Minutes of the 173rd Meeting
(subject to approval of Commission at 174th Meeting)
Desoto House Hotel
230 South Main Street
Galena, IL 61036
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 10:00 a.m.
Johnson and Pulaski Co. Addition to Cache River Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Lake Co. Rhyan Tract Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Massac Co. Ft. Massac Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Tazewell Co. Cooper Park Wetlands Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Hancock Co. Mud Island Addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Jo Daviess Co. Apple River Canyon Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kane Co. Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Trout Park Nature Preserve, Dedication
Lake Co. Fourth Lake Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Lake Co. Lyons Prairie and Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Monroe Co. Storment Hauss Nature Preserve, Dedication
Peoria Co. Brimfield Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Hancock Co. Kibbe Bottoms Addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Lake Co. Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna Addition of Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer to Wadsworth Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Madison Co. Bachman Farm Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve, Dedication
McHenry Co. Amberin Ash Ridge Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Boone Creek Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication
McHenry Co. McHenry County Conservation District Addition to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Union Co. Ren-Dill Shale Glade Nature Preserve, Dedication
DeKalb Co. Wilkinson-Renwick Marsh Nature Preserve, Request for Seed Collection
Lake Co. Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation
Wayne Co. Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve, Request for Approval of Oil Lease
Adoption of Agenda
Approval of the Minutes of 172nd Meeting, August 7, 2001
2002 Proposed Meeting Schedule
INPC Staff Report
IDNR Staff Report
300th Nature Preserve Celebration - Overview
Public Comment Period
At 10:20 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair OKeefe, the meeting began.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Kristi DeLaurentiis, Harry Drucker, Lorin Nevling, Joyce OKeefe, and John Schwegman.
Members absent: Dianne Burton, Jonathan Ellis, and John Sommerhof.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Loretta Arient, 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); Ed Anderson, Randy Nyboer, and Diane Tecic, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Patti Reilly, Brian Reilly, and Penny Snyder, Division of Natural Heritage, IDNR; Keith Shank, Division of Resource Review and Coordination, IDNR; Jeff Hensal and Greg Kelly, Land Management and Education, IDNR; Sue Dees and Barb Trager, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Jack White, INPC Consultant; Jim Anderson, Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD); Jill Kennay, Jerry Paulson, Rebecca Olson, and Dan Wegner, Natural Land Institute (NLI); Al Wilson, Volunteer Steward, Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve; John Rutherford, Jo Daviess County Natural Area Guardians; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve; Ed Martin, Rita Martin, Carol ODonnell, and Deborah Staley.
Chair OKeefe thanked NLI, Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, The Prairie Enthusiasts, Jo Daviess County Natural Area Guardians, IDNR, Jim Lewis, Commissioner Drucker, and John Alesandrini for the tour that was held on Monday, October 29, 2001.
Chair OKeefe reported that the 300th Nature Preserve Dedication Celebration, held September 5, 2001, was a wonderful event. She thanked Commissioner Allread for the work that she did to make the event successful.
Commissioner Allread stated that she has received a packet of thank you notes from the Polo School third graders that participated in the celebration. Kim Roman went to Polo School before the event to talk with the third graders, and she made the arrangements to have the children come to White Pines for the celebration. The packet was circulated for everyones review.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that Item 21 has been postponed
at the request of the landowner.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Allread, and carried that the Agenda, as amended, be adopted.
Carolyn Grosboll proposed that the first two sentences of the third paragraph on page 25 which read, Patti Reilly stated that Jack believed that the INAI had not been updated since the original 1978 technical report and that no sites had been resurveyed, added, or deleted. He was very surprised that people were finding new sites and that the original inventory had missed sites, be deleted because these statements are not true.
Chair OKeefe proposed that the word and be deleted from the second sentence of the first paragraph under Item 5. The sentence would then read, The NAAF is comprised of a portion of the money collected from the real estate transfer tax.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the Minutes of the 172nd INPC Meeting, August 7, 2001, as corrected, be approved.
Chair OKeefe reported that at the 172nd Meeting of the INPC, held at the Public Landing Restaurant in Lockport on August 7, 2001, legal protection for eight tracts of land, totaling 635 acres was approved by the Commission. Two of these eight areas are owned by private individuals who donated the value of the protection agreement to the public. Two are owned by not-for-profit conservation organizations that also donated the value of the agreement. The estimated dollar value of these four tracts of private land is $236,000, based on conservative estimates of the fair market value of the land. The private land was permanently preserved without acquisition of the land by the State. Private lands protected without State acquisition at the 172nd Meeting of the INPC included Katelyns Woods, 150 acres in Jersey County; Sweet Fern Savanna, 62 acres in Kankakee County; Karl Bartel Wildlife Sanctuary, 80 acres in Marion County; and Pautler Cave, 3.18 acres in Monroe County. A total of 295.18 acres of private land were protected which would have cost $236,000 to acquire. This was made possible by the work of our nine staff who are out in the field working every day with private landowners. There are now 300 dedicated nature preserves in 78 counties, totaling 39,970 acres. There are 61 land and water reserves in 39 counties, totaling 22,100 acres. Chair OKeefe congratulated the staff for their fine work.
5 February, 10:00 a.m. - Illinois Department of Agriculture,
7 May, 10:00 a.m. - Independence Grove Visitor Center, Libertyville
6 August, 9:00 a.m. - Wildlife Prairie State Park, Peoria
29 October, 10:00 a.m. - Rock Springs Center, Decatur
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the location for the May, 2002, INPC Meeting is tentative because the building is still under construction. The arrangements will be finalized in the near future.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the 2002 Proposed Meeting Schedule, be approved.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the 300th Nature Preserve Celebration was enjoyed by all who attended. She stated that over 100 people attended, as well as 50 school children from Polo. On behalf of the staff, Carolyn stated that she would like to thank all of the current and former Commissioners for their support which made this event possible. She also thanked former INPC Chair, Vicky Ranney, who was the honorary chair of the event. Carolyn also thanked Commissioner Allread and her public relations firm for their hard work to make the event a success.
Carolyn stated that the Black Beauty Coal Company received a mining permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the IDNRs Office of Mines and Minerals (OMM) to create a new coal facility near the Little Vermilion River. Prairie Rivers Network had appealed both of those permits. The Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) upheld the IEPAs permit, and the hearing officer for the IDNR OMM upheld the IDNRs permit. As of this date, there are no further appeals pending by Prairie Rivers Network. The facility is currently under construction.
Carolyn stated that she is working with the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) Management Assistance Team to put together a strategic planning session for Commission staff. The tentative dates for the session are January 8, 9, and 10, 2002. In discussions with the Management Assistance Team, they felt that it was important that a Commissioner participate at some level in the strategic planning. Chair OKeefe has offered to participate in the planning session. There are tentative plans to send a questionnaire to the Commission consultants and advisors to get some background information about goals and objections and where the INPC should be in five years.
Carolyn stated that an Intergovernmental Agreement between the INPC and the IDNR was signed regarding the use of prescribed fire. The Agreement clarifies that the INPC staff are covered under the IDNRs Policy and Procedures on prescribed fire. The Agreement also clarifies that the IDNR has management responsibility on lands that are dedicated as nature preserves, registered as land and water reserves, or enrolled in the natural heritage landmark program. The purpose of the management responsibility portion of the agreement is to specify that, in accordance with the IDNRs Policy and Procedures, Department staff have the ability to conduct prescribed burns on non-IDNR owned lands protected under Commission programs. By clarifying that burns on these lands are covered under the Departments Policy and Procedures, these burns are then within the employees scope of work, and the understanding that the employee is covered under the State Employee Indemnification Act is more clear. Carolyn stated that the Agreement was signed by Director Manning and herself on August 29, 2001.
Carolyn stated that she is in the process of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department and the Commission that specifies what our respective duties are. She stated that she hoped to have a final draft to the Commissioners at the next meeting for further discussion and approval.
Carolyn stated that she and Randy Heidorn attended the Natural Areas Association Conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida on October 3-6, 2001. Randy chaired a Forum on Prescribed Fire which was very well attended. Randy was elected to another term as a board member of the Association.
At the conference, there was an overview of state legislation that establishes a negligence standard in prescribed fire cases. Dr. Bill Eshee, a law professor at Mississippi State University, was there to discuss what other states are doing in this regard. He reported that 21 states currently have a prescribed fire statute. There are other states that have case law on the issue. Dr. Eshee reported that Illinois has neither. Carolyn stated that Dr. Eshee has sent her a copy of his research and the statutes of the various states. With no standard to follow, courts are free to establish there own standard should a case arise. The worse case scenario would be a strict liability standard which provides that if damage results from the fire, the person who lit the fire will be liable regardless if care was given. Most of these states have established what is called a gross negligence standard, which means if you use even the slightest level of care, you are not going to be negligent. By filling out the burn plan and the types of things that we are required to do under the Departments Prescribed Burn Policy and Procedures, there would be no negligence found. The IDNR is supportive of developing prescribed burn legislation, and staff will be working with the Department on this effort.
Don McFall stated that Commission staff negotiated two new natural heritage landmarks since the 172nd Meeting of the INPC. Mary Kay Solecki signed up Collie-Flower Acres Natural Heritage Landmark in Vermilion County. This is a 5-acre wooded site along the Little Vermilion River, owned by Marilyn Campbell and Betty Youngblood of Georgetown. The Little Vermilion River provides habitat for three endangered or threatened species of fish and four endangered or threatened species of mussels. In southwestern Illinois, Debbie Newman signed up the Mary Ann and Tom Reeves Hill Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark. This is a 49-acre prairie and wooded site in the Mississippi River bluffs in Monroe County. The area provides habitat for three endangered or threatened species of plants and several rare reptiles. There are now 127 natural heritage landmarks, totaling more than 5,600 acres.
Don stated that the INPC has dedicated approximately 20 cemeteries as nature preserves to protect either high-quality prairie or savanna remnants. Within the last few years, there has been some concerns about these cemetery nature preserves. The issue surrounds trying to juggle the protection of the native vegetation, rare species, stones, and markers, and at the same time providing some level of access for the descendants of the people buried there. Don stated that he would like to compliment Angella Moorehouse for her work dealing with these issues at Root Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve in Peoria County. Her work is providing a template that we can use in similar circumstances. The management schedule that is required for all nature preserves is key because that is the way we can have approval in writing of how we will manage the areas to address the important uses of the area. Work crews consisting of volunteer stewards have been organized to make sure that the vegetation is managed, and at the same time, the stones are protected. The volunteers also provide small trails to certain graves.
Randy Heidorn stated that the INPCs web site has been improved, which was an objective of the 300th Nature Preserve Dedication Celebration. Randy stated that he and Carolyn met with the IDNR Webmaster recently. Presently, the web site has Stewardship, Protection, and Defense pages which include information on those programs. The site also includes a Staff Directory. Minutes and agendas of the meetings since about the 150th Meeting have also been posted. Currently under development is a gallery of photos taken at the 300th Nature Preserve Dedication Celebration and a directory of nature preserves. Because of donations made related to the 300th dedication event, we will be able to hire someone to put the two-volume nature preserve directory, and the nature preserves dedicated since 1995, on the web site with maps and photos.
Randy stated that the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) Steering Committee meets quarterly, and there is starting to be a state-wide focus from this Committee. This group met on Wednesday, October 24, 2001. Some of the activities that have been completed or are scheduled in the near future are two fire training workshops. These workshops have been filled to capacity. Randy stated that the VSN Steering Committee is excited about being able to sponsor this training using the new midwest prescribed fire class that was developed by Chicago Wilderness. Safety equipment for volunteers has also been provided, and a process has been formalized on how to disperse nature preserve money that we have allocated for the volunteers which is approximately $5,000 a year, along with money from The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Randy stated that Steven Byers work group has been assembling lists of funding sources. It is hoped that this list will be on the INPCs web site in the near future. Finally, Randy reported that a grant writing workshop was recently held, and the Gatherings newsletter has been expanded to a state-wide focus.
Brian Reilly stated that Vern Kleen, Avian Ecologist for the Division of Natural Heritage, has retired. Linda Williams, the former Account and Fiscal Manager for the Division of Natural Heritage, has moved to the C-2000 program as a Grants Coordinator. Brian stated that both Vern and Linda will be greatly missed. Anne Mankowski has moved from Region II to Region I to work as a District Heritage Biologist in District 4. Diane Tecic, who was a District Heritage Biologist in District 20, has accepted a new position as a Heritage Regional Administrator for Region IV. Dan Ludwig, from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, has accepted the position as the Heritage Regional Administrator for Region II.
Brian stated that moneys from the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) were recently used to make acquisitions from the list that the Commission approved at the 172nd Meeting of the INPC, as well as some properties from the list that was approved in 2000. Three tracts were purchased from the Westvao Corporation for $1,000,000. These tracts include 625 acres at the Cache River State Natural Area, 734 acres at Cypress Pond Land and Water Reserve, and 190 acres at Deer Pond Nature Preserve. Through the efforts of the Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), this acquisition was partially funded using a federal Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) grant for $500,000. This saved the NAAF the $500,000 that it would have used to acquire the property and is now being used to acquire other natural areas around the State.
Brian stated that the acquisition of French Bluff, a 375-acre woods for $653,000, was to have closed on August 29, 2001. Another acquisition of 9.84 acres at Black-Crown Marsh for $341,000 has been completed. This acquisition provides the only outlet to Black-Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve, and it will allow the IDNR to have some control over the manipulation of the water level at the wetland that supports nine threatened or endangered bird species. This purchase was done through a partnership of $150,000 from the Illinois Audubon Society, $85,000 from Corlands, and $106,000 from the IDNRs NAAF.
The IDNR purchased 345 acres adjacent to Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area from ComEd with Open Land Trust (OLT) funds. This tract is identified on the INAI because there are two endangered species on the site.
Brian stated that he has a listing of C2000 grants that have been approved. This program provides money to conservation organizations around Illinois to do a variety of work. Some of the grants included funding for easements in the Cache River State Natural Area, planting vegetation at the Cache River State Natural Area to accelerate the reforestation process, providing incentives for private landowners around Prairie Ridge State Natural Area to sign their land up in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The CRP payments for ten years have not been enough to convince the farmers to sign up their lands. There is now a one-time incentive payment program to these landowners to sign up their property for grassland vegetation. Brian stated that NLI and The Prairie Enthusiasts received a grant to acquire conservation easements at Hanover Bluff to connect Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve and the newly acquired Copper property at Hanover Bluff. Brian stated that he has a list of all the grants, and he would be happy to go over the list with individuals who were interested.
Chair OKeefe stated that at the 172nd Meeting of the INPC there was a discussion regarding the difficulty in getting people to alert the IDNR when they were coming across pieces of property that should be included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI). She asked if there was something that the Commission could do to facilitate this, or if Brian has taken steps to remind everyone how important this is.
Brian stated that a potential natural area form has been distributed to the IDNR field staff and Illinois Natural History Survey field staff. The staff person completes this form and attaches a map, then submits the form to the INAI Project Manager. After the form is received, a District Heritage Biologist inspects the property. An education program has been implemented for other Department staff to inform them about natural areas and the need for turning in potential natural areas. A date has been set to meet with the staff of the Illinois Natural History Survey.
Commissioner Schwegman asked Brian if there is going to be additional reorganization affecting the Division of Natural Heritage and could the Department give the Commission a report on this. He stated that Kirby Cottrell had stated in the past that no further reorganization would be done without consulting the Commission because of the close tie with Natural Heritage management activities and managing the nature preserves.
Brian stated that the Department is exploring ways to reorganize Springfield, however, he is not aware of anything that has been confirmed. He suggested that a request be submitted from the Chair of the Commission to Kirby Cottrell to invite him to speak to the Commission on this issue.
Chair OKeefe stated that if there is a reorganizational effort that will impact the INPC, she would like to have a meeting with the appropriate people before it happens. She felt it would be appropriate to have a meeting with Director Manning regarding this issue.
Carolyn Grosboll asked if all the Commissioners would attend this meeting, or would a committee be appointed to meet with Director Manning and others involved in this process.
Chair OKeefe stated that she would like to have any Commissioner who is able to join in such a meeting become an ad hoc committee to explore these issues. Chair OKeefe asked for volunteers, and stated that a meeting will be scheduled.
Keith Shank, Impact Assessment Section of the Division of Resource Review and Coordination in the Departments OREP, stated that his division is entrusted with the consultation process under Section 17 of the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act (INAPA), as well as Section 11 of the Endangered Species Protection Act (ESPA). He stated that he wanted to update the Commission on three things. Keith stated that he provided the Commissioners with a Report of Consultation Actions Regarding Nature Preserves and Land & Water Reserves FY 2001. In that fiscal year, the Department reviewed 8,412 proposed actions, and less than 1.5% of those were in the vicinity of a nature preserve with less than half of those being deemed to have potential adverse impacts to a nature preserve. The report gives a review of which nature preserves were involved in those cases, and it gives a review of which nature preserves are involved most often. This last fiscal year, Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve in Will County came up most often, followed by Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve in McHenry County. The numbers at the end of the report are not additives because there are always things in progress. The report also reflects No Action at some sites which indicates that, in their judgement, there were no potential adverse impacts. Approximately 32 sites were closed out which were felt to have potential adverse impacts, and in two-thirds of those the Department was moderately to very effective in reducing the risk to the nature preserve. Consultation can never eliminate the risk of damage or harm to a nature preserve, however they try to work with the INPC staff to make sure those kinds of things do not happen.
Keith stated that one of the things that was successfully achieved during the review process for the Black Beauty Coal Mine permit was that special conditions were placed on the NPDES permit regarding baseline biological survey data of the Little Vermilion River in the vicinity of the Vermilion Grove Mine. On August 29-30, 2001, his Division, Natural Heritage Division, and Mary Kay Solecki from the INPC conducted mussel sampling along the Little Vermilion River from the Carl Fliermans River Nature Preserve to below the same companys Riola Coal Mine on the Fayette drain. This was done to assist the IEPA to fulfill their commitment to the USEPA to independently access the biological condition of the stream in that area. The Black Beauty Coal Company is also providing its assessment of those types of things. A healthy population of mussels was found in Carl Fliermans River Nature Preserve. Within a mile downstream from the existing Riola Coal Mine, a population of 20 live listed mussels was found. While this does not allow us to say that the existing Riola Coal Mine is not having an adverse affect, it does allow us to say that the mine has been in operation for five years, and there appears to be a thriving community of listed mussels downstream from them. That mine has pending applications before the Department and the IEPA to expand its waste disposal areas, and we succeeded in providing some baseline data. This data should give us a good indication of what we can expect from the Vermilion Grove Mine. In the immediate vicinity of the Vermilion Grove Mine, very few mussels were found. There were no live mussels found in the tributary immediately adjacent to the mine. Only one live mussel was found downstream from it, and one listed live mussel was found upstream.
Keith updated the Commission on litigation involving Section 17 of the INAPA. He stated that approximately a year and a half ago the Glenview Prairie Preservation Project brought suit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Village of Glenview and the IDNR. The Glenview Prairie Preservation Project sought a writ of mandamus under Section 17 to compel the Village and the Department to conduct a consultation on a particular phase of development occurring at the former Glenview Naval Air Station in the vicinity of an INAI site called the Glenview Naval Air Station Prairie. On October 17, 2001, the Circuit Court handed down a decision ordering a writ of mandamus against the Village and the Department compelling us to consult with each other. This ruling was somewhat disappointing in that the Department provided over 1,400 pages of documents from the file which documented all of the exchanges with the Village of Glenview. The Court found that, although the Department had completely carried out its obligations under Section 11 of the ESPA, there was no evidence that satisfied that particular judge that the Department had consulted with respect to Section 17 of the INAPA. He felt this was peculiar because the Glenview Naval Air Station INAI is a Category II INAI site which means that it provides essential habitat for threatened and endangered species. The Department and the Village do not intend to appeal this ruling. The Village is required to submit to the Department a new detailed action report on this very narrow action which is the relocation of a road, and the Department will evaluate this in order to respond. This is the second litigation seeking a writ of mandamus under Section 17 over the last three years. Unlike the Lyman Woods case, this one is not anticipated to have any significant future effect on how the Department does business.
Commissioner Nevling asked if the Department was represented by an IDNR attorney or by the Attorney Generals Office.
Keith stated that the Department was represented by the Attorney Generals Office. The arguments in this case were complex. The plaintiffs were interpreting the Departments regulations under Part 1075 in ways that the Department has never interpreted them or applied them. The plaintiffs were making arguments before the Court contending that the consultation under Section 11 and the consultation under Section 17 have to be separate and follow on parallel lines. It has always been the Departments practice and intention, with the way Part 1075 has been written, to conduct one consultation that satisfies applications under both Acts. He feels that it will satisfy the Court as long as both statutes are sited in the correspondence. There have been approximately 50 different projects that the Department has reviewed over the last six years at Glenview Naval Air Station, and this is the one that was challenged.
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal to register an addition to Cache River Land and Water Reserve. The existing Cache River Land and Water Reserve, owned by the IDNR, includes 9,274.89 acres in Johnson and Pulaski counties located within the Cache River Watershed in southern Illinois. The Cache River basin contains over 20 unique plant communities, representative of the Coastal Plain Natural Division, 128 species of native breeding birds, 49 species of mammals, 32 amphibian species and 43 reptile species. The proposed addition (five separate tracts) will add 1,092.27 acres to the Land and Water Reserve and allow for the restoration of bottomland hardwood forest and forested wetlands. Wetland restoration on these tracts will reduce erosion and improve water quality and reforestation will reduce fragmentation of a relatively uninterrupted 6,000-acre forest providing habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species. Hunting, trapping and recreational activities will be allowed as described in the management schedule.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked how much distance separates the two parcels.
Judy responded that several tracts are at the north end of Heron Pond, and one is at the south end of Heron Pond. All tracts are contiguous to the natural area that we already have protected. One tract is in the Lower Cache River unit to the south. This is a huge site, but they are all connected.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of an addition to Cache River Land and Water Reserve in Johnson and Pulaski counties, as described in the proposal presented under Item 7 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Carolyn Grosboll gave each Commissioner an amended Management Schedule and Goals for this site.
Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Liberty Prairie Foundation to register Rhyan Tract as a land and water reserve. The proposed Rhyan Tract Land and Water Reserve, owned by the Liberty Prairie Foundation, is a 15.8-acre mosaic of upland and wetland habitats, typical of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The proposed reserve includes mature and successional bottomland and upland forests, a centrally-located pond, a degraded sedge meadow, and a stream corridor that are hydrologically linked with nearby Almond Marsh Nature Preserve. The proposed Rhyan Tract Land and Water Reserve is included within the INAI boundary for Almond Marsh (#1253) and is considered an important adjunct to nearby Almond Marsh Nature Preserve. The state-listed Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) and Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) have been recorded nesting in Almond Marsh. The Rhyan Tract was purchased, in part, with funds from the IDNR Conservation 2000 (C-2000) program. The C-2000 program requires the land to be registered as a land and water reserve or protected by a conservation easement. Registration will protect an area included on the INAI for Almond Marsh, buffer Almond Marsh Nature Preserve and its watershed, and protect an open space/riparian corridor linking Oak Openings Nature Preserve with Almond Marsh Nature Preserve. The Liberty Prairie Foundation plans to convey the property to the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) in the future.
Steven stated that one of the provisions of the C-2000 grant was that a phase 1 archeological survey must be conducted before restoration and management activities take place. This information was included in the revised Management Schedule and Goals that were distributed to each Commissioner. Restoration and management will not occur until the IDNR has conducted the phase 1 archeological survey.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Drucker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Rhyan Tract in Lake County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
(Actually presented after Item 10)
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal to register Ft. Massac as a land and water reserve. The proposed Fort Massac Land and Water Reserve, owned by the IDNR, encompasses 200 acres within Fort Massac State Park in Massac County. This proposed land and water reserve is dominated by wet bottomland forest, representative of the Bottomlands Section of the Coastal Plain Natural Division, and includes the 8-acre Fort Massac West Natural Area (INAI #738). The state-threatened water elm (Planera aquatica) is common here along with a population of the state-endangered Boykins dioclea (Galactia mohlenbrockii). The presence of a perennial stream, high-quality bottomland forest and state and federally-endangered and threatened species warrants the areas protection. Registration of this area will preserve one of the few remaining examples of a bottomland community within the first terrace of floodplain of the Ohio River in Illinois.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Ft. Massac in Massac County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he was at this site recently, and he noticed that the water elms are spreading.
(Actually presented after Item 8)
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal to register Cooper Park Wetlands as a land and water reserve. Cooper Park Wetlands, owned by the Fon du Lac Park District in East Peoria, is a 55-acre site adjacent to lower Peoria Lake. Cooper Park Wetlands consists of a 16-acre tract and a 39-acre tract separated by a narrow gravel road. Both tracts are part of the 90-acre Cooper Park North Natural Area, which is recognized as a Category II INAI site (#1139) for a persistent population of the state and federally-threatened decurrent false aster (Boltonia decurrens). The proposed reserve supports plant communities (floodplain forest, marsh, and shrub swamp) representative of the Illinois River Section of the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River Bottomlands Natural Division. The decurrent false aster, present at this site in small groups and scattered individuals, is thought to be uniquely adapted to the natural flood cycle of the Illinois River which passes through lower Peoria Lake. Spring floods help to disperse seeds and remove competing vegetation, which in some areas, results in the open, high-light conditions that are beneficial to the decurrent false aster. Restoration management of Cooper Park Wetlands will focus on improving and maintaining natural wetland communities as well as enhancing habitat conditions for the decurrent false aster.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he is familiar with the area, and he has counted the Boltonia decurrens there many times. He agrees that it is a worthy area for registration.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Cooper Park Wetlands in Tazewell County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
(Actually presented after Item 9)
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Mud Island addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. Mud Island is a 119-acre floodplain forest island located within the Keokuk Pool of the Mississippi River, approximately two river miles south of Lock and Dam 20. The island, acquired by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 1970, is being proposed as an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve (dedicated in 1975). The proposed addition lies within the Cedar Glen Kibbe Macrosite (INAI # 565 and 152). The island serves as a night roost and feeding site for a large population of wintering Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Directly north and northeast lies Mud Island Mussel Sanctuary, which contains 29 species of native mussels including one state-endangered mussel, sheepnose (Plethobasus cyphyus), and four state-threatened mussels, purple wartyback (Cyclonais tubercaulata), butterfly (Ellipsaria lineolata), ebonyshell (Fusconaia ebena), and black sandshell (Ligumia recta). A heron rookery is established on the island supporting 60 to 100 nesting pairs of Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and Great Egret (Casmerodius albus). The state-endangered lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and the state-threatened river otter (Lontra canadensis) have been observed in the river channel adjacent to Mud Island. This addition, combined with the Kibbe Bottoms addition (259.37 acres) being proposed for final approval at this meeting under Item 18, will increase the size of Cedar Glen Nature Preserve from 188 acres to 564.37 acres.
Angella stated that this is a partnership of three different landowners. While this dedication proposal is from TNC, Western Illinois University (WIU) and the IDNR also own land within this complex. Approximately 1,700 of the 3,000 acres is currently under conservation ownership. WIU has a field station where they monitor wildlife and have done mussel surveys.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked why was Mud Island not originally included in the Kibbe Bottoms dedication proposal.
Angella stated that there was some question regarding the hunting rights. Someone submitted a lease agreement to TNC saying that they had hunting rights. After some investigation, it was determined that the lease was not valid.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried, with Drucker and Nevling abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Mud Island addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve in Hancock County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Ed Anderson presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Apple River Canyon Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve encompasses 5 tracts totaling approximately 450 acres within Apple River Canyon State Park, owned by the IDNR, in JoDaviess County. The proposed preserve includes dry prairie, dry dolomite prairie, seep, dolomite cliff communities and dolomite exposures representative of the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division. The adjoining ravines and upper portions of the canyon are characterized by dry and dry-mesic upland forest communities with species exemplifying the regions boreal affinities. At least nine endangered and four threatened plant species are known to occur within the proposed nature preserve along with the state-threatened river otter. Portions of the Apple River have been excluded from this proposal, but will be proposed for registration as a land and water reserve in the future.
Ed acknowledged Jeff Hensal, Site Superintendent at Apple River Canyon State Park. Ed stated that Jeff also oversees Wards Grove Nature Preserve, Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve, and Tapley Woods Land and Water Reserve.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that this is one of the richest floristic areas in the State of Illinois. He asked about the 10 foot boundary along the shores that is being excluded and would the cliff community be dedicated.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the 10 foot boundary exclusion is where topography allows with the idea being that if someone was canoeing, they could pull the canoe onto the bank and have ample room to do that. This area will be registered as a land and water reserve. The cliffs are included in the dedication.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Apple River Canyon in Jo Daviess County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Chair OKeefe stated that this is a large tract that is being dedicated as a nature preserve by the IDNR, and the Commission really appreciates that. The Commission is looking forward to the final dedication.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Trout Park Nature Preserve. Trout Park Nature Preserve is a 26-acre site owned by the City of Elgin. Trout Park was recognized by the INAI for high-quality forested fen natural communities (#625), representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Other natural communities include a series of fens and seeps, several spring runs associated with the strong ground water discharge, and elements of mesic and dry-mesic upland forest. In addition, four state-listed endangered or threatened plant species have been recorded from Trout Park Nature Preserve. This proposal recommends dedication of two separate platted city lots totaling approximately 0.8 acres. One lot is located at 530 Glenwood Trail and was recently acquired by the City of Elgin. The other lot is located at 486 Glenwood Trail and was recently acquired from Mrs. Alice R. Macy by the Fox Valley Land Foundation. Dedication of these two lots will formally protect undisturbed, high-quality natural communities, preserve important ground water discharge zones, and buffer Trout Park Nature Preserve from incompatible land uses. These properties are also fragile and highly vulnerable to degradation from new development.
Steven stated that there are provisions in the proposal that provide for routing of a water main through the proposed area by the City of Elgin and repair of erosion associated with a failed storm water system. This proposal provides for the City of Elgin, working with the Fox Valley Foundation and the INPC, to restore those two sites.
Commissioner Drucker recognized Alice Macy for her contribution to help protect this incredibly important area.
Steven stated that he would relay that message to Mrs. Macy.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Trout Park Nature Preserve in Kane County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Jim Anderson presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Fourth Lake Fen Nature Preserve. The proposed Fourth Lake Fen Nature Preserve is owned and managed by the LCFPD and is located within the Fourth Lake Forest Preserve. Fourth Lake Fen is a large wetland complex recognized by the INAI (#652) for its high-quality calcareous floating mat, sedge meadow and marsh, representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The grade A calcareous floating mat is one of ten in the State, and provides habitat for six state-listed endangered or threatened plant species and four animal species. The INAI boundary for Fourth Lake Fen was recently expanded to include additional endangered and threatened species locations and Rollins Road Savanna (which was added to the INAI as a Category II site in 1999). Since the INAI sites are contiguous, the site is now referred to by the INAI as the Fourth Lake Fen - Rollins Road Savanna. The LCFPD proposes to dedicate approximately 255 acres of the wetland basin as the Fourth Lake Fen Nature Preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site in 1982 (90th Meeting, Resolution #681). The Fourth Lake Fen proposal is being brought back to the Commission for preliminary approval because so much time has gone by since the last action.
Steven stated that it has been a pleasure working with Jim Anderson and the staff of the LCFPD.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Fourth Lake Fen in Lake County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Jim Anderson presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Lyons Prairie and Woods Nature Preserve. The proposed Lyons Prairie and Woods Nature Preserve, owned by the LCFPD, is approximately 150 acres and is part of the 264.13-acre Lyons Woods Forest Preserve. Lyons Woods is included on the INAI (#1250) as a Category II site. The proposed nature preserve contains mesic, wet-mesic and wet prairie, upland dry-mesic forest, and dry-mesic savanna natural communities, typical of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division, and a successional old field community. In addition, the site supports the federally-threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), and three additional state-endangered or threatened plant species. More than 150 species of vascular plants have been recorded at the site. The quality of the natural communities, as well as species richness for each of those natural communities, will continue to improve with management.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Lyons Prairie and Woods in Lake County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Chair OKeefe stated that the INPC appreciates the work of the LCFPD and their efforts to dedicate properties.
A lunch break was taken from 12:35 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Jack White presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Storment Hauss Nature Preserve. The proposed Storment Hauss Nature Preserve is a 64.5-acre tract in Monroe County. The site is listed on the INAI (#1617) because it has 63.9 acres of high-quality forest and two copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) dens (classified as an unusual concentration of fauna). The site consists of a series of ridges and ravines with a sandstone canyon and a small creek, representative of the Mount Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The vegetation is a magnificent oak-hickory forest with an unusual assemblage of sun-loving woodland plants. Forty-two species of reptiles and amphibians have been found in or adjacent to the preserve area. The tract is owned by David L. Storment, who has willed the property to the State of Illinois. Mr. Storment wishes to ensure the sites permanent protection by dedicating it as an Illinois Nature Preserve.
Commissioner Drucker stated that he would like to meet Mr. Storment when this site comes up for final approval for dedication.
Jack stated that if this site is brought back to the Commission for final approval at the February, 2002, meeting, Mr. Storment should be able to attend.
Diane Tecic stated that she has enjoyed working with Mr. Storment. Diane stated that she gave Mr. Storment all the information regarding the different forms of protection available through the INPC, and he quickly decided that he wanted this site to be a nature preserve. She said that Mr. Storment feels strongly about dedicating this property, then eventually giving it to the State when he passes on.
Commissioner Nevling asked if Mr. Storment was asked if he wanted to hyphenate the name of this nature preserve since it is a combination of his name and his mothers maiden name.
Jack stated that Mr. Storment specifically requested that there be no punctuation in the name of the site.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Drucker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Storment Hauss in Monroe County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Chair OKeefe stated that this is one of those truly exceptional things that the INPC takes great pleasure in, and she would like to recognize those private landowners who are willing to make that kind of contribution to the State.
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Brimfield Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve. Located on the border of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division and the Galesburg Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division of Illinois, Brimfield Railroad Prairie consists of a 6-acre former railroad corridor. The site was purchased by Dr. Harold and Cheryl Pauli Gardner in 1992, for the purpose of protecting the best prairie remnant along the abandoned railroad line. Dr. Gardner has put forth tremendous effort over the past 10 years to rehabilitate this site by re-establishing a burn regime, interseeding the prairie with seeds collected from nearby prairie remnants, and by removing invasive exotic plants. Though not included on the INAI, the site currently contains approximately 115 species of native prairie grasses and forbs typical of a grade B mesic black soil prairie. Four small populations of the state-endangered queen of the prairie (Filipendula rubra) have been established on this site.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked who would maintain this site.
Angella stated that the landowner would be the one to maintain the site.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if this is more of a restoration since there have been plants interseeded.
Angella stated that there is no way to know exactly how much has been restored through the interseeding. She would like to have some guidelines regarding what is a pure restoration when starting from a cornfield and starting with a site that already has several prairie species. Angella stated that it was her belief that there were over 100 native prairie species at this site to begin with. At this time there are 115 native prairie grasses and forbes.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if Dr. Gardner would object to adding restoration into the name of the site.
Angella stated that she would like to know the definition of restoration before talking with Dr. Gardner about a name change. She feels that this site was rehabilitated as an original prairie of lower quality. If the site does fit into this definition, she did not foresee Dr. Gardner having a problem with adding that to the name of the nature preserve.
Chair OKeefe stated that this topic should be considered at the Strategic Planning Meeting because it is an important issue to think about. She feels that this may be precedent setting because there is only one other nature preserve that is a restoration. The idea of dedicating nature preserves that have had a lot of human intervention is important, but she feels that the Commission needs to think about it more. There is such an interest in restoration. She asked if the Commission should be differentiating and should there be different criteria when looking at a restored area versus one that has had very little human intervention.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he feels this site qualifies for nature preserve status, but he wanted to know if the name should not indicate the amount of work that Dr. Gardner put into this area to get it back to this shape.
Randy Heidorn stated that he agreed with Commissioner Schwegman in terms of the dedication. He feels that it deserves protection in the sense that there has been a considerable amount of work done in the restoration, but he feels that it is important to make sure it is very clear in the record that the area has had a fair number of species brought into it. It was his concern that 20 years from now scientists would consider this area as typical of a natural area in this region. This site has been manipulated to a degree by adding additional species. Another concern is if we get ourselves into the mode where we believe and put an area on the same status as original when it has been recreated or manipulated to a large extent we will place the INPC in a difficult position. This thinking opens the door for the thought that if a site is lost, another could be created.
Chair OKeefe stated that all of these points are valid, and it is also her concern that the site that has had very little intervention and is representative of an original prairie should not have its status detracted from. There is a difference, and it should be categorized. She would like to have this issue explored further.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Brimfield Railroad Prairie in Peoria County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Kibbe Bottoms addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, owned by TNC, was dedicated in February, 1975, as the 54th nature preserve. Cedar Glen Nature Preserve consists of 145 acres with a 43-acre buffer. TNC proposes to increase the size of the Nature Preserve by dedicating an additional 252 acres of bottomland forest, located north of the present Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. The current Nature Preserve, as well as the proposed addition, lies within the Cedar Glen Kibbe Macrosite (INAI #565 and 152). Significant features of this macrosite include: high to moderate quality floodplain forests, dry-mesic oak-hickory woodlands, barrens, hill prairies, savanna, Bald Eagle winter roosts, a mussel bed, a heron rookery, a turtle hibernaculae, and breeding habitat for rare fish. State-threatened or endangered species found within the macrosite are: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) winter roosts, river otter (Lontra canadensis), lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), sheepnose mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus), butterfly mussel (Ellipsaria lineolata), black sandshell (Ligumia recta), leafy bulrush (Scirpus polyphyllus), drooping sedge (Carex prasina), and pale false foxglove (Agalinis skinneriana). The INPC previously granted preliminary approval for the dedication of 143 acres as nature preserve and 69 acres of buffer of this bottomland area in 1974 at the 53rd Meeting (Resolution #346). Over time, natural succession and protection of this area has allowed the natural communities to improve such that the entire area now qualifies for nature preserve status. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 169th Meeting (Resolution #1559) in October, 2000.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Schwegman, and carried, with Drucker and Nevling abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Kibbe Bottoms addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve in Hancock County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Wadsworth Prairie Nature Preserve. Wadsworth Prairie Nature Preserve is owned by the LCFPD and was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the Commissions 84th Meeting, June, 1981 (Resolution #591). The proposed Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna addition totals approximately 187 acres, of which 172 acres are proposed for dedication as nature preserve and 15 acres proposed as nature preserve buffer. The Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna addition contains savanna, marsh, mesic prairie, and wet prairie representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division and protects populations of the federally-listed eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), three state-listed plant species and two state-listed animal species. The site is included on the INAI (#649). The proposed Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna addition will increase the Nature Preserve from 267 acres to 454 acres. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 172nd Meeting (Resolution #1602) in August, 2001.
Steven stated that within the 15-acre nature preserve buffer, the LCFPD reserves the right to route and construct a regional trail. This was outlined in the preliminary proposal for dedication.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Wadsworth Prairie and Savanna addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Wadsworth Prairie Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Debbie Newman, on behalf of The Nature Institute, presented a proposal for final approval for the Bachman Farm addition of nature preserve buffer to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve. The Nature Institute proposes to dedicate 10.7 acres known as the Bachman Farm, as an addition of nature preserve buffer to the Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve. The proposed addition also partly borders the recently dedicated 7.25-acre Poole Farm addition of nature preserve. The Bachman Farm, located in the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division, is a key parcel within the watershed of the stream that separates the Mississippi Sanctuary and Oblate Fathers Woods Nature Preserve, and is currently comprised of mesic upland forest and fallow pasture. The complex of adjoining lands in the area, including John M. Olin Nature Preserve, Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary Nature Preserve buffer, Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve, Poole Farm Nature Preserve addition and Oblate Fathers Woods Nature Preserve comprise a total of 400 acres. This addition will increase the amount of contiguous preserved land to 411 acres. The preservation of the Bachman Farm will also add more buffer to the nearby Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) winter roost on the John M. Olin Nature Preserve, and will preserve critical habitat for the state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), which is found in the vicinity of the property. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 172nd Meeting (Resolution #1603) in August, 2001.
Debbie stated she would like to acknowledge and thank The Nature Institute for its ongoing efforts to preserve land in that area.
It was moved by DeLaurenttis, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the Bachman Farm addition of nature preserve buffer to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve in Madison County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
The dedication proposal for Amberin Ash Ridge addition of nature preserve buffer to Boone Creek Fen Nature Preserve was deferred.
Steven Byers introduced Deborah Staley, the owner of Amberin Ash Ridge. He stated that he will work with Deborah to revise the plat of survey and bring this site back to the Commission at a later date.
Deborah Staley thanked the Commission for allowing her to participate in the meeting. She said she wished more potential dedicating landowners could come to a Commission meeting to see how well the process works and to see how critical private landowners are in the process. She feels that she is a typical example of a private landowner, and she feels one of the most critical issues is management of the land. She also feels that the name of a nature preserve is significant. In her case, the name of the proposed nature preserve will be her childrens names. Amber is her middle daughter, age 16, Erin is her oldest, age 20, and Ashley just turned 12. She stated that she is looking forward to coming back to the Commission for final approval of her land in the near future.
Chair OKeefe thanked Deborah for her comments and stated that the Commission looks forward to her return.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of the McHenry County Conservation District addition to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. Lake in the Hills Fen was recognized by the INAI (#1011) for high-quality calcareous floating mat, graminoid fen, low shrub fen, calcareous seep, sedge meadow and dry gravel prairie communities representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Collectively, these communities support 19 state-listed endangered or threatened species. On August 1, 1989, the INPC granted preliminary approval for Lake in the Hills Fen (formally dedicated as Spring Hill Farm Fen) at its 124th Meeting (Resolution #1012 and 1013). The proposal included 133.8 acres owned by the Village of Lake in the Hills and 73.3 acres owned by the IDNR. Final approval was granted at the Commissions 125th Meeting (Resolution #1022 and 1023) on November 14, 1989. The proposed 4.55-acre addition to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve was recently included on the INAI in recognition of its high-quality graminoid fen and calcareous seep communities. The site supports six state-listed endangered or threatened plant species and one state-listed threatened animal species. The proposed addition, frequently referred to as the Rothschild tract, is part of a larger tract of land acquired by the McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD) in March, 1998. Dedication of this addition will preserve high-quality graminoid fen and calcareous seep communities of state-wide ecological significance, provide essential buffer from incompatible land uses, and preserve important ground water resources. The proposed 4.55-acre addition will increase the size of the Nature Preserve from 207.1 to 211.65 acres. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 170th Meeting (Resolution #1571) in February, 2001.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the McHenry County Conservation District addition to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve in McHenry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Ren-Dill Shale Glade Nature Preserve. The proposed Ren-Dill Shale Glade Nature Preserve is a 40-acre site owned by Vicki Miles and her mother, Lenita Rolfing. The area includes two-thirds of the Berryville Shale Glade Natural Area (INAI #854) and is located in the Southern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The proposed Ren-Dill Shale Glade Nature Preserve contains one acre of the six acres of grade A shale glade left in Illinois. Shale is most commonly located below the soil surface. Shale glades are a unique natural community where shale is exposed providing the substrate for an unusual plant community. The shale glade community is characterized by little bluestem (Schizachrium scoparium), poverty grass (Danthonia spicata), and a mixture of prairie and woodland forbs. The surrounding dry and dry-mesic upland forest contain post oak (Quercus stellata), black jack oak (Quercus marilandica), farkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) and black and white oak (Quercus velutina and Quercus alba). As one of the few shale glades left in Illinois, the Miles family wishes to preserve this rare natural area for future generations to learn from and enjoy. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 172nd Meeting (Resolution #1604) in August, 2001.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Ren-Dill Shale Glade in Union County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 23 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Chair OKeefe stated that this is the 301st nature preserve dedication, and it is particularly exciting because it is one that is owned by private citizens. Protecting privately owned land is the heart of the INPCs work.
Commissioner Drucker stated that it is the private individuals that are the most inspirational. They come forward after they have taken care of their land and voluntarily seek the legal protection that dedicates their land as a State nature preserve. He asked Judy to thank Vicky Miles on behalf of the Commission and the citizens of Illinois for her and her familys efforts to preserve something that benefits us all.
Commissioner Drucker asked how many acres protected by the INPC already had some form of protection in place before being brought to the Commission. He wanted to make sure that INAI sites not already under some sort of protection are not neglected.
Chair OKeefe stated that after the dedication of the 300th nature preserve she realized that only about 75 of those preserves were actually held by private owners, and with the 40th anniversary of the Commission coming up, a goal should be set to have 100 by the 40th anniversary. It then occurred to her that it had taken 38 years to get 75, and she did not think that 25 more privately owned areas could be dedicated as nature preserves in the next two years. After some thought, she wanted to suggest that this could be an issue to be discussed at the Strategic Planning Meeting. She suggested that a report be developed with a basic listing of which sites were in private ownership, when they were dedicated, the acreage, and the circumstances of how they came to the attention of the staff. This report would also look at the privately owned land and water reserves to see which of those meet the criteria for a nature preserve.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that she feels that this is an important issue. She stated that there are currently approximately 1,200 sites on the INAI, and approximately two-thirds of those are in some sort of conservation ownership, whether it is a public agency or a private not-for-profit. That leaves a fair number that are in private ownership that we need to take a look at.
Randy Heidorn stated that the people who were supposed to present this Agenda item are not here. Randy stated that there was a permit application submitted to the INPC from the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District. They would like to do management which includes seed collecting on Wilkinson-Renwick Marsh Nature Preserve. Some of the seed is to be used within the Nature Preserve, and additional portions of that seed is going to be bartered to a contractor. In exchange for the contractor doing the work on the Nature Preserve, the contractor would get the seed and be able to put it into his commercial operation as a nursery source.
The Commission has previously authorized the removal of marketable maples and other invasives from Baber Woods Nature Preserve. In that situation there was an invasive problem with maples and other trees in the area. As part of the management, the trees were removed. The Commission authorized the removal of those trees, and the contractor, as his benefit, took the marketable timber and sold it. In those discussions, staff was instructed not to authorize similar practices without first bringing the matter to the Commission.
Randy stated that this situation is different from the Baber Woods Nature Preserve request. In this case, a protected resource, which is the prairie seed within Wilkinson-Renwick Marsh Nature Preserve, is being bartered for restoration services. Protected resources are held in the public trust by the INPC. To date, it has been the position of staff and the Commission that these resources should not be exploited for commercial purposes. Approval of this request would change that direction, and we would be allowing this next step in using these resources.
Randy Nyboer asked if the contractor would be using a progeny of the seed rather than the seed itself for the commercial use.
Randy Heidorn stated that this would be a potential use of the seed. The contractor was going to use the seed to restore an area that is on his property. Prior to this time, the INPC has always required a person to put seeds collected into restoration projects that have had some level of protection. These restorations would not have a level of protection. This commodity would be used in exchange for services. Randy stated that he is uncomfortable making this presentation because it was his opinion that this was not the direction the Commission should go.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he agreed with Randy on this. He asked if Randy knew why the people scheduled to talk on this issue did not come to the meeting because he would have a few questions for them if they were here.
Randy Heidorn stated that he does not know why Terry Hannan and Jack Pizzo were not here to present this Agenda item. An attempt was made to contact them by telephone, however, that has not been successful.
Jerry Paulson asked if this was part of a C-2000 grant that was obtained for the restoration.
Kelly Neal stated that the permit request did not indicate that it was part of a C-2000 grant, and she is not aware of it being a part of a grant.
Chair OKeefe asked for a motion to grant approval or a motion to table the item so Terry Hannan and Jack Pizzo would be free to ask to be on the next Agenda.
Commissioner Allread stated that she feels collaborations are very important, but she would agree with the staff recommendation that whenever exceptions are granted, it opens the door that becomes complex. The INPCs regulations are firm, however, these individuals would be able to provide more information. She stated that at the present time she did not feel that the Commission had enough information to make a decision on this issue.
Commissioner Drucker stated that he would rather see the staff spend their time looking for areas that are unprotected and protect them rather than negotiating the appropriate barter for individuals. He would like to hear from the people involved in this situation before making any decision on the matter.
It was moved by DeLaurentiis, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the Commission table this item until requested by Mr. Hannan and Mr. Pizzo to rehear this issue.
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on the Illinois Beach asbestos issue. Discussions continue among the USEPA, IEPA, Attorney Generals Office, IDNR, and INPC as far as the ultimate cleanup of the Nature Preserve portion. The IDNR has an unsigned agreement that has been negotiated with Johns Manville. Details regarding the exact dollar amount still need to be resolved. Regarding the settling pond at Johns Manville to be used as a confined disposal facility for Waukegan Harbor dredge material, the INPC staff prepared a letter approximately a year ago to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) detailing what things would be necessary before the Commission could rule on whether or not it would have an adverse impact on Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve. The Commission has this authority under the IEPAs landfill siting regulations. There has been no response from the USACE. A meeting was scheduled in October, however, it was postponed. There has been some discussion that there may be change in the approach that Waukegan Citizens Advisory Group is going to follow.
Randy Heidorn stated that when Padgett Pin Oak Woods was registered, the owners retained the mineral rights on the property. The owners agreed to limit the oil exploration lease to a one year period. The agenda packet contains a copy of the oil lease which the owners of the property have asked the Commission to sign and become a party to the oil lease. After review of this lease, the major difference is that the owners have now asked for a two year lease when at the time of the registration a one year lease was requested. The two year lease was requested because there has been a considerable demand placed on drilling equipment. The owners will not be able to get the drill rig there to do the exploration prior to the one year time limit. Randy stated that the other provisions in the lease are acceptable to the staff. Even though the owners had the right to sign the lease without approval of the Commission, the owners are asking the Commission to approve the agreement. This is an example of how the landowner wants to work with the Commission by presenting this to the INPC for its approval.
Randy Nyboer suggested because the landowner is not going to drill for another year, why not issue the lease at the time of the drilling and go from a year beyond that date.
Randy Heidorn stated that the language in the original registration agreement was that the drilling would take place within one year of the registration.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the landowner has been having problems getting the equipment to do the drilling because exploration is in demand at this time.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the Commissions approval is needed to proceed with the two year lease.
Randy Heidorn stated that the landowner did not have to offer the Commission the opportunity to be a part of this agreement. He stated that he feels it is a sign of good faith on the part of the landowner by bringing this to the Commission to get the approval. By doing that, it gives the Commission a certain amount of authority that it would not normally have had.
Chair OKeefe stated that even though the landowner did not need the INPC to be a party to the lease, they need the Commission to approve the lease because it is a two year lease rather than a one year lease that was originally approved at the time of registration.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the two year oil lease for Padgett Pin Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve as described in the proposal presented under Item 26 of the Agenda for the 173rd Meeting.
Commissioner Allread reported on the 300th nature preserve celebration. The celebration took place on September 5, 2001, at White Pines Forest State Park. The weather was perfect, and there was a wonderful turnout. Legislators were notified of this 300th milestone via letter. A theme was developed, Saving Illinois Natural Treasures, and that was placed on the coffee mugs and water bottles. These items were popular and went quickly. A booklet was developed to summarize where the Commission has been since it was established in 1963. Every property owner, donor, supporter, and former Commissioner was listed in the booklet. She stated that TNC worked closely with the INPC to get the donors listed in the booklet. The participation of the 50 school children from Polo and Director Manning capped off the day. The celebration concluded with tours of White Pines Forest Nature Preserve.
Also incorporated into the celebration was the unveiling of the new INPC signs. She stated that Randy Heidorn spearheaded that effort. The new signs will benefit the Commission for years to come and will enable the public to recognize what nature preserves are and why they are significant. Each nature preserve will have a sign that is customized to that site to explain why it is special.
Commissioner Allread stated that the web site has been modernized, and it is very informative. These updates will continue as the Commission builds its public image of what the INPC is and what it does.
The 40th anniversary of the INPC is approaching, and we are going to be building on the momentum of the 300th dedication. A press kit was developed, and it contains a map identifying the location of the 300 nature preserves. There is also a summary of what the nature preserves are. This was an introduction to the media that had expressed an interest in doing stories in the coming months.
Commissioner Allread stated that these efforts were underwritten thanks to former and current Commissioners. She stated that a big thanks go to Vicky Ranney, former Chair and Commissioner of the INPC. Commissioner Allread stated that Vicky put her heart and soul into this project and was instrumental in raising approximately $16,000. Vicky single handily brought in a big portion of that with a $10,000 contribution from Liberty Prairie Foundation. Vicky was a wonderful partner in this, and we were very pleased to have her there at the celebration. The expenses for this celebration were rather minimal because several things were donated. The remaining funds (approximately $12,000) will be earmarked for special projects. One of the projects is a four color brochure. A preview of this brochure should be available at the 174th Meeting of the INPC. The second project will be additional updates to the web site that may require an outside consultant. The updates will include graphics that will allow the user to click on a map and go to a particular nature preserve for further information. A portion of the remaining funds will also support the signage program.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that TNC helped in a great way with this celebration by serving as the entity to collect the donations. Carolyn stated that TNC provided this service at no charge, and this was extremely appreciated. This is another example of the partnership that the INPC has with TNC.
Commissioner Drucker stated that it was nice of Carolyn and Commissioner Allread to recognize TNC, but just because TNC was one of the organizations present and somehow involved with the founding of the INPC should in no way imply that TNC is any more special than any other environmental organization in the State. As a trustee of TNC, he wanted to make this abundantly clear.
Chair OKeefe stated that the list of partners is great, and she thanked Commissioner Drucker for being gracious in his comments.
Al Wilson stated that he wanted to thank the INPC Commissioners, staff, and IDNR staff. He feels that so much has been accomplished for Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve this year. The Material Services property on the north perimeter has been acquired by the IDNR. On the west perimeter, there is a conservation district area. There are negotiations by the McHenry County Conservation District to acquire part of the Rothschild property. He stated that it is his understanding that a price has been agreed upon, but they are waiting on a survey. On the east end of the Nature Preserve, the berm separating the Village park lake from the wetlands in the Nature Preserve has been totally reconstructed. This project was supervised by John Nelson. The contractor that was hired by the Village did a first-class job. Al stated that John was able to get the sanitary district to find an alternate route for the replacement of a pipe that runs through the Nature Preserve. The bottom line is that the perimeter of Lake in the Hills Nature Preserve is now going to be secured. In addition, three species of plants have been added to the inventory and the total is now 409. One of the new ones is the flat-leaved bladderwort (Utricularia intermedia), which is state endangered. The floristic value is now 100.6. An old farm road, which is approximately 50 years old, went down through the wetland and across the stream and out the other side. Al stated that Brad Semel was able to persuade the Conservation District to remove the old farm road by utilizing some equipment time that they had already purchased. The gravel in the wetlands was approximately eight feet deep. The gravel was removed and used to fill and restore a hillside that had been previously mined. The peat has been spread out, and the seeps are now going all the way across the area of the removed road. A cover crop was planted, and seeds from the surrounding wetlands are being gathered. He stated that this is a successful wetland restoration.
Jerry Paulson stated that he wanted to convey gratitude from Barbara Fell for the recognition that was given to George Fell at the 300th Nature Preserve Dedication Celebration. Jerry stated that Barbara was thrilled with the event and the accomplishment that it represents for the entire nature preserves system that was created almost 40 years ago.
Jerry updated the Commission on the George Fell history project. He stated that he met recently with Don McFall, Brian Anderson, Carl Becker, and the researcher that has been hired to put together the initial research for this project to look at George Fells history in relationship to the natural areas movement. This project is in the early stages of pulling together the resource material and interviewing different people. Once that is done, another meeting will be held to put together an outline for a proposal for a publication. The group is leaning more towards a history of the nature preserves system and the role that Illinois played in the entire natural area movement, as well as Georges role in that as opposed to a straight biography. If the funding is available, there has been some talk about getting some of Michael Jeffords beautiful colored photographs of different nature preserves and making this a coffee table book to give it a much wider appeal. He stated that he will update the Commission at its 174th Meeting.
John Rutherford, President of the JoDaviess County Natural Areas Guardians, welcomed the Commission to JoDaviess County. He stated that his organization was thrilled to have the INPC explore the County and learn to love it like they do. He stated that he receives a copy of the minutes from each INPC meeting, but that does not compare with the live performance. He feels that the INPC is a very dedicated organization with very dedicated staff. An informal group consisting of TNC, Illinois Audubon Society, NLI, Natural Areas Guardians, and JoDaviess Conservation Foundation have been cooperating to focus in on three major areas. These areas are the Lost Mound area, Hanover Bluffs, and Apple River Canyon. All resources will be directed to these three major projects, and the Commissions help is appreciated.
Jack White stated that he was happy to see that the minutes from the 172nd Meeting of the INPC were corrected. He stated that three people told him that they noticed that the minutes from that meeting were not correct, so he wanted to set the record straight. Jack stated that before the correction, the minutes reflected a misstatement that he thought that the original INAI had found everything. He stated that nothing could be farther from the truth. To the contrary, he is very much concerned about the fact that a lot of places have been overlooked and, even more seriously, more natural areas are known about but have not been listed yet. The minutes also stated that he thought that no sites had been added since the original inventory had been finished, and this was a misstatement. When the project was finished in 1977, he filled out the form for site 1089. Just last month he and Diane Tecic put together a nomination for site 1617. That latest nomination was considered at the September, 2001 meeting of the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee (NAEC), which was the first time the NAEC meetings have been held about three months apart. He was happy to see that the Committee has now begun to meet on a quarterly basis. In addition to that, he would like to see much more than having sites brought in on an ad-hoc basis or a piecemeal basis. One of his biggest concerns about the INAI now is the quality of the information about sites that have been added in the recent many years. Two years ago, when getting ready for a talk, he wanted to summarize the acreage of the high-quality prairie known in Illinois, but the INAI data had so many limitations that he could not use it. If it were not for the untrue statements about him in the minutes, he was not going to bring up the INAI at this meeting. He had not intended to come to each Commission meeting and complain about the INAI. When he did address this topic at the May meeting, he felt that he may have stepped on some toes. He stated that he assumed that he might have some special standing to criticize the INAI project because he was the one who designed it and directed it in the first place. He stated that he was aware that the INAI criteria and procedures are being revised. He stated that he provided a lengthy review on the current draft 23 months ago. Earlier this year, he wrote a rough three page outline of what he would like to see done and why. His experience with the Storment Hauss proposal helped him to see that this site should not have been missed by the INAI. With the infrared aerial photography and other new technology that is now available, he would like to see a new staff trained and dedicated to screening sites around the State. He stated that he feels the current data base is holding us back.
Commissioner Drucker asked Jack how does one go about updating the INAI, what is involved in that process, what is involved in getting the funding for that, and how would he address those deficiencies.
Jack stated that the key point is where is the money going to come from. If there was money to hire and train the staff, then everything else would follow. He stated that he did not have a good answer on where the funding would come from.
Carolyn Grosboll asked Jack if he would envision doing a similar process of what was done in the 1970s when re-evaluating the entire State.
Jack stated, yes.
Chair OKeefe asked Jack if he feels that one staff person would be adequate to do that.
Jack stated that there were six or seven full-time people who worked for three years on the original INAI. There were also approximately 40 other part-time people along with approximately 200 volunteers who participated in this project. He stated that he was envisioning a similar process this time.
Judy Faulkner Dempsey stated that we need to be careful about the words that we use when talking about this subject. She said that she did not feel that Jack really means that what we have is no good as an inventory, but that it could be improved upon. Something that is said could be taken out of context.
Jack stated that he is glad that Judy said that because he does not mean to say anything that might be misconstrued as saying that the INAI is unreliable. He stated that it is his opinion that what we have is great up to a certain point. After the INAI was established, he and Judy were able to persuade the administrators of the Shawnee National Forest that 84 sites needed to be protected. Even though he criticizes the quality of some of the information on some of the sites, he is saying that there is a lot more that needs to be done. We hardly considered restoration potential during the original project. We only searched for high-quality sites which, in Illinois, means small sites. We now understand the importance of large sites, and we have the means to protect large sites. He stated that he would like to see an information system that would better feed into that. It is a matter of money, and he is not really proposing anything specific at this time.
Chair OKeefe stated that she has sat in on a lot of discussions with the Illinois Growth Task Force, and the Commission also recognized and supported the Local Legacy legislation that was proposed last year. Part of that is based on the importance of inventorying what is out there. She feels that this is going to be an area of continued interest. She stated that she is hearing a lot of different things, and she feels that the thoughts will need to come together on this. First there is looking at what we missed when this was originally put together, and the next thing is what has happened to the sites that were originally there and how many of them are gone or do they still qualify, and the third thing is what about the ones that were added. A determination would need to be made if the added sites are of the same quality and was the same rigid criteria used to incorporate them into the INAI. The fourth thing is about a new policy regarding restoration potential and should we be looking at larger sites. She feels that this is something that needs to be thought about strategically for the long term. That kind of commitment of resources involves more than the entire budget when looking at the number of people who eventually get involved.
Diane Tecic stated that in the intervening years between the original INAI and now, Illinois has changed a lot because there has been a lot of development. This could play a role in how these sites are viewed and graded. We may need to grade things a little differently because it is a different time.
Chair OKeefe stated that these are the underlying, critical policy issues that shape what the scientists are looking for. She feels that this was a good discussion, and she sees a good effort going on within the IDNR. The question is can we afford to put more resources into it, do we need to, and do we want to change the way we are going about it.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.