168-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:15 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Fraker, the meeting began.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Dianne Burton, Jonathan Ellis, Guy Fraker, Lorin Nevling, Joyce O'Keefe, and John Schwegman.
Members absent: Jill Allread, Victoria Ranney, and Michael Schneiderman.
Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Jennifer Aherin and Bob Gottfried, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Dave Cooper, Terry Esker, Bob Gillespie, Todd Strole, and Bob Szafoni, Division of Natural Heritage, IDNR; Keith Shank, Division of Natural Resource Review and Coordination, IDNR; Nancy Williamson, C2000, IDNR; Jim Herkert, Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board; Sue Dees, Scott Marlow, and Barbara Traeger, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; Bill Davison and David Wachtel, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Kenneth Spale, Save the Prairie Society; Valerie Spale, Save the Prairie Society and INPC Consultant; Dave Monk, Educational Resources in Environmental Sciences (ERES); Henry Eilers, Shoal Creek Volunteers; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve; Jean Guarino and Victor Guarino, representing Thatcher Woods Savanna Restoration Project; Ed Martin, Rita Martin, Martha Schwegman, and Doris Westfall.
Chair Fraker stated that the Commission protected 12 tracts of land totaling 2,693 acres at the 167th INPC Meeting. Eight of the 12 tracts were privately owned, and one tract was owned by a not-for-profit conservation group. The value of these tracts was estimated to be $3,192,000. A total of 1,610 acres of private land was protected. Currently, there are 295 nature preserves located in 77 of 102 counties in Illinois, totaling approximately 39,000 acres. There are 46 land and water reserves in 33 counties, totaling approximately 19,000 acres. The Commission staff protected these properties through dedication or registration without expending public funds to acquire the property.
168-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the Agenda be adopted.
168-3) Approval of Minutes of 167th Meeting, May 2, 2000
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling and carried that the Minutes of the 167th INPC Meeting, May 2, 2000, be approved.
168-4) Next Meeting Schedule
31 October, 2000 - Pere Marquette State Park Lodge, Grafton
168-5) Election of Officers - INPC Nominating Committee Report
Commissioner Nevling stated that Commissioner Allread also served as a member of the Nominating Committee. Joyce O'Keefe was nominated to succeed Guy Fraker as Chair. Jonathan Ellis was nominated for Vice-Chair. John Schwegman was nominated for Secretary. Commissioner Nevling stated that all of these people have been contacted and agreed to serve if elected.
Chair Fraker asked for any nominations from the floor, and none were offered.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following Commissioners be elected as Officers of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission: Joyce O'Keefe as Chair, Jonathan Ellis as Vice-Chair, and John Schwegman as Secretary.
Chair Fraker congratulated the new officers. He stated that the work of the Commission is very important. The programs that were illustrated in the report regarding the protection of private land at our last meeting, as well as the protection of government-owned land, are very valuable in the arsenal of conservation tools in Illinois. The importance of those tools should not be underestimated. However, the tools are only as good as the staff that works with them. Chair Fraker stated that he has been consistently impressed with the dedication and caring of the INPC staff. The staff is more than merely applying tools. They are the conscience of IDNR on heritage issues. He felt it was a marvelous opportunity to be part of such a staff by serving on the Commission. He stated that being Chair was one of the easiest jobs that he has had because of Carolyn Grosboll and her staff. He stated that it is an honor to serve on the Commission and to serve as Chair and to be part of what this Commission does. He felt privileged to serve in this capacity. He also stated that his successor, Joyce O'Keefe, will be a very competent Chair.
Chair O'Keefe stated that she is very honored to be elected as Chair of the Commission. She commended Commissioner Fraker on his leadership as Chair of the INPC. On behalf of the INPC, Chair O'Keefe presented Commissioner Fraker with a framed poster of the "Hill Prairies of Illinois" with a plaque which reads, "This token of appreciation is presented to Guy C. Fraker in recognition of his exemplary and dedicated service to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission as its Chair from 1999-2000, presented this first day of August, 2000."
Chair O'Keefe stated that she hoped Guy would be able to continue to work with the INPC and convince TNC that he must attend all of our meetings.
168-6) Election of Advisors and Consultants
Commissioner Nevling stated that within the Commissioners' packet is a list of nominees for Commission appointments as advisors and consultants. There are three advisors that are embedded in State statute in the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act. They are the Director of the IDNR, currently Brent Manning, the Chief of the Natural History Survey, currently Dr. David Thomas, and the Director of the Illinois State Museum, currently Dr. Bruce McMillan. The Commission is proposing to add three additional advisors. They are the Chief of the Illinois State Geological Survey, Dr. William Shilts, the Chief of the Illinois State Water Survey, Dr. Derek Winstanley, and the Director of the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center, Dr. George Vander Velde. All have agreed to serve if appointed. At a previous meeting, both he and Carolyn Grosboll were asked to review the list of consultants. It was decided to increase the number of advisors without significantly increasing the number of consultants. By adding these advisors, the Commission will be able to access these units of State government to confer with scientists of the State who have the expertise to assist the Commission in numerous ways.
He stated that the Nominating Committee proposes the re-appointment of the current consultants with the addition of John Comerio, former IDNR Deputy Director, and current Director of Development for the Illinois Association of Park Districts, and John Schmitt, Executive Director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation and former Commission member. All have agreed to serve if appointed or re-appointed.
Chair O'Keefe asked for any additional nominations, and there were none.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following be elected as advisors to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission: Dr. William Shilts, Dr. George Vander Velde, and Dr. Derek Winstanley, and the following be elected as consultants to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission: Gerald Adelmann, Dr. Robert Betz, Bruce Boyd, Marilyn Campbell, John Comerio, Kenneth Fiske, Al Pyott, Dr. Kenneth Robertson, Valerie Spale, and John Schmitt.
Chair O'Keefe stated that the three elected advisors will be invaluable to the Commission, and she felt that the use of these advisors was a good strategy to use to supplement available resources.
168-7) INPC Staff Report
Carolyn Grosboll updated the Commission on Lake in the Hills Fen. The IDNR continues to negotiate with Material Service Corporation (MSC) to purchase the unmined property adjacent to the fen. These discussions seem to be going positively, and it is hoped that she will be able to announce at the INPC's 169th that there is a deal to purchase the property. It has been determined that an additional 265 feet from the mined wall needs to be acquired as a buffer.
A reorganization has occurred within ORC, which is the office within IDNR that the Commission reports through. Kirby Cottrell, Office Director, announced in May that there would be a reorganization to take effect on June 16, 2000. The reorganization coincides with the Department's decision to go to an ecosystem-based management approach. Todd Strole will talk about this in more detail during his report. In order to assist with the decision making that will be necessary for this approach to management, supervision of the IDNR/ORC field staff will be at the Regional field level, rather than through the four Divisions. Five ORC Lead Regionals will be hired in the near future to supervise the field staff. The Lead Regionals will report directly to Kirby. The Springfield-based Division chiefs and the Springfield staff will provide support to the field in their respective areas of expertise. All of the fiscal and personnel staff were reorganized into one section within ORC rather than being associated with a particular division.
The Commission staff was not directly impacted by the reorganization, however, who we report to has changed. The Commission has historically reported to the Department through the Division of Natural Heritage. With this new structure, the Commission will report directly with Kirby Cottrell, rather than the Chief of the Division of Natural Heritage. Given that the Commission has a field staff, it makes sense that we are connected directly to the Office Director rather than through the Division which no longer has a field staff component. Carolyn stated that she had the opportunity to talk with Kirby about this change and advocated that the Commission report directly to him. Kirby understands that the INPC staff ultimately work for the Commission, and that the Commission is autonomous from IDNR. She felt that this was a positive change.
At the INPC's 168th Meeting, the Commission passed a two-pronged resolution regarding Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. The resolution asked the staff to write a letter to the Village of Westchester encouraging them to consult with the IDNR regarding the proposed retirement center at Hickory Lane Estates, located adjacent to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. Carolyn stated that she wrote a letter, and shortly thereafter the Village contacted the IDNR to open consultation. The consultation is still ongoing. However, the Village, for all intents and purposes, has approved the project. The second prong to the resolution was to write a letter to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) urging the Forest Preserve District to acquire more property adjacent to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve and to offer the Commission's support. This letter was sent, but an official response had not been received from Cook County Board President Stroger. Carolyn stated that she has been in contact with Joe Nevius, Superintendent of the FPDCC, and he is very supportive and interested in seeing that Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve is protected.
One component of this issue not known at the INPC's 167th Meeting, was the General Assembly had authorized, through legislation, the Village of Westchester to Quick Take the Hickory Lane Property for school purposes. The legislation provided that the Village was then to work out a deal with the School District so the property could be used for the magnet school. Valerie Spale found out about the legislation and did a great job of garnering support to have that part of the bill vetoed. The Governor amendatorily vetoed the bill on July 7th, but he did not take that portion out. He took out a portion that dealt with some property in Winnebago County. Valerie and Save the Prairie Society have talked with the local legislators and have been given assurance that the Village of Weschester's Quick Take authority will ultimately be taken out of the bill.
Carolyn stated that in June she met with the school board attorney, and she learned about the school plans for the Hickory Lane Property. Representatives of the FPDCC, IDNR, INPC, and Save the Prairie Society were at this meeting. The attorney outlined where the School District was planning to build the school. The District's plan does not include the dedicated nature preserve on Hickory Lane that is owned by the FPDCC, or the parcel that Save the Prairie Society owns that is on today's Agenda for final approval. Those parcels are north of the area where the school is being proposed. The district would like to be near the main street which is the southern part of Hickory Lane. The Commission will continue to monitor this issue and be involved in discussions concerning these issues.
Valerie Spale stated that Save the Prairie Society has filed a lawsuit against Greene Development Corporation, the developer of the senior housing unit. There will be a hearing in August. The complaint alleges that the development violates the restrictive covenants of Hickory Lane Estates which provide that each property can only be used for single family residence and one support building. The court will decide whether or not the covenants should be upheld. It is hoped that the covenants will prevail. This will be an important step to maintain the character of the area at Hickory Lane Estates.
Valerie stated that there are media reports that the feeder districts of the high school are not supporting the magnet school at the Hickory Lane location. It has not been determined that the school will be located at the Hickory Lane location. The Hickory Lane location is at the farthest region of the township and lacks public transportation. The sentiment is, because the location is not supported by the feeder districts and the citizens throughout the township, that the Quick Take provision will be removed in the fall veto session.
Chair O'Keefe stated that the ability to remove a provision from legislation that has been passed by both Houses, but amendatorily vetoed by the Governor, is extremely limited if it exists at all. She stated that she appreciated the fact that Valerie has received assurance from her Senator that he is going to be able to remove that provision, but it will be very difficult because this 53-page bill has Quick Take provisions for many other communities. Whatever happens to this bill may be limited by the Constitution. The legislative process has to be understood, along with the threat to the prairie. Using Quick Take procedures in a situation like this seems to be unnecessary. When school districts are selecting a school site, they usually go through the process in a much more straightforward manner. The Quick Take provision eliminates our opportunity to negotiate further protection of the nature preserve. She stated that she hoped Valerie would work closely with the Commission so that the INPC could provide any assistance.
Valerie stated that the Commission could notify the District Senator, Tom Walsh, of the Commission's concerns regarding this particular provision. This Quick Take bill has generated a great deal of controversy because there are many private sites that have been targeted for Quick Take by municipalities. These landowners were not notified that their property was going to be placed in the bill. They learned about it after the bill had been approved. In many instances, people's businesses are going to be taken away from them. It is a rampant abuse of power at the expense of private property rights. She said that she would keep the Commission informed of the process. She stated that they were told that the Senate will be taking a hard look at the way in which this bill was brought before the legislature for a vote during the last days of the session.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that she checked with IDNR's legislative staff to see if it was possible to further amend the amendatorily vetoed bill to remove the Village of Westchester's Quick Take authority. They are checking with the Senate Parliamentarian to see if that can be done.
Carolyn stated that the University of Illinois (U of I) Board of Trustees voted in July to develop an agreement with IDNR concerning the sale of 1,800 acres that U of I owns adjacent to Allerton Park near Monticello. IDNR is planning to restore this area to prairie over a 10-year period. If this project goes through, it will be the largest tallgrass prairie in the central part of the state. It will provide excellent habitat for the declining grassland bird populations that once lived in central Illinois. The prairie would also enhance the educational mission of Allerton Park and the sale would provide a much needed income to maintain Allerton Park. The money would go into the Allerton Park Trust Fund and would be used to maintain Allerton Park. The Park's infrastructure needs to be updated. This is a unique opportunity to restore a large prairie in central Illinois. This project should be supported by the Commission, and Carolyn suggested that a letter be sent to the Governor urging his support of this project.
Commissioner Fraker stated that he was familiar with the proposed transaction. The farms are located north of and adjacent to Allerton Park. The University needs more money than the farms are currently producing. It is a chance to more than double the size of Allerton Park.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Nevling and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission endorses the University of Illinois' proposal to sell 1,800 acres of farmland located adjacent to Allerton Park to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources which plans to restore the area to tallgrass prairie. The Commission will send a letter to Governor Ryan urging his support for the sale.
Marilyn Campbell stated that it may be a good idea to send a copy of the letter to the U ofI.
Commissioner Nevling stated that the administrative leaders at the University of Illinois are not the ones that will make the final decision on the sale of the property. The letter needs to be directed to the Board of Trustees. It has been his observation as an outsider that there has been a disconnect between the Board and the administration of the University in the past few years.
Chair O'Keefe stated that it was her understanding that the Commission was sending the letter to the Governor with copies to the University.
Commissioner Nevling stated that he agreed with this, but he felt that the members of the Board needed to be copied, along with the administrators.
Dave Monk stated that there is some political opposition to taking the farmland out of production. He felt there was a need to keep in contact with the political process.
It was decided that the letter to Governor Ryan would be copied to all of the U of I Board of Trustees as well as the administrators.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that IDNR has a new poster of the Natural Divisions of Illinois. A few of these posters are available today for anyone who would like one.
Don McFall stated that two new natural heritage landmarks have been enrolled since the INPC's 167th Meeting. Kim Roman signed up Sweet Fern Savanna Natural Heritage Landmark (NHL), a 60-acre sand savanna in Pembroke Township in Kankakee County. This is an area of increased concern with the Commission, IDNR, and TNC. There is a need to protect some of these rare black oak savannas in that part of the state. The Sweet Fern Savanna NHL contains populations of 3 endangered or threatened species, as well as an excellent sand savanna. The landmark is owned by Marianne Hahn of Homewood. Tom Lerczak signed up Matanzas Sand Prairie NHL, a 24-acre sand prairie near Havana in Mason County. One endangered species occurs here. The landmark is owned by Carl and Donna Meyer of Lincoln. The new landmark is located between two nature preserves, Matanzas Prairie Nature Preserve and Long Branch Sand Prairie Nature Preserve. There are now 125 natural heritage landmarks totaling 5,450 acres.
Don stated that Judy Faulkner Dempsey represented the INPC at forest service meetings regarding the forest planning process. She also represented the Commission on designating trails through the five natural areas where equestrian trails are permitted in the Forest Plan.
Previously unknown populations of endangered species were found at two nature preserves and two land and water reserves during this summer's field season. The field staff are asked to visit each of the preserves at least once every two years, and one of their objectives is to build up an inventory of the natural features of each of the preserves. This summer, the grass leaved lily was found at Big Creek Woods Memorial Nature Preserve in southeastern Illinois. Timber rattlesnakes were found at Lusk Creek Canyon Nature Preserve in southern Illinois. Red shouldered hawks were found nesting at Padgett Sweet Gum Woods Land and Water Reserve and Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve. These two sites are located on the Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois.
Last week a 38-acre portion of the Guiding Star Savanna in Kankakee County came up for sale. It was included in an auction by Kankakee County of tax delinquent lands. We had less than one day to find both a conservation minded bidder and the money to make the bid. Kim Roman, Fran Harty, and a private conservation minded individual, Marianne Hahn, went to the auction. Marianne Hahn was the successful bidder. Illinois Audubon, Save the Prairie Society, and a number of private individuals made the pledge to cover what money was needed to get the area purchased. He congratulated Marianne Hahn, Kim Roman, and Fran Harty.
Chair O'Keefe stated that she could not recall a situation quite like this where action was needed so quickly and that individual people were contacted on such short notice. She thanked the people that were willing to get involved to protect this site.
Randy Heidorn stated that to date in the year 2000, 450 Special Use Permits have been issued, as compared to 442 at this time last year. These permits involve 196 nature preserves or land and water reserves. The permits have served 146 researchers. Kelly Neal has been doing a wonderful job reviewing and issuing the permits.
As discussed in the past, a plume of chlorinated solvents was discovered in a test well under Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve in Crystal Lake. The plume is from an adjacent industrial site that is currently undergoing an IEPA voluntary cleanup. IEPA is trying to determine where this plume of solvents is going. It is currently at a depth considerably below the surface of the preserve. There are no real expressions of groundwater to the surface at this site. Just to the north of the site is Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve. The major feature at this site is a groundwater fen. The investigations continue. All the wells that have been placed within Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve have shown levels of the solvent. IEPA is going to the next step which is to sample wells in Sterne's Fen Nature Preserve and on an adjacent property that separates the two preserves. When this was first brought to the Commission's attention, there were some concerns about the IEPA not working well with the Commission. The action taken by the Commission alerted the IEPA to better cooperate, and they have been working well with the Commission. Randy stated that he will give the Commission regular updates on this project. He expected that there would be some level of risk assessment to make sure that impacts to the preserve are investigated and that the resources are protected. We are still in the information gathering stage at this point.
Randy stated that he has been involved in Eco Challenge work groups. These are joint committees developed between IEPA and IDNR to look at the voluntary cleanup programs within IEPA. Their purpose is to determine how to set up and protect environmental resources within the cleanup process. Historically, all of the cleanup concerns have been human health related. IEPA is trying to develop rules that will bring ecological resources up to the same level of protection as human resources.
In 1994, the Commission approved the use of biological control for purple loosestrife. Weingart Road Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve was one of the recipients of some of the earliest beetle releases. When the introduction was made in 1994, this nature preserve contained a great deal of purple loosestrife. Randy stated that he recently talked with Robert Wiedenmann from the Illinois Natural History Survey who has recently visited the site. Dr. Wiedenmann reported that there is no purple loosestrife that has not been fed on by the control agent. He also stated that he believed there would be very little flowering of the purple loosestrife at this site. Randy stated that this biocontrol project that Commissioner Schwegman began a number of years ago is working. Evidence of this is occurring in a number of sites in northeastern Illinois.
Commissioner Fraker asked what happens to the control agent when it is finished eating the loosestrife.
Randy stated that the control agent's population crashes once it has consumed the loosestrife. It is a balancing act between the two. There will still be some eruptions of purple loosestrife because the purple loosestrife will always be present in the system. Biocontrol does not totally eliminate the target species. The biocontrol agent population develops the typical prey/predator relationship. The purpose of the host range testing was to make sure the insects did not survive on anything but the purple loosestrife.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that this is why it costs so much to develop a biocontrol agent. The research that goes into making sure that the control agents will not attack other plants is costly. This particular agent will starve or not reproduce without purple loosestrife. He stated that he is a great supporter of biocontrol because it is the only hope for a lot of problems.
Randy stated that over the last number of years a deer management plan has been developed for Matthiessen State Park and Starved Rock State Park. These sites include Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve and Starved Rock Nature Preserve. That plan is in its final stages of approval at this point and will be implemented this year. It will include archery and shotgun hunting as a part of the control effort. There has been a serious problem with browsing of native vegetation at this site. The plan has been modeled after the deer management plans for Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve and Beall Woods Nature Preserve.
Chair O'Keefe asked if the management activities that are going to take place are going to be handled any differently in the nature preserve section of the park.
Randy stated that the general approach on all of these sites is that an antlerless only hunt will occur within all areas. This is done so that no refuges are created. Great success has been seen at Beall Woods Nature Preserve and Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve. The management action is guided by vegetation monitoring. Goals are set based upon the vegetation information that is collected annually. The program is essentially set up for a three year period and is then updated.
For several years, the INPC has been a silent partner with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN). The Commission has historically provided assistance with the herbicide applicator licensing. There have been some changes occurring in the VSN over the last few months, and, as a result, the Commission is going to have an active role in developing a VSN Steering Committee. This Committee will meet later today for the first time. The purpose of this Committee is to improve the communication for the VSN groups on a statewide basis.
168-8) IDNR Staff Report
Todd Strole stated that the District Heritage Biologist vacancy in District 8 in Lake County was posted. The posting is down and it has moved through the personnel system. District 9 in Cook County was part of the original fiscal year 1996 new initiative when the Division of Natural Heritage added 10 new biologists and 13 new districts to the field staff, but the District 9 position was never filled. That position has now been posted and it is in a similar situation as the District 8 position. It is moving through the personnel system. The District 9 position will be involved with special projects such as Lake Calumet and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
An announcement is expected soon regarding the five ORC Lead Regional Administrators as part of the new ORC organizational structure. Todd stated that he anticipated that the Natural Heritage Division Chief position will be moved on after these positions are filled.
Todd reported that IDOT has donated 70 acres at Spring Bay Fen State Natural Area in Woodford County to the IDNR. In addition, money from the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) was used to acquire 33.33 acres of the Leesville Savanna in Pembroke Township in Kankakee County at a cost of $43,000. Forty-one acres were acquired in the Cache River State Natural Area with money from the NAAF at a cost of $49,500.
The ORC is embarking upon a shift in its land management approach toward Ecosystem Management. This approach was introduced at an ORC staff meeting in Peoria in July. Commission staff were also at this meeting. Todd distributed information to the Commissioners that was given out at the meeting in Peoria which describes the tenets of Ecosystem Management. Ideas were presented through examples, as well as a simulated planning process. The take home message was that the IDNR will be focusing on planning activities which utilize a holistic, adaptive approach to deliver integrated resource management on a large spatial and temporal scale. It should be noted that high quality sites, such as dedicated nature preserves, registered land and water reserves, and INAI sites, were identified as focal points in ecosystem management planning.
Last week the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) was passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That committee included Senator Fitzgerald from Illinois who voted for the bill. The House version was used as a basis, but several changes were made, including Title II. Other changes include 2.25% for Indian tribes and law enforcement funding. Priority is given to species with the greatest conservation need. Title I was divided into three programs which includes a new coral reef production program. Endangered species habitat was removed. The Forest Legacy program was added with $50 million of funding. The Farmland and Ranchland protection program and the Forest Service Rural Development and Economic Recovery Program were also included for funding. Many of these are existing programs that were never fully funded. Funding was also provided for the Youth Conservation Corps. There was also a new program designed to provide grants to the states for conservation of non-federal lands of regional or national significance. Todd stated that he is not aware of how these changes affect individual states at this point. There will be much lobbying activity in August with the hope of bringing the bill to a vote in September.
The Annual Natural Areas Association Conference will be in St. Louis from October 16 - 20, 2000. It will be held at the Henry the VIII Hotel near Lambert Airport rather than the Regal Riverfront as originally planned. Registration is underway.
The next Conservation Congress will convene on Friday, September 8, 2000, and will work through Sunday, September 10, 2000.
Chair O'Keefe asked if there was money for Long Run Seep and for Red Wing Slough in this year's acquisition budget. There are development pressures at these sites, and there is a need for decisive action. She asked Todd if he could report on any kind of progress on those negotiations or a sense of what is happening with those properties.
Todd stated that he knows that both of those sites are of very sincere interest to IDNR, but he was not aware of any other progress.
Don McFall stated that the two sites that were included in Todd's report used last year's NAAF money. He said he thought that Long Run Seep and Red Wing Slough are in the early process for acquisition.
Todd stated that those sites were on the priority list that was approved at the INPC's 167th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe stated that she knows these sites were on that list, however, things are happening in this area that require quick action.
168-9) Monroe Co. - Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Debbie Newman presented a proposal on behalf of Vernon Schaefer to register the Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies as a land and water reserve. Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies contains 134.22 acres of the 724-acre Potato Hill Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site (INAI #200). The proposed reserve contains approximately four and one half acres of Grade A and B loess hill prairie, five acres of Grade A and B limestone glade, and 122 acres of Grade C dry and dry-mesic upland forest representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division, and a 3-acre old field. This matrix of habitats is home to a variety of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, some of which are Ozark plateau or western plains species and have restricted ranges in Illinois. These include the Missouri coneflower (Rudbeckia missouriensis), slender heliotrope (Heliotropium tenellum), wooly buckthorn (Bumelia lanuginosa), all state-endangered, and the state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). The Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies are located in the bluffs in western Monroe County. The proposed reserve is adjacent to Snakey Acres Natural Heritage Landmark and a few hundred feet from Potato Hill Natural Heritage Landmark.
Debbie stated that the focus of this land and water reserve are the hill prairies and the glades. However, 85% of the proposed reserve is forest. It is listed on the INAI as Grade C forest. There has been no logging done on the property except for a few trees taken out for local use by the landowner, his father, and grandfather. There has been no grazing except for a six month period that ended when a cow fell off a cliff. There are very few exotic species in the forest. The entire bluff area of the Potato Hill INAI site creates an unfragmented forest for miles in western Monroe County. Other than the natural fragmentation caused from hill prairies and glades, the forest is relatively unbroken. It supports a large abundance of forest interior sensitive birds.
Commissioner Schwegman asked how this site fits into the overall area and landscape.
Debbie stated that these two parcels are located in the middle of the Potato Hill INAI site.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if there were other parts of the natural area that were protected.
Debbie stated that this would be the first legally protected portion of Potato Hill. The northern portion of the proposed reserve is adjacent to the 35-acre Snakey Acres NHL. That site was enrolled in the Natural Heritage Landmark Program in 1999. A few hundred feet off the northwestern corner of this proposed reserve is the Potato Hill NHL which is a 4.5-acre NHL. The rest of the land remains unprotected.
Carolyn Grosboll stated for the record that the registration document has been signed by the landowner as required by the rules. It was noted that the registration proposal was not included in the Agenda packet. The rules were consulted, and it was concluded that Debbie's explanation and slide presentation satisfies the requirements of 17 Ill Admin Code 4010.140(a) to allow for the registration of this site.
Commissioner Fraker asked for a definition of a glade.
Debbie stated that a glade is similar to a hill prairie, but it generally has thinner soils overlaying shallower bedrock.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that a glade would have bedrock at the surface for most of the area.
Don McFall stated it could also be an opening within a forested area rather than out in the prairie.
Debbie stated that Flagstone Prairie has a lot of exposed bedrock so it is sometimes hard to distinguish. She felt the loess soil is deeper there, and that creates more of a prairie as opposed to a glade.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of the Luella Schaefer Memorial Hill Prairies in Monroe County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe asked Debbie to convey the gratitude of the Commission to Mr. Schaefer for his registration of this site.
168-10) Clay Co. - Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication
Terry Esker presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve. This proposed preserve is a 93.5-acre tract that is also known as Hanging Rock Sandstone Cliff Natural Area. This site was donated to the IDNR in 1999. Hanging Rock Sandstone Cliff was identified by the INAI (#679) for its Grade A sandstone cliff, Grade B dry-mesic upland forest, and Grade C wet-mesic floodplain forest representative of the Mt. Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The site was named for the extensive sandstone and shale cliffs that have been undercut by Raccoon Creek. These cliffs are about 30 feet tall and run for 700 yards along Raccoon Creek. The proposed nature preserve is a fragile natural community that supports over 375 species of plants and animals.
In addition to the inventoried areas, Raccoon Creek is a perennial low gradient stream that runs through the property. It has a series of pools and supports a variety of fish populations. The creek bottom consists of sand, silt, or sandstone substrates. Beavers have improved some of the pools on the creek. The Division of Fisheries sampled the site and found a good diversity of minnows and darters in the stream. There were no listed species found, but there were several rare species, including the black-striped topminnow, the redfin shiner, and the pugnose minnow.
The one-half acre portion across the road is not going to be dedicated because it is too disturbed. There is a potential for road construction and management at that site.
A management plan will be developed for the site following the recommendations of the INPC.
Terry thanked Bob Edgin for his background work and work with the landowners. If dedicated, the Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve will be the first nature preserve in Clay County. It is currently the only state-owned property in this county.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if anyone has looked for mussels in the creek.
Terry stated, "no."
Carolyn Grosboll asked if Raccoon Creek is a biologically significant stream.
Terry stated that it was not, however, it does support a good fish population. The sandstone cliffs have created nice outcrops and rock areas along that stream which the minnows and darters have adapted to.
It was moved by Ellis, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve in Clay County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe thanked Bob Edgin and Terry Esker for their work on protecting this property. She asked that the Commission's gratitude be conveyed to Leslie Snyder Wright and Violet Misenhimer.
A lunch break was taken from 11:55 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.
168-11) Cook Co. - Addition of Buffer to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of Save the Prairie Society for final approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. The proposed addition of 3.75 acres received preliminary approval at the Commission's 149th Meeting in October, 1995 (Resolution #1293). Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve was included on the INAI (#50) in recognition of its high quality mesic prairie representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve has also been identified as one of the largest and best quality black soil prairies located east of the Mississippi River. Presently, over 400 plant species have been recorded from the prairie. Dedication of this 3.75-acre tract as nature preserve buffer will help protect the 80-acre nature preserve from incompatible land uses along its western border, further protect the watershed in which Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve is located, and reduce the effects of fragmentation by maintaining existing landscape linkages. Save the Prairie Society has worked diligently to preserve Wolf Road Prairie since its inception in 1975. On behalf of Save the Prairie Society, the INPC staff recommends final approval for dedication of 3.75 acres as nature preserve buffer to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. Steven noted that a mortgage subordination document has been signed by the holder of a mortgage on the property and that the document will be recorded with the Instrument of Dedication.
Valerie Spale stated that if a magnet school is the ultimate resolution of land use on Hickory Lane, there are plans to create open space and protect significant areas of the site according to some plans that she has seen from the school district. This particular buffer site is very significant to the overall protection of Hickory Lane Estates. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) owns a 3-acre property in Hickory Lane Estates which the Commission granted final approval as a dedicated nature preserve approximately two years ago. The plan for these properties, including the Save the Prairie property, is to create a contiguous flow of water from upstream, through the property, purify the water, and make sure that when it arrives at the preserve it is as clean as can be without sedimentation. Sedimentation is starting to create some problems in the vegetation at the wetlands. Since Save the Prairie Society acquired this property, they have been restoring it back to savanna, improving the hydrology of the site, and creating a prairie restoration area by introducing plants from the Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve gene pool into the restoration site. They have also been monitoring the recovery of plants on their own. Gerald Wilhelm, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the wetlands restoration fund at CorLands, has been assisting Save the Prairie Society. They have received some federal and state grants to do the work on the site. They were very pleased with the rate of recovery of this property and found within their matrix study areas over 72 plants that have returned in those particular study areas.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe thanked Steven and Save the Prairie Society. She stated that Valerie Spale has championed this property for many years, and through her steadfastness, has been able to ensure that it will survive.
Valerie stated that Save the Prairie Society is excited that they were able to protect their property. Seeing the area dedicated is a very important moment in their career as an all volunteer conservation organization working to preserve this site. She stated that they appreciated the Commission granting the dedication status. She asked the Commission if it would consider sending a letter to Senator Thomas Walsh to convey to him the significance of Wolf Road Prairie and the important need to protect its watershed. Save the Prairie Society speaks frequently of the significance of the site, but it is also important for leaders like Senator Walsh to get letters from others interested in protecting this site.
Chair O'Keefe stated that the suggestion to send a letter to Senator Walsh is appropriate at this time. She asked Carolyn Grosboll to write a letter to Senator Walsh expressing the Commission's interest in the long term protection of Wolf Road Prairie.
168-12) Lake Co. - Brandenburg Lake Island Addition of Buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Brandenburg Lake Island Addition of Buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of the Brandenburg Lake Island addition of buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve at its 167th Meeting in May, 2000 (Resolution #1535). Nancy Brothers is requesting final dedication of this 23.08-acre island in Brandenburg Lake as nature preserve buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve. The Brandenburg Lake Island addition consists of an undeveloped 23.08-acre island that supports elements of sedge meadow and dry mesic woodland. Both Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve and Brandenburg Bog addition are part of Volo Bog State Natural Area, which is owned by the IDNR. Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve was conferred final approval for dedication at the Commission's 53rd Meeting in October, 1974 (Resolution #352). In 1986, the Commission conferred final approval for the dedication of the 140-acre Brandenburg Bog addition to Pistakee Bog at its 111th Meeting (Resolution #899). More recently, the Commission conferred final approval for dedication of a disjunct 31.47-acre addition to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve at its 161st Meeting in October, 1998 (Resolution #1452). This addition was purchased by the IDNR in 1994 and is also part of Volo Bog State Natural Area. Collectively, the 900.69-acre Volo Bog State Natural Area includes three wetland basins (Pistakee Bog, Brandenburg Bog, and Volo Bog) and surrounding uplands. Located within the three wetland basins are seven different high quality wetland plant communities representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division with over 35 state-listed species recorded. Dedication of this 23.08-acre buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve will protect existing natural resources on the island and protect Brandenburg Lake and the nearby Brandenburg Bog addition from adverse impacts to aquatic systems typically associated with residential development. On behalf of Mrs. Brothers, the INPC staff recommends final approval for dedication of Brandenburg Island as nature preserve buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve.
Steven stated that the dedication document for this site is slightly different from the standard document. It provides for Donald and Nancy Brothers to have more flexibility with regard to maintaining the current land uses they have enjoyed on this particular island, but nevertheless the document will serve to protect the island and to buffer Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve. The Commission staff have worked with the Brothers' attorney, and the instrument of dedication reflects the best interests of the Commission and acknowledges the interest of the Brothers with regard to protection of the island.
It was moved by Ellis, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Brandenburg Lake Island Addition of Buffer to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe asked Steven to convey to Donald and Nancy Brothers the Commission's gratitude for their generosity and willingness to dedicate their property.
168-13) Lake Co. - Addition to Spring Bluff Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) for final approval for the dedication of an addition to Spring Bluff Nature Preserve. The proposed 11.27-acre addition received preliminary approval at the Commission's 167th Meeting in May, 2000 (Resolution #1536) . Spring Bluff Nature Preserve is a 274-acre site located in northeastern Illinois and was recognized on the INAI (as part of Illinois Dunes North, INAI #1066) for eight high to very high quality natural plant communities of three major classifications: prairie, savanna, and wetland. These natural communities are representative of the Lake Michigan Dunes Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Spring Bluff Nature Preserve received final approval for dedication at the Commission's 135th Meeting in May, 1992 (Resolution #1126). The 11.27-acre addition is contiguous with the western boundary of Spring Bluff Nature Preserve and contains high quality mesic prairie and graminoid fen or seep and many of the natural plant communities that occur in the preserve. Dedication of this addition will increase the acreage of Spring Bluff Nature Preserve from 274 to 285.27 acres. Spring Bluff Nature Preserve is part of an even greater assemblage of natural communities along Lake Michigan that include Illinois Beach (INAI #1083), Illinois Dunes North (INAI #1066), and the Chiwaukee Prairie located in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Collectively, this area encompasses approximately 2,000 acres and supports over 15 high quality communities including habitat for over 20 state-listed plant species and over 15 state-listed wildlife species. On behalf of the LCFPD, the INPC staff recommends final approval for dedication of 11.27 acres as an addition to Spring Bluff Nature Preserve.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Spring Bluff Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Commissioner Fraker asked if it would be appropriate to send a letter from the Chair to the LCFPD to let them know how happy the Commission is with this dedication and hope that they will continue to work with the Commission.
Steven stated that he intends to talk with Sandy Cole, a member of the LCFPD Board, to suggest that they begin working together to protect other LCFPD-owned sites. He stated that he has a couple of sites in mind, and the proposals have already been written. With the action here today, he said that we should be able to work together and bring additional sites to the Commission for consideration for dedication.
Chair O'Keefe stated that a letter from the Commission to LCFPD expressing this sentiment would be a welcome gesture. The chairman of the appropriate committees should also be copied.
168-14) McHenry Co. - Lindblom Tract Addition to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of Ralph and Mary Ellen Lindblom for final approval for the dedication of the Lindblom Tract Addition to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve. The 2.34-acre Lindblom tract was granted preliminary approval at the Commission's 167th Meeting in May, 2000 (Resolution # 1537). The addition is a privately owned tract of land that lies adjacent to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve and is located in McHenry County, Illinois. Both Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve and the nearby Brandenburg Bog addition are part of Volo Bog State Natural Area which is owned by the IDNR. Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve received final approval for dedication at the Commission's 53rd Meeting in October, 1974 (Resolution #352). In 1986, the Commission conferred final approval for the dedication of the 140-acre Brandenburg Bog addition to Pistakee Bog at its 111th Meeting (Resolution #899). More recently, the Commission conferred final approval for dedication of a disjunct 31.47-acre addition to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve at its 161st Meeting in October, 1998 (Resolution #1452). This addition was purchased by the IDNR in 1994 and is also part of Volo Bog State Natural Area. Collectively, the 900.69-acre Volo Bog State Natural Area includes three wetland basins (Pistakee Bog, Brandenburg Bog, and Volo Bog) and surrounding uplands. Located within the three wetland basins are seven different high quality wetland plant communities representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division with over 35 recorded state-listed plant and animal species. The proposed Lindblom Tract addition consists of 2.34 acres of high quality wetlands identified on the INAI (#983). Dedication of this addition will preserve natural plant communities originally identified on the INAI for Pistakee Bog, enlarge and further protect Pistakee Bog from incompatible land uses, and facilitate management of the entire wetland basin by the IDNR. On behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Lindblom, the INPC staff recommends final approval for dedication of this 2.34-acre addition.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the Lindblom Tract Addition to Pistakee Bog Nature Preserve in McHenry County as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 168th Meeting.
Chair O'Keefe thanked Steven for his effort in negotiating between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the property owners. She also asked Steven to convey to Ralph and Mary Ellen Lindblom the Commission's thanks.
168-15) Lake Co. - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on the Illinois Beach asbestos issue. He stated that the Johns Manville Property, south of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, is a national priority site for cleanup under the federal EPA cleanup program. A consent decree was signed and approved by the State of Illinois, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With the discovery of asbestos in a road along the southern end of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, at the end of Green Street in Waukegan, and in part of an old parking lot on some Commonwealth Edison Property south of Johns Manville, the consent decree is being amended because these areas were not originally included in the decree. In order to move the cleanup along, the federal government has to go through several processes to change the consent decree. The first step is called the explanation of significant differences (ESD). This document has been prepared, and it states that adjacent areas, including a portion of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, are being considered as part of the national priority site and will be cleaned up under that process. The cleanup approach within the Nature Preserve has always been to leave the asbestos containing (ACM) material in place, and as frost heave brings the ACM to the surface, hand pick the ACM and dispose of it in an appropriate landfill. The other part of the approach was to restrict any usage of the area which amounts to approximately three acres within Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. This was thought to be the best approach because the road, constructed in the late 1950's, has revegetated with good quality prairie. There are endangered plants growing in the middle or adjacent to the road. If the road was removed in a more typical remediation, more damage would be caused than the cleanup would prevent. Leaving the road in place seems to be the best approach for the natural resources. The ESD is to be published soon, and it will lump all three of these sites together. Randy stated that the Commission has been assured that there is no intention to change the remediation process for the nature preserve. The hand picking remediation will continue over a period of time. He stated he will continue to update the Commission on further developments.
Erosion has long been a serious problem at Illinois Beach. The IDNR has been working to ensure that sand remains on the beaches by annually placing sand back on the beach. Beach nourishment has been an important part of protecting the area. Recently the outer harbor of Waukegan Harbor was dredged for navigation purposes. That dredged sand was accepted by IDNR after it was tested for asbestos and was deemed safe and appropriate for use as beach nourishment. That took place approximately a month ago. IDNR continues to maintain a crew that does regular beach sweeps looking for asbestos that has been washing up. Asbestos was found to have washed up on a number of the beaches at Illinois Beach. The hand picking process seems to be working well, and it is consistent with the plan that IDNR developed to minimize and eliminate ACM from the beach. Most of this material is small chunks of concrete that have asbestos imbedded in it. The Department of Public Health has agreed that this is the most appropriate way to maintain the beach.
Chair O'Keefe asked if there were any outstanding issues regarding the site's hydrology as it relates to Waukegan Harbor. She wanted to know how this relates to Randy's report.
Randy stated that there has been some discussion between Johns Manville, the Waukegan Harbor Authority, and the Citizen's Advisory Group (CAG) concerning the possibility of depositing inner harbor dredge material into a settling basin at the Johns Manville site. This dredge material contains low levels of PCB and some other contaminants that were not serious enough to cleanup during the national priority list cleanup that took place at Waukegan Harbor several years ago. There has been some discussion about the concept of disposing this material within Johns Manville's settling ponds. There are several technical issues that are involved in terms of transport of that material. One of the outstanding issues relates to the hydrology of the site. The settling basin is a containment facility that is perched above the surrounding landscape. It has a gelatin-like asbestos material on its bottom. It is not known if Illinois Beach Nature Preserve will be impacted by the disposal of the material into Johns Manville's settling basin. We do not know if there is a hydrological link between the pond and the nature preserve. Under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act rules, the Commission has a responsibility to certify that a proposed landfill adjacent to a nature preserve will not negatively impact the nature preserve. Putting the dredge material into the settling pond will in effect be creating a landfill. At this point we have not received a request to make that determination. The IDNR and the Commission have been working with the various Scientific Surveys to review the data that the CAG has presented to determine what additional information is needed. This process will also need approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Commissioner Ellis asked if a tracer element study has been done at this site.
Randy stated that there has not been any dye tracing done at this point. Consultants hired by the CAG have been modeling the hydrology. One of the problems with the modeling is that they are using modeled data from more than a mile and a half away from the site. The CAG was advised that this data is not pertinent to the specific area. Additional well installation will be necessary to model the area.
Chair O'Keefe asked if the Commission's approval would be dependent upon the results of these further studies.
Randy stated that was correct. He stated that once a formal application for certification is made, it will be brought to the Commission for review.
168-16) Update on Ad Hoc INPC Sign Committee
Chair O'Keefe updated the Commission on the Ad Hoc sign committee's progress on developing new wording for nature preserves that would be recognizable, consistent in design, educational, offer more about the individual site on the sign, be more attractive, and meet legal obligations. There is no consistency in the current signs, and the signs are not distinctive. With a few exceptions, there are a number of brown and yellow signs that are generic. The white corner and boundary signs have a number of design elements that are very appealing to people. The committee consists of Chair O'Keefe, Commissioner Allread, Commissioner Ranney, Dr. Bruce McMillan from the Illinois State Museum, and Randy Heidorn. The committee met and agreed on general objectives for new signs. Each sign was critiqued as it currently exists and recommendations were made about each sign. Dr. Bruce McMillian offered the services of a graphic artist who is involved with interpretive signs at the Illinois State Museum. The graphic artist has been working on possible designs, following guidelines developed at the last committee meeting. The committee was cognizant of the fact that there were limited financial resources. We also wanted to develop a new sign to introduce with our 300th dedication which will be coming soon. There are currently 295 nature preserves. It was determined that the cardinal was something that was liked. The triangle shape was also appealing. It was determined that maintaining our current logo was important. The natural heritage landmark sign with a screened State of Illinois in the background was also appealing. Giving that feedback to the designer, she came up with a packet of proposed signs. The committee has not had a chance to review her drawings. In general, the designer wanted the sign to be very distinctive with consistent design elements, but be able to individualize the signs. She selected a font that would be used on all the signs, and she recommended that all the signs be white with the green and red with black lettering. She took the suggestion from the committee that we use the generic wording about nature preserves, but include a paragraph in the basic sign about the particular preserve so people would have an idea of why this particular preserve was important. She also resolved a lot of the semantics of the signs. The background of the basic sign is a screened cardinal which would be screened in black. A recommendation from the committee will be discussed at the INPC's 169th Meeting.
168-17) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
Victor Guarino stated that he gave a citizen's presentation of a proposal for dedication of Thatcher, G.A.R., and Thomas Jefferson Woods in River Forest, Illinois at the INPC's 167th Meeting. A resolution was passed by the Commission asking the FPDCC to consider dedication. He asked the Commission to submit a letter to the President of the FPDCC and the General Superintendent recognizing the value of this property as Illinois preservation quality and requesting that they consider dedication as a nature preserve or as land and water reserve.
Chair O'Keefe thanked Mr. Guarino for his comments. She asked the staff to update the Commission on what has been done since the last meeting.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that at the INPC's 167th Meeting, a resolution was passed where the Commission encouraged the FPDCC to protect this area. She stated that she had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Nevius and explain to him that Mr. Guarino had requested that this area be protected. Mr. Nevius is aware that the Commission has been informed of the updated proposal. While he did not commit one way or the other, he was not negative either. He was not as familiar with the land and water reserve program, and he was interested in learning more about the program. She said that this would be something that would be pursued further. She stated that she got the sense that nature preserve protection was not something that the FPDCC was interested in at this particular time. Normally the landowner comes forward with a request to protect the property. The Commission will continue to talk with the FPDCC, and this may be more beneficial than sending a letter.
Chair O'Keefe asked Steven Byers if he had any insight on this issue.
Steven Byers stated that this particular site has been described by Marlin Bowles as the best of its type. He felt it would qualify for either dedication or registration. He has also briefly talked with Joe Nevius about the possibility of revisiting formal protection of this tract of woods. In the past, there has been consideration of a bike trail. He met with Dave Kircher, the landscape architect, and there have been some issues that they wanted to resolve internally with regard to the alignment of the trail and construction of that trail before formally protecting the area.
Chair O'Keefe stated that the staff will continue to work on this issue.
Dave Monk stated that he just returned from the 17th North American Prairie Conference in Iowa. The conference was started in Illinois, and it has grown to approximately 650 people. It meets once every two years. There are some major concerns. Some farm bills have been passed that create set asides that encourage the removal of prairie. There were some discussions to see if something could be done about this. There were politicians present. Out of about a 130 person meeting, it became a unanimous resolution to create a prairie consortium that would have the body politic to be able to talk with the state and federal agencies about these procedures. There is some difficulty with lists of people who might join this group. There is a privacy law that has prevented the conference from distributing its list of attendants. If you are asked to belong to that group by an email, you can get on the mailing list by responding without violating any privacy laws. The next meeting will be in Kirksville, Missouri. There is a real desire to get more education to the people. There is a problem in the University of Illinois area at the moment largely because people do not know about the native habitat. Darrell Smith from Northern Iowa University has spent years putting together a film. The Arts Councils from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa have contributed money to this film project. Illinois has not contributed to the project. Dave asked if the Commission would consider prodding the Illinois Arts Council to contribute in some way to this film. The film will probably be aired in November on public television in the three states of the major contributors. Dave further stated that there is a vacant rail line between Farmer City and Bloomington and he would like to educate people about the prairie along that line. There is the same thing at Monticello where there is a railroad museum. A trail could go down to the Sangamon and into the bottomland forest. The path could go through the corridor in Allerton Park and do good educational work. There could be a visitor center.
The Commission thanked Dave for his comments.
168-18) Other Business
There was no other business.
It was moved by Burton, seconded by Ellis, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.