166-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:10 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Fraker, the meeting began.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Dianne Burton, Jonathan Ellis, Guy Fraker, Joyce O'Keefe, John Schwegman, and Michael Schneiderman.
Members absent: Lorin Nevling and Victoria Ranney.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Loretta Arient, Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Jennifer Aherin, Debbie Bruce, Kirby Cottrell, Bob Gottfried, Tim Hickmann, and Jim Riemer, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Patti Malmborg, Bill McClain, Mark Phipps, Brian Reilly, Todd Strole, and John Wilker, Division of Natural Heritage, IDNR; Jim Herkert and Sue Lauzon, Endangered Species Protection Board; Carl Becker, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), IDNR; John Arient, Land Management and Education, IDNR; Ron Hallberg and Mark Yergler, Grant Administration, IDNR; Susan Dees, Craig Mitckes, George Rose, and Barb Traeger, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; D. Paul and Anna Miller, representing Miller's Rocky Branch Land and Water Reserve; Jeff Padgett, representing Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve; Don and Trish Roderick, representing Roderick Prairie Nature Preserve; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve; John Sommerhof, The Nature Institute; Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board and former INPC Chair; Henry Eilers, and Doris Westfall.
Chair Fraker stated that the Governor has reappointed three of the Commissioners, Joyce O'Keefe, Lorin Nevling, and Dianne Burton. There are also two new appointments to the Commission, John Schwegman and Jill Allread. Don Pierce is a retiring Commission member.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize the contributions of Don Pierce during his tenure as a Commissioner from 1994 to 2000. His accomplishments will be an ongoing tribute to the Commission for years to come. Don served with distinction as Secretary of the Commission from 1995 to 2000 and will be remembered for his fair sense of direction and problem solving abilities. His years of service with the Commission will be warmly remembered and his continuing commitment to and advocacy for the Commission's programs will always be greatly appreciated.
166-2) Adoption of Agenda
Carolyn Grosboll stated that Item 8 will be deferred due to an error in the legal description.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the Agenda be adopted as amended.
166-3) Approval of Minutes of 165th Meeting, October 26, 1999
Carolyn Grosboll stated that under Item 1, second paragraph, it should have read INPC Secretary Jonathan Ellis rather than INPC Secretary Don Pierce.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Burton and carried that the Minutes of the 165th INPC Meeting, October 26, 1999, be approved as amended.
Chair Fraker reported that legal protection was approved by the Commission for six tracts of land totaling 730 acres at the Commission's 165th Meeting which was held at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site on October 26, 1999. Three of these six areas are owned by private individuals, and a fourth tract is owned by a not-for-profit group. The total acreage of these four tracts is 265 acres. The value of that land is approximately $400,000. This reflects the hard work of the Commission's field staff. An additional 464 acres of land owned by state or local units of government were also protected at the 165th Meeting. The total value of the 730 acres is approximately $1 million.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that she would like to have figures added to this report in the future to reflect the total number of acres protected and the total number of nature preserves.
166-4) Next Meeting Schedule
2 May - Rotary Building, Crystal Lake Park District, Crystal Lake
1 August - Lexington Community Center, Lexington
31 October - Pere Marquette State Park Lodge, Grafton
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the May 2nd Meeting was moved to Crystal Lake to allow for a tour of Lake in the Hills Fen which was requested at the 165th Commission Meeting.
166-5) INPC Staff Report
Don McFall stated that two new Natural Heritage Landmarks were enrolled since the 165th INPC Meeting. Debbie Newman in southwestern Illinois negotiated Potato Hill Natural Heritage Landmark (NHL) in Monroe County. This is a 5-acre loess hill prairie and limestone bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, owned by Robert and Victor Korves of Waterloo. Bob Edgin in southeastern Illinois negotiated Shellbark Bottoms NHL in Lawrence County. This is a 205-acre site along the Embarras River, which includes extensive bottomland forest and protects a population of the copperbelly watersnake, a species considered for listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This site is owned by W C Siddens of Lawrenceville. There are now 126 Natural Heritage Landmarks in 56 counties covering over 5,600 acres.
Due to the dry weather this fall, conditions were ideal for prescribed burning of prairies, wetlands, and wooded natural areas. Staff lead or assisted with numerous fall prescribed burns.
Debbie Newman and Tom Lerczak represented the Commission on C-2000 planning efforts. Angella Moorehouse, Debbie Newman, Steve Byers and Mary Kay Solecki attended the 61st Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference which was held December 5-8 in Chicago. Of particular interest were sessions on river protection and stewardship topics, including restoration of rivers by removal of dams.
Judy Faulkner Dempsey has continued to work with the U.S. Forest Service on the issue of protection and stewardship of natural areas in the Shawnee National Forest. She represented the Commission at a Trails Master Plan meeting and at the IDNR's Task Force meeting concerning updating and revising the Shawnee National Forest Management Plan.
The staff is also involved in the review of a proposed rule on how the INAI is updated and maintained. The INAI is a database that is used for much of the Commission field staff plan of work because it defines important areas. The staff will be reviewing and providing the Commission's comments on those administrative rules.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if there was reason to believe there will be significant additions to the INAI.
Don stated that, yes, additions are made to the INAI. Specifically, endangered species locations are still found. Also, the original inventory was used to locate undisturbed examples of natural community types. Now, with the passing years, there may be no undisturbed examples of certain community types in existence. We are now filling in the Inventory by locating Grade C examples of community types where no Grade A or Grade B example exists.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked where the criteria came from.
Don stated that the INAI was established in 1976. Jack White lead the Inventory team and established criteria to assess natural character and to gage levels of disturbance.
Don stated that the biologists' understanding of disturbance and presettlement vegetation is more sophisticated now, and there is more of a recognition of the human influence on the landscape and the effect of fire.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that almost all decisions the Commission makes are based on this database and it helps the Commission if there are more lands listed on the INAI to dedicate. He asked how much scrutiny is given this new criteria.
Don stated the administrative rules are broader that just the mechanics. Staff will be looking at the definitions of natural areas, and the grading of natural areas disturbance. Mary Kay Solecki is very knowledgeable about these areas and has provided valuable suggestions. Don stated that this is an opportunity to expand our recognition of natural areas.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that it is significant when an informal process is made into IDNR rules, and he requested more detail on the INAI at the next Commission meeting.
Don stated that in 1999, IDNR granted oversight authority to the INPC over the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF). The three components to the NAAF are the land acquisition component, stewardship of natural areas, and the preservation component. At the August, 1999 meeting, the Commission recommended to Director Manning a land acquisition program for fiscal year 2000. In August the Commission approved acquisition by the Department of eight natural areas. They were Redwing Slough in Lake County, Black Crown Marsh in McHenry County, Volo Bog in McHenry County, Wolf Road Prairie in Cook County, Cache River State Natural Area in Johnson and Pulaski counties, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Jasper County, Sand Ridge Mud Turtle Site in Mason County, and Rockton Bog in Winnebago County. All of these areas are on the INAI. IDNR purchased 80 acres of Black Crown Marsh on January 20, 2000. Two of the eight sites have been dropped. This is a willing seller program, and it requires that there is an agreement on the price. Wolf Road Prairie addition in Cook County and the Rockton Bog addition in Winnebago County have been dropped from the program.
Two areas are close to acquisition. The 72 acres at Volo Bog and two additions to Prairie Ridge State Natural Area have been optioned.
Recognizing that during the year there would be additions and deletions to the natural area acquisition list, the Commission granted authority to Carolyn Grosboll to approve additions and deletions if they were on the INAI or buffered an INAI site. One area that was added to the list since August of 1999 was an addition to Sandy Ford Land and Water Reserve in LaSalle County. The process that was set up with the IDNR is working very well.
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission regarding stewardship items. Randy stated that this is the middle of the permit season. One hundred forty-eight permits have been issued since the beginning of this permit year for work at 101 sites. Permits are issued for research activities that are being conducted at those sites.
We have also been busy preparing for the annual reports. Annual report requests have gone out to the preserves, and we have received approximately 15 responses to date.
Randy also updated the Commission on deer management that has been occurring on nature preserves. One of the older programs that we have been working on with IDNR is Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve. We just completed the third year of using firearm and archery hunting to control the herd there, and some small reduction of grazing impacts have been noticed. Last fall, two new programs similar to Goose Lake Prairie were implemented at George Fell Nature Preserve in Castle Rock State Park, and at Beall Woods Nature Preserve. At Castle Rock, in addition to firearm and archery hunting, black powder rifle hunting was used. We are also continuing the deer management efforts in Lake County. Ryerson Woods, Lloyd's Woods, and MacArthur Woods Nature Preserves have had long standing programs which date back to the early 1990's. Another proposed deer management program is adjacent to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve in Lincolnshire. Our field staff have sent a letter of support for this proposed deer management action.
Randy stated that there is an environmental clean up at a factory near Wingate Prairie and Sterne's Fen Nature Preserves in McHenry County where there has been a release of toxic organic materials. The factory is participating in a voluntary cleanup program sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). The cleanup was brought to the Commission's attention when a consultant contacted us for a permit to drill a monitoring well within Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve to determine exactly whether or not a plume of the toxic material was heading into the preserve. At this point, we really do not have much other information. The biggest concern is that we have not really been brought into the discussions regarding this cleanup. We have not been formally notified by the IEPA. We have been working through IDNR to establish dialogue with IEPA.
A year ago, the Commission approved management at Baber Woods Nature Preserve for maple tree removal. Originally that project was designed to have a contractor come in, take the logs, and then sell them. Unfortunately, no such contractor was found. The contractor is now cutting the maples and removing them from the site, but not selling or buying them. Mary Kay Solecki has been coordinating that project.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that she found it distressing that IEPA did not communicate directly with the Commission regarding the Wingate Prairie situation. She wanted to know if the Commission should go on record with this. She felt there should be direct communication about the issue and about the process. She wanted to know what the appropriate way would be to get their attention.
Chair Fraker stated that he would not want a resolution that would tie staff's hands.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that in this instance, she would like to move that INPC staff contact the IEPA project manager of this particular project on behalf of the Commission to express our position and interest in working with them directly.
Kim Roman stated that this project should go through the IDNR, Endangered Species Consultation Program.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that in her opinion, there should be a dialogue with IEPA rather soon. She felt that we should get involved now to protect the preserve land.
Randy stated that there has long been a communication problem between IDNR and IEPA . Since the lack of communication now involves a preserve, it is time to move this issue along.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked why it did not occur to someone at IEPA earlier in the process to contact the INPC, and did they know there was a State interest in the adjacent land.
Randy Heidorn stated that there has been ongoing discussions between IDNR and IEPA in general involving coordination. Currently there is not a means in place to screen these kinds of projects to determine if they are near sensitive resources.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated this is a problem that the Commission cannot solve.
Randy stated that the Commission can bring this specific instance to the attention of IEPA.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that the motion is to get some attention to this particular issue, not the problems between IDNR and IEPA.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The INPC staff should contact the IEPA project manager of this particular project located adjacent to Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve on behalf of the Commission to express the Commission's position and interest in working with IEPA directly.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the INPC has three new employees. On January 1, 2000, Kim Roman was hired as the Area 3 Natural Areas Preservation Specialist. This position was previously held by Brian Reilly. Prior to joining the Commission, Kim worked for the IDNR. Most recently, Kim handled the local government consultations for all counties in the state, except Lake and McHenry. This experience will help her in her new position with the Commission. Her office will be located at Silver Springs State Park near Yorkville.
Kelly Neal began on January 16, 2000, as the Commission's Stewardship Project Manager. This position was previously held by Barbara Ver Steeg. Prior to joining the Commission, Kelly worked as Director of the Macon County Solid Waste Management Department in Decatur, Illinois. Kelly has been involved as a volunteer with The Nature Conservancy's Volunteer Stewardship Network. Kelly will be located in the Springfield Office.
John Nelson will begin working for the Commission on March 1, 2000, as the Commission's Northeastern Illinois Threats Coordinator. John replaces Patti Malmborg. John worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey for the past nine years at one of their field stations along the Mississippi River near Alton. John has written several articles and is recognized as a leader in presettlement mapping of vegetation along the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area.
Carolyn stated that at the 165th INPC Meeting, the Commission passed a resolution authorizing a multi-purpose trail spur through MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve in Lake County. MacArthur Woods is owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD). The dedication document provided for a trail corridor where this trail spur will be located. The Commission's resolution contained certain conditions and was subject to the full LCFPD Board's approval. Carolyn advised the Commission that the full LCFPD Board did approve the resolution and conditions at their meeting on November 9, 1999.
Carolyn also reported that since the 165th INPC Meeting, Material Service Corportion (MSC) has stopped mining adjacent to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. MSC's agreement to stop mining came about after a meeting between IDNR Deputy Director Jim Garner and IDNR's Tom Flattery and officials at MSC. Deputy Director Jim Garner and Tom Flattery were able to express the Department's and the Commission's concerns about the potential impact MSC's mining was having on the Fen. During the meeting, the possibility of IDNR acquiring the land being mined was discussed. At this time, appraisals are being done on the property. Appraisals on this type of property are extremely difficult and only mineral economists are qualified to do the appraisals. The appraisals should be completed soon. IDNR has continued to stay in contact with officials at MSC throughout the appraisal process. The INPC appreciates the ongoing support shown by Deputy Director Jim Garner and Tom Flattery concerning this issue.
Carolyn advised the Commission that Bruce Slover has left the Shawnee National Forest as Acting Forest Supervisor. Mr. Slover issued the order last fall to close the remaining natural areas on the Shawnee. Mr. Slover had applied for the Supervisor position, but the decision was made to select Forrest "Skip" Starkey. Mr. Starkey was named the new Forest Supervisor. Mr. Starkey had been the Acting Forest Supervisor prior to Bruce Slover's arrival. Mr. Starkey began as Supervisor on January 18, 2000. The Commission is looking forward to a good working relationship with Supervisor Starkey.
Carolyn stated that it was with mixed feelings that she inform the Commission that Carl Becker has left the Division of Natural Heritage and has accepted a position, effective January 1, 2000, as the Assistant Office Director to IDNR's Office of Realty and Environmental Planning. Carl will be working with Office Director Tom Flattery and will, among other duties, continue his efforts with the Open Land Trust (OLT) program and the federal Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) legislation. Kirby Cottrell has named Todd Strole as the Acting Chief of the Division of Natural Heritage. Todd is the current Region IV Natural Heritage Regional Administrator and prior to that had been a district heritage biologist for the central part of Illinois. We are sad to see Carl leave, but at the same time we are happy for him and are pleased that he will continue his efforts with OLT and CARA.
Carolyn Grosboll presented Carl with a plaque which contained the following resolution:
"This token of appreciation is given to Carl Becker in recognition of his exemplary and dedicated service to the preservation of Illinois' natural heritage as Chief of IDNR's Division of Natural Heritage from 1986-1999 by Resolution of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission."
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Burton, and carried.
Carl thanked the Commission for the plaque.
Chair Fraker congratulated Todd Strole on his appointment as Acting Chief of the Division of Natural Heritage.
166-6) IDNR Staff Report
Todd Strole updated the Commission on personnel changes. Todd reported that Jim Riemer has been named as the Chief of Operations for the Office of Resource Conservation, replacing Jim Garner. Shannon Horn, district heritage biologist in east central Illinois, has resigned to work for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Bob Gottfried has been hired through the Natural History Survey as a data manager for the Natural Heritage Database program. He will be responsible for getting new preserves and land and water reserves into the IDNR's database.
IDNR has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Forest Service for the purpose of assisting them in the upcoming Shawnee National Forest Plan revision process. Dave Cooper has been named the lead IDNR person for this purpose.
IDNR acquired seven natural area tracts totaling 560 acres since the 165th INPC Meeting. These areas include: a 155-acre addition to Sand Ridge State Forest Illinois Mud Turtle Site. This site will be restored to sand prairie and wetlands to provide habitat for the Illinois mud turtle and Illinois chorus frog, two listed species restricted to the sand areas of Illinois. The acquisition is less than a mile from Sparks Pond Land and Water Reserve. Rogers Elementary School, near Peoria, conducted a fund raiser to help the IDNR buy this land. Their contribution was accepted by the Illinois Conservation Foundation and used to buy the land. A 5-acre addition to Franklin Creek State Natural Area prevents incompatible development on the border of Franklin Creek Nature Preserve and expands the IDNR ownership at the site to 643 acres. TNC assisted with this acquisition. A 23-acre addition to Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake and McHenry counties will protect the uplands draining into Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve. The IDNR now owns 923 acres at the site. A 13-acre addition to Blake's Landing in LaSalle County was donated to the IDNR by the Conservation Foundation of DuPage County. This tract is adjacent to the Lower Fox River- Blake's Landing Nature Preserve. It protects the bluffs along the Fox River and a population of an endangered plant. A 247-acre addition to Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Marion County and a 40-acre addition to Prairie Ridge in Jasper County will be restored to grassland vegetation to provide habitat for several endangered or rare species of grassland dependent birds, including the prairie chicken. The IDNR now owns 487 acres in the Marion County unit and 998 acres in the Jasper County unit of Prairie Ridge State Natural Area. An 80-acre addition to Black Crown Marsh State Natural Area in McHenry County provides habitat for seven endangered or threatened species of wetland dependent birds. The IDNR now owns 161 acres at the site. Illinois Audubon Society and CorLands assisted with this acquisition.
Todd stated that this year's Natural Areas Association Conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. It will be hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Todd stated that he serves on the planning committee for the Council. The Conference will be held October 16-20, 2000.
Carl Becker updated the Commission on CARA. A consensus was reached between two House Bills, and they were incorported into House Resolution (H.R.) 701. H.R. 701 passed the House Resources Committee on a 37-12 vote late last year.
The Commissioners were given a handout listing seven titles showing the national allocation of funds under CARA, as well as what can be expected for allocations for the State of Illinois for each title. The handout also shows the opportunities of how the funds could potentially be used. A total of approximately $56 million annually would be coming to the State of Illinois under this legislation. This money would help the efforts to protect open space and habitat in the State of Illinois. Governor Ryan is solidly behind this particular legislation, and he has signed on to a resolution of the National Association of Governors. There are approximately 100 governors throughout the country that are in support of this legislation. There will be a rally held in Washington, D.C. on February 29, March 1, and March 2, 2000, to bring forward the support of the nation to pass this legislation. We are hoping for a vote in April. As we move closer to the November election, the chances of this legislation passing become less. We need to get as many Congressmen from the State of Illinois as possible to co-sponsor this legislation. Currently six Congressmen out of 20 have signed on as co-sponsors. It would be beneficial for Speaker Hastert to become a co-sponsor.
Tim Hickmann, Office of Resource Conservation, introduced a new member of his staff, Jennifer Aherin, Special Funds Coordinator. Jennifer is responsible for coordinating the special funds within the Office of Resource Conservation (ORC).
Carolyn Grosboll introduced Ron Hallberg from IDNR's Grant Administration Division. Ron will be talking about the OLT grant program.
Ron Hallberg thanked the Commissioners for the opportunity to speak to them and give a brief overview of the current status of the OLT grant program. In the last session of the General Assembly, a land acquisition program, entitled the OLT, was passed and was tentatively scheduled as a four year, $40 million a year land acquisition program. This program will effect both Department acquisition, and acquisitions by local Illinois governments through a grant program administered by IDNR. After the Governor signed the legislation, the IDNR Director called together an advisory group of constituents from around the state to make recommendations on how the program should be administered. The grant program will provide at least $10 million a year for local governments. The grant instructions for the program have been issued. The first round of grant applications are due April 3. This is for any local government that has statutory authority to acquire land for open space purposes. This ranges from forest preserve districts to local villages. Per the statute, there is a $2 million limit per grant on the state's 50% share. We are going to jointly work with the Division of Natural Heritage to help evaluate applicants for selection. This is a willing seller only grant program. We hope to have the first grants ready for announcement around July 1, 2000. In addition to the willing seller issue, the statute requires the local government to file an easement with the deed. A copy of the easement is in the manual. Mark Yergler, a member of IDNR's grant staff, has talked with some of the forest preserve districts, and the forest preserve districts are concerned about the wording of the easement. He will be working with IDNR's legal staff to address some of these concerns.
Ron Hallberg stated that another issue that has been raised by the Department in particular is the range of permitted activities. The list in the manual is what has tentatively been shown as permitted activity on land acquired with assistance.
Carolyn asked Ron if the conservation easement that is used in the Commission's land and water reserve program could be used for purposes of the OLT program and would this protection program qualify under the OLT's easement requirement.
Ron asked Carolyn to send Mark a copy of the registration agreement and governing rules. Stan Yonkauski, of IDNR's legal staff, has drawn up an easement based on conservation easements that were approved by the Department.
Carolyn stated that she will get a copy of the land and water reserve agreement to Mark Yergler.
Commissioner Schwegman asked Ron if an archeological area would qualify under the OLT Program.
Ron stated that it would not qualify unless the archeological area has natural features that would also qualify.
Carolyn Grosboll noted for the record that the Land and Water Reserve Registration Agreements have all been signed by the landowners as required by administrative rule.
166-7) Clark Co. - Miller's Rocky Branch Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal for the registration of Miller's Rocky Branch as a land and water reserve. Miller's Rock Branch is located in east central Illinois near the town of Marshall and is recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1417) for its high quality mesic upland forest and sandstone cliff community representative of the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. D. Paul and Anna B. Miller propose to register a 107-acre tract that contains dry mesic and mesic upland forest, an outstanding sandstone cliff community, and several small areas of former cropland that are being reforested. The West Fork of Big Creek flows through the proposed reserve and biologically links it to Rocky Branch Nature Preserve which lies 1 mile downstream of Miller's Rocky Branch. Mr. and Mrs. Miller propose to register this area as Miller's Rocky Branch for a period of 10 years. The registration will automatically renew at the end of each 10-year period unless the owners, by unanimous consent, send a written notice of termination at least 6 months prior to the end of any 10-year period. The Millers have protected Miller's Rocky Branch as a Natural Heritage Landmark since 1997. The Millers maintain a trail system in a portion of the proposed land and water reserve. As part of the registration proposal, the Millers would like to maintain the ability to do timber harvesting in the dry mesic upland forest area in the future. Timber harvesting has been done in this area two times in the past ten years. The management plan for this registration proposal calls for a timber management plan to be done within ten years. The Millers do not anticipate doing a timber
harvest in the near future. In the southeast corner there is a gas pipeline easement that goes with the property. It is a 30-foot wide easement to maintain an open corridor. The Millers want to allow hunting and trapping of all the game species allowed under Illinois law on the property. The hunting and trapping of this property will not be allowed by the general public.
Commissioner Schwegman asked how abundant the beach trees were on this property.
Mary Kay stated that the beach trees are occasional in the mesic forest area.
Chair Fraker asked if the request being made is for unlimited timber harvesting.
Mary Kay stated that it is not a request for unlimited timber harvesting. It is in accordance with the rules for the register of land and water reserves. The rules state that a limited timber harvest is allowed under timber management plan approved by a District Forester. The INPC also has to approve the timber management plan.
Commissioner Allread asked when that plan would be formulated.
Mary Kay stated that since the timber was harvested in the last 5-10 years, she did not see a need to do another timber management plan at this time. At the time of the last timber harvest, they also did some timber stand improvement which consisted of killing small, undesirable trees. It was her recommendation to proceed with the formulation of the timber management plan in approximately ten years.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked Mary Kay why there was a ten year stipulation on this proposed land and water registration.
Mary Kay stated that in this particular instance it was to allow Mr. and Mrs. Miller to become comfortable with the program. They had the land in the NHL program for a little over two years. Their children are also comfortable with this arrangement.
Commissioner O'Keefe asked if the Millers would receive any tax benefits in this situation.
Mary Kay stated that there would be no tax benefit with regard to the property taxes.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that the Commission is very grateful to the Millers' for their willingness to participate in this program to protect their land.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Miller's Rocky Branch in Clark County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 7 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
Chair Fraker thanked Mr. and Mrs. Miller for their generosity.
Mr. Miller stated that he and his wife hope that this will become a permanent designation once they become more comfortable with the arrangement.
166-8) Wayne Co. - Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration
The registration proposal for Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve was deferred.
166-9) Macoupin Co. - Roderick Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Roderick Prairie as a nature preserve. Roderick Prairie is located near Carlinville and is owned by Don and Trish Roderick. The proposed nature preserve is an approximately 6-acre tract consisting of Roderick Barrens Natural Area (INAI #1561) plus adjacent woodlands. Roderick Barrens contains healthy populations of the state-endangered large ground plum (Astragalus crassicarpus var. trichocalyx) and state-threatened prairie trout lily (Erythronium mesochoreum). This site also contains an extremely high diversity of prairie plants, including many conservative species. In addition, the intact barrens community present at the site, which was once very common in Illinois, is now very rare. The barrens community is an example of the presettlement barrens of the Carlinville Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division. A high proportion of gravelly material in the soil adds to the uniqueness of this site. This site was brought to the attention of Henry Eilers by the Mary Hunter Austin Society. Mr. Eilers then notified the staff of IDNR and INPC. Tom acknowledged Henry Eilers for his assistance. The INPC staff recommends preliminary approval of Roderick Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Roderick Prairie in Macoupin County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
Chair Fraker thanked Mr. and Mrs. Don Roderick, and invited them to attend the next INPC meeting for the final dedication of this property.
166-10) McHenry Co. -- Gene and Katharine Barnes Addition to Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Gene and Katharine Barnes Addition to Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve. Mrs. Katharine Barnes wishes to formally preserve 45 acres of adjacent uplands as the Gene & Katharine Barnes Addition to Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve. Of that total, 12.5 acres are proposed for dedication as nature preserve, while the balance (32.5 acres) is proposed for dedication as nature preserve buffer. Elizabeth Lake, located near Richmond, is a 172.6-acre Nature Preserve that is owned by the McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD). Elizabeth Lake was included on the INAI (#1014) in recognition of extant high-quality wetland communities (pond, marsh, graminoid bog, graminoid fen, and calcareous floating mat). Nine state-listed plant species have been documented from the site. The MCCD Natural Areas Inventory published in 1998 recognizes extant high-quality sedge meadow wetland communities and reveals the presence of 10 state-listed animal species. The INPC conferred final approval for dedication of 115.8 acres of Elizabeth Lake at its 102nd Meeting in January, 1985 (Resolution #829). In May, 1988, at its 118th Meeting, the Commission conferred final approval for a 56.8-acre addition (Resolution #970). On behalf of Mrs. Katharine Barnes, the staff of the INPC recommends the dedication of this 45-acre tract known as the Gene and Katharine Barnes Addition to Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve. Dedication of this addition will protect mature oak woodlands and important groundwater recharge zones for the groundwater dependent wetlands surviving in Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve and increase the size of the preserve from172.6 to approximately 218 acres.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Burton and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Gene and Katharine Barnes Addition to Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve in McHenry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
A lunch break was taken from 12:00 - 12:15.
166-11) McHenry Co. - Lake Defiance Addition to Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve, Dedication
On behalf of the IDNR, John Arient presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Lake Defiance Addition to Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve. This 62.4-acre addition lies within the boundaries of the INAI for the Kettle Moraine Natural Area (#1012) which was recognized for extant high-quality calcareous floating mat, graminoid fen, low shrub bog, marsh, pond, and sedge meadow communities representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. In addition, the INAI recorded 22 state-listed endangered or threatened species. Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve and the proposed addition are located within Moraine Hills State Park near the town of McHenry. Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve was granted preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 50th Meeting in January, 1974 (Resolution #321) and final approval was granted at the Commission's 53rd Meeting in October, 1974 (Resolution #350). Preservation of this proposed addition is consistent with good preserve design recommendations, will allow the IDNR to manage the wetland basin as one unit, preserve wetland resources considered of state-wide ecological significance, and will protect the wetland from incompatible land uses. The INPC and the IDNR recommend dedication of the 62.4-acre Lake Defiance Addition to Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve.
John thanked Steve Byers for his assistance over the years.
Chair Fraker thanked John for his presentation.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he has visited the area, and it is a very good natural area.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted.
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Lake Defiance Addition to Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve in McHenry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
Commissioner Schneiderman noted that during John's presentation, a slide was shown of deer at the site. He questioned why the presence of deer is given to the Commissioners as one reason why the site is suitable for dedication, and yet in other instances we are told that we are reducing the deer herd in order to protect the natural areas.
Randy Heidorn stated that in some parts of the park deer management is used, such as hunting, to control the deer. Deer are also important for education and hundreds of school children visit Moraine Hills State Park each year. Deer are part of the system. We never want to implement deer management that will remove deer from the system as a whole. If there is a high enough concentration of deer, grazing and browsing on plants may impact the plant population. If the deer are impacting the natural feature for which the area was protected, deer removal is necessary. It is a balancing act.
166-12) Cook Co. - Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Chair Fraker stated that Sundrop Prairie is owned by TNC. He is now an employee of TNC as their Director of Land Protection. Due to a possible conflict of interest, he will not participate in the discussion or vote on this issue. Chair Fraker stated that he played no role in TNC's decision to offer this property for dedication.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Sundrop Prairie as a nature preserve. The Illinois Chapter of TNC owns approximately 80 acres of mesic and wet-mesic prairie and sedge meadow complex known as Sundrop Prairie. The prairie and sedge meadow, located in Markham, is representative of the original vegetation of the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The site received preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1249). This large prairie is one island in an archipelago of prairies known collectively as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies include Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. Although Sundrop Prairie was not identified on the original INAI, it is considered an important and integral part of the Indian Boundary Prairies. The site supports a high-quality sedge meadow with a rich assemblage of plants (over 230 native plant species). Due to its relatively large size, Sundrop Prairie attracts several grassland nesting birds and habitat restricted insects. TNC and the INPC staff recommend final approval for dedication of 80 acres of Sundrop Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve.
Steve acknowledged the efforts of the staff of TNC, particularly Chris Dennison Rogers. Chris, along with Loretta Arient of the INPC, worked very diligently to sort through each of the lots that make up the legal description to check on their status in order to bring this site to the Commission for final dedication.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried, with Chair Fraker abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
Commissioner O'Keefe thanked TNC for their work on the Indian Boundary Prairies.
166-13) Edwards Co. - Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve, Dedication
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Beadles Barrens as a nature preserve. This 5-acre natural area has been in Roger and Vivian Beadles' family since 1866. The site, located in southeastern Illinois near Albion, contains a dry-mesic barrens that was recognized by the INAI (#1547) as a Grade C best-of-its-kind community and a population of the state-threatened blazing star (Liatris scariosa var. Nieuwlandii). If approved for dedication, Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve will be the first nature preserve in Edwards County, and the first community of this type in the Mount Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division to be legally protected through perpetuity. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 165th Meeting on October 26, 1999 (Resolution #1507).
Bob Edgin stated that when he was hired by the INPC three years ago there were several counties in his area that had nothing listed on the INAI. It was difficult for him to accept that, and he made it his mission to find something in every one of his counties. He spent a lot of his spare time with a map walking railroad tracks. He spent two and one-half years doing this and found nothing. At that point he felt there was nothing to find in Edwards County. While in his office one day, a gentleman came in with a photograph that he had taken when he was out west. Bob stated that he complemented the gentleman on his photograph. The gentleman then stated that Bob should see his prairie near Albion in Edwards County. Bob was invited to see the prairie. During that visit he was able to identify over 100 plant species in the 5-acre tract. Bob did not feel this was a prairie so he asked Bill McClain and Dr. Ebinger of Eastern Illinois University to look at the property. It was determined that this property was a barren. When the land was inspected during the spring, 235 plant species were identified. Bob stated that his masters work was done on barrens of the Wabash River drainage. He never found an example after looking for five years. It is easy to overlook things eligible for the INAI. He had actually driven within 500 feet of this area on two occasions.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve in Edwards County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
Chair Fraker thanked Mr. Beadles for dedicating this land.
166-14) Monroe Co. - William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Debbie Newman presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie as a nature peserve. This is a 28-acre portion of the 429-acre Prairie du Rocher Herpetological Area INAI site (INAI # 938). The proposed nature preserve, located in southwestern Illinois, contains Grade C loess hill prairie, Grade A limestone cliff community, and Grade C dry and dry-mesic upland forest representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. This matrix of habitats is home to a variety of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, many of which are Ozark plateau or western plains species and have restricted ranges in Illinois. These include the Great Plains rat snake (Elaphe guttata emoryi), and the flathead snake (Tantilla gracilis), both Illinois threatened species; the coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum flagellum), a state-endangered species and the rare "Plains" scorpion (Centruroides vittatus). Western species such as stickleaf (Mentzelia oligosperma), and Plains prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza) are present on the proposed nature preserve. The state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) has also been documented in the INAI site. The William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie is located approximately one-quarter of a mile southeast of the recently dedicated Brickey-Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve in Monroe County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 166th Meeting.
166-15) Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, Approval of Plan
Carolyn Grosboll stated that she recommended approval of the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan. The Chicago Wilderness region encompasses the crescent of land around southern Lake Michigan, including southeastern Wisconsin, northeastern Illinois, and northwest Indiana. The Chicago Region Biodiversity Council, which governs Chicago Wilderness, was founded in April, 1996. Currently there are 98 members of the council which include public and private organizations that have pledged to work together to protect the areas' rare communities and restore them to long-term viability. The Commission is one of the founding members of Chicago Wilderness. The efforts of Chicago Wilderness are being recognized on an international scale as a model for partnering to protect rare natural resources.
One of Chicago Wilderness' goals was to produce the region's first comprehensive Biodiversity Recovery Plan. The development of this Plan has been going on for the past three years. Steven Byers has been very active in the development of this Plan. At the end of last year, the Plan was finalized and adopted by the full Council.
The Recovery Plan identifies strategies to protect and restore the rich biological diversity in northeastern Illinois and adjacent portions of Indiana and Wisconsin. The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission adopted the Plan last December and several of the forest preserve districts in northeastern Illinois have also adopted the Plan.
The Biodiversity Recovery Plan includes 141 action recommendations for state and federal agencies, park and forest preserve districts, cities and villages, non-government organizations, and individual citizens. These recommendations call for the protection of more open space in the region as well as the management and stewardship of the areas already under protection. Carolyn recommends that the Commission formally adopt the Plan.
Commissioner Allread stated that she is familiar with Chicago Wilderness and its work. She stated that the success of an organization so massive and its ability to move so quickly and get a document so comprehensive is amazing. The plan has answered an immediate need. It took a lot of dedication and hard work to make that happen.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if any other Illinois State agency has formally adopted the Plan.
Carl Becker stated that Maggie Cole of IDNR is a member of the Chicago Wilderness steering committee, and she is working on an endorsement document for IDNR.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if any federal agencies have adopted the Plan.
Carolyn pointed out that staff of U.S. EPA took the lead on seeing the document formulated.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that John Rogner is co-chairman of the Chicago Region Biodiversity Council. He is also the Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and she suspected that in general the Plan would be adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if there was anything here that is inconsistent with what the Commission does.
Carolyn said the Plan is consistent with the Commission's work.
Steven Byers gave an example of how the Plan can make a difference. He stated that he recently met with the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Lincolnshire. They were considering a very contentious issue which involved the possible implementation of a deer control program in their Village. The first recommendation of the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan is to protect and manage natural areas and open spaces, and it includes provisions for control of species that are out of balance, whether it is too many buckthorn or too many deer. He was able to refer to the Plan to validate his comments with regard to the need to implement a deer control program. Steven felt that it made an impact upon the Mayor and Board of Trustees that this was a recommendation that was endorsed by 98 conservation organizations in northeastern Illinois. This is an example of how the document will be a useful tool for local units of government that face difficult conservation related decisions.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked whether these entities will adopt or endorse the Plan.
It was noted that some agencies have adopted the Plan and others have endorsed it.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that in her opinion the Commission should adopt this Plan, but she could go along with an endorsement.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The INPC endorses the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan.
166-16) Lake Co. - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation
Randy Heidorn reminded the Commissioners that there is an area in the south end of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve where a road was constructed out of asbestos containing material in the 1950's. That road has subsequently grown over with native vegetation. The Commission, while wanting to maintain the public health, has always wanted to try to maintain those native communities and not make the clean up worse than the cure. We continue to be in discussions with the IEPA, the Attorney General's Office, and Johns Manville in this clean up process. The discussions seem to be going in the right direction, and we are hoping that we can have an approved plan soon. Considerable time has been spent discussing changes in superfund consent decree documents. One of the issues that has been associated with this has been the close out of the actual superfund site owned by Johns Manville that is located south of the Nature Preserve. Discussions continue on the placement of the debris from the existing buildings on their property into the disposal landfill that was created during the superfund process. Johns Manville is trying to recycle as much material as possible and taking them off site. Under Illinois Administrative Code, the INPC is required to review and certify that new landfills will not harm a nature preserve. The State of Illinois Attorney General's Office has indicated that the placement of these materials into that asbestos landfill would constitute a new landfill. About a year ago, Johns Manville was notified by the Attorney General's office that they would need to provide the Commission with information so we could make a decision on the impact to the nature preserve. We have not received that information yet.
In a very closely related item, the Waukegan Harbor Citizens Advisory Group (CAG), along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would like to dispose of dredge material that is found in Waukegan Harbor into the same landfill. They have conducted modeling and data collection, and in fact, made a presentation in December to the IEPA on this project and potential impacts to the nature preserve. The IDNR and INPC were not invited to those discussions. After repeated requests to obtain the hydrology and modeling data from the Corps of Engineers, we finally obtained this information from Susie Schreiber who is the Chair of the CAG. That information is now being reviewed by the Illinois Water Survey and Illinois State Geological Survey to determine if there will be an impact on the hydrology of the nature preserve.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that there is or will be federal money available to clean up Waukegan Harbor. Initially she was outraged by the idea of placing contaminated dredge at the edge of the nature preserve. However, she had the opportunity to visit the site, and Susie Schreiber made her aware that they planned to dredge spoil that was not contaminated based on EPA standards. This made the dredge spoil appropriate for use to fill the areas of Johns Manville that needed filling. The CAG is looking at this as a win-win situation. She feels that it is really important to support their efforts and not stand in the way and let them know the information needed to make decisions.
Randy stated that at this point both building materials and the dredge would end up in the landfill area. The one concern of the modeling (based on the preliminary information that we received) showed that ammonia nitrogen from the dredge material would cause a release of ammonia at a concentration just under the EPA standard at the edge of the nature preserve. As far as we know, nobody has looked at the combination of the disposal of the Johns Manville building materials and the dredge spoil materials. The buildings contain a lot of wood that could form additional ammonia as it decays.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated there is a certain amount of urgency because Waukegan has to get this harbor cleaned up. If this is from our perspective an acceptable solution, she thinks it is to our benefit to come to a resolution before Johns Manville leaves town. They are waiting for the powers at be to decide what they can and cannot do. They are examining options and needs. The worst thing would be for Johns Manville to leave, then nothing will be done. It would be helpful in the big picture for us to keep pushing. She is delighted to hear that we have received the information, and we are having an opportunity to review it.
166-17) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
There was no public comment.
166-18) Other Business
There was no other business.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.