Specialists (NAPS) which will be effective when they are hired. Compared with the current INPC Map, the areas for each NAPS will be reduced considerably, especially in central and southern Illinois. Carolyn noted that each area will now be assigned a number instead of a geographical location of the state. With the increase in offices, INPC can no longer refer to areas by their geographical location, this is why area numbers have been assigned. Carolyn asked the Commission to pass a Resolution authorizing this new INPC Organizational Chart as well as the INPC Map for the new areas in the state.
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval of the new INPC Organizational Chart and INPC Map which identifies the counties each NAPS is responsible for, as described under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-20 Other Business
Randy described a request by the Superintendent of High School District 155 in Crystal Lake, Illinois for the Commission to approve the installation of a sewer pipe line through Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve buffer. Randy stated that a forced sewer main will be used to service a new high school in Crystal Lake. The route that has been proposed is through Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve buffer under an existing farm road. The sewer line is a plastic tube about 5" diameter. Other options were not feasible. Carolyn recommended that rather than allowing the school an interest in the property, INPC staff should authorize them to use the property which is allowed under the Rules for Management of Illinois Nature Preserves. It is a very small area, approximately 200 feet of old roadway, that will be used under an old road bed.
Commissioner Adelmann asked if staff would be present while work is being done, as he recalls problems with trucks running over species, etc. Carolyn agreed that a staff member should be present. Commissioner Adelmann was assured that there were no endangered species there.
Commissioner Fraker clarified that the school district should not be granted an interest in the property, but merely a use.
It was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the installation of a five-inch pipe along the old road bed in Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve buffer for use by Crystal Lake schools as a forced main, as described and presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 151st Meeting.
151-21 AdjournmentIt was moved by Schmitt, seconded by Ranney and unanimously approved to adjourn the meeting at 12:50 p.m.