(subject to approval of Commission at 179th Meeting)
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Tuesday, February 4, 2003 - 10:00 a.m.
Hancock Co. Geissler Savanna Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Jasper Co. Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Jo Daviess Co. Apple River Canyon Land and Water Reserve, Registration
LaSalle Co. Camp River Trails Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Marshall Co. Sandy Creek Bluffs Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Hancock Co. Stony Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kane Co. Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
McHenry Co. Fel-Pro Triple R Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Cook Co. Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Cook Co. Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Cook Co. Addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Marshall Co. Addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, Dedication
Tazewell Co. McCoy Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Boone Co. Kinnikinnick Creek Nature
Preserve - Special Use Permit for Deer Removal for Testing of Chronic Wasting
Lake Co. Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation
Call to Order
Adoption of Agenda
Approval of the Minutes of the177th
Meeting, October 29, 2002
Next Meeting Schedule
INPC Staff Report
IDNR Staff Report
Vegetation Management Guidelines
40th Anniversary of the Nature Preserves Commission Update
Public Comment Period
At 10:05 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Allread, the meeting began.
Chair Allread reported that Governor Ryan appointed two new Commissioners: Barbara Carr of Lake Forest, Illinois, and Dr. Ronald Flemal of DeKalb, Illinois.
Barbara Whitney Carr is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Botanic Garden, a 385-acre living museum owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. In Mrs. Carrs seven years as President, the Garden has enhanced its standing as one of the major public gardens in the United States and has doubled its attendance which currently stands at 900,000 visitors annually. Mrs. Carr has overseen the construction and/or renovation of eight new gardens and has lead the creation of a 10-year vision for the Garden that includes a $100 million capital development plan. Before joining the Garden, Mrs. Carr served at the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, as President from 1990-1994 and as Executive Director from 1975-1989. In that role she positioned the Zoo as a world-class living museum dedicated to wildlife conservation, increased annual revenues to more than $9 million, and increased membership from 1,500 to 19,000. Mrs. Carr is a member of the American Association of Museums, the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, the Chicago Network, the Economic Club of Chicago and Lake Forest Open Lands. She is also the Treasurer of the Board for the Chicago Wilderness Magazine and a Trustee of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Dr. Ronald C. Flemal, a resident of DeKalb, Illinois is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University. He also holds a Ph.D. degree in Geology from Princeton University. From 1967 to 1985, he served on the Geology Faculty of Northern Illinois University, during which time he authored approximately eighty papers and monographs dealing principally with environmental issues. In 1985, he was appointed to the Illinois Pollution Control Board where he served for more than seventeen years until his recent retirement. During his tenure on the Board, he authored hundreds of Board Opinions, including Opinions that implemented portions of the States water, groundwater, air, and waste management regulations. Dr. Flemal also served for ten years on the Illinois State Bar Associations Environmental Law Council, including a term as chairman. He is an amateur naturalist and member of several state and national naturalist and conservation organizations.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Barbara Carr, Kristi DeLaurentiis, Harry Drucker, Dr. Ronald Flemal , Jill Riddell, Bruce Ross-Shannon, John Schwegman and John Sommerhof.
Members absent: None.
Chair Allread stated that Joyce OKeefe and Lorin Nevling are the retiring Commission members. Chair Allread recognized the contributions to the INPC of the retiring Commission members. She also welcomed the new members.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize the contributions of Joyce OKeefe during her tenure as a Commissioner from 1997 to 2002. Joyce served with distinction as Vice-Chair of the Commission from 1999 to 2000 and as Chair of the Commission from 2000 to 2002. Among her many accomplishments, Joyce will be most remembered for spearheading the first ever INPC Strategic Planning effort and for her work with the General Assembly to restore the Natural Areas Acquisition and the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development funding. Her years of service with the Commission will be warmly remembered, and her continuing commitment to and advocacy for the Commissions programs will always be greatly appreciated.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Carr, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize the contributions of Lorin Nevling during his tenure as a Commissioner from 1997 to 2002. His many accomplishments will be an ongoing tribute to the Commission for years to come. Lorin will be remembered for his fair sense of direction, his ability to quickly surmise the correct course of action, and vast scientific knowledge. His years of service with the Commission will be warmly remembered and his continuing commitment to and advocacy for the Commission will always be greatly appreciated.
Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey; Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Angella Moorehouse, John Nelson, Kelly Neal, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Janet Boyer, Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB); Brent Manning, Director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Ed Anderson, Todd Bittner, Debbie Bruce, Tim Hickmann, Tara Kieninger, Glen Kruse, Dan Ludwig, Patti Reilly, Anne Mankowski, Todd Strole, and Diane Tecic, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), IDNR; Rick Pietruska and Keith Shank, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), IDNR; Brian Anderson, Office of Scientific Research and Analysis, IDNR and former INPC Director; Paul Shelton, Wildlife Program Development, IDNR; Randall Collins, Systems and Licensing, IDNR; Nancy Williamson, Office of Land Management, IDNR; Sue Dees, Scott Marlow, and Barb Traeger, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society (IAS) and INPC Consultant; Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board and former INPC Chair; Jerry Paulson, Natural Land Institute (NLI) and INPC Consultant; Fran Harty, Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Chris Young, State Journal Register; Ed Mahoney, Outdoor Broadcaster; Dan Lobbes, Conservation Foundation, Angelika Kuehn, representing Camp River Trails Land and Water Reserve; Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang, representing Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve; Representative Joel Brunsvold, Roger Fraizer, Bill McClain, Randy Nyboer, George Rose, and Doris Westfall.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Sommerhof and carried that the Agenda be adopted.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the Minutes of the 177th Meeting, October 29, 2002, be approved.
Chair Allread reported that at the 177th Meeting of the INPC, held at the Rock Springs Center in Decatur on October 29, 2002, legal protection for ten tracts of land, totaling 370 acres, was approved by the Commission. Three of the ten areas are owned by private individuals who donated the value of the protection agreement to the public. The dollar value of the three tracts of private land is $50,000 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 177th Meeting of the INPC include Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve in Knox County, 10 acres; Halkovich addition to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve in Lake County, 3.5 acres; and Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve in Marshall County, 5 acres. A total of 18 acres of private land was protected. Protection of this land came about because the INPC has eight staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 313 dedicated nature preserves in 79 counties, totaling 42,583 acres. There are 79 land and water reserves in 45 counties, totaling 23,859 acres.
6 May, 10:00 a.m. - Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford
5 August, 9:00 a.m. - Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield
28 October, 10:00 a.m. - Pere Marquette State Park Lodge, Grafton
Carolyn Grosboll stated that she was pleased to report that the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted during the veto session to restore the portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax that goes into the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF). The Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Fund was also restored during that action. There was an effective coalition working on this effort that involved many of the Commissions constituent groups as well as the Illinois Association of Park Districts. The House passed the bill 104-10, and the Senate passed the bill 54-0. Governor Ryan signed the bill before leaving office, and it goes into effect on July 1, 2003. Ms. Grosboll thanked everyone who provided support for this effort and worked so hard to make this a reality.
Ms. Grosboll stated that the Natural Areas Association (NAA) approached the Commission regarding the possibility of Illinois hosting the Associations annual conference in 2004. Randy Heidorn is a board member of the Association, and he will be spearheading this effort. After getting the approval from Chair Allread to explore this possibility, several planning meetings have been held, and there is overwhelming support for the conference. Tentative plans are to hold the conference in Chicago sometime in the fall of 2004. A conference organizer has been contacted, and they will be finding a location for the conference and putting the specifics together. The conference will be hosted by the INPC, the IDNR, and the NAA. The NAA held a conference in Illinois in 1996, and over 1,000 people attended.
John Nelson reported on the ongoing threats to nature preserves and land and water reserves in northeastern Illinois. He stated that the topics he will be discussing involve: Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve intrusions in Lake County; Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve and Bluff City Materials in Cook County; and Exner Marsh Nature Preserve and Parr Development in McHenry County.
Mr. Nelson stated that there is an area of boundary intrusions at Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve. This area was purchased by the IDNR to protect breeding and nesting grounds for wetland dependant birds. A residential development went in recently, and there has been intrusion into the Land and Water Reserve boundary. The area of impact has been assessed for each neighbor. One of the neighbors cleared some trees. Cease and desist orders were sent by the IDNR legal counsel and Director Grosboll to each landowner along the property line. Damage assessments have been done, which includes cost estimates to restore the areas and to have a fence erected. These estimates will be delivered to each landowner in the near future. If the landowners do not agree to put up a split-rail fence, a standard wire-mesh fence with a barbed-wire strand along the top will be installed. The cost estimates will also include tree replacement and some seed costs.
The threat at Bluff Springs Fen Nature Preserve is a complicated issue. The INPC has been in contact with Bluff City Materials for the last seven months. Bluff City Materials owns 185 acres, and they plan to conduct deep underground mining of limestone at this site. At the present time Bluff City Materials is preparing the surface by removing the remaining sand and gravel on the site. The trees have also been removed. The water bearing strata that was left behind by the glacier that feeds the fen is to the east and to the south. It has been estimated that 7% of the ground water feeding the fen comes from the south. Most of the groundwater comes from the east. Bluff City Materials plans to use the surface for other purposes which includes liquid asphalt processing facility, as well as other quarry processing operations. They will be using the entire 185 acres to its maximum potential. Bluff City Materials also plans to fill half of Gifford Lake which is located to the east of the fen and develop the site for light industrial. The main concern with this is the storm water runoff into the Nature Preserve. This has been causing a serious erosion problem over the last several months. With the development of this site, runoff is going to increase. He stated that the Commission is working diligently with Bluff City Materials to reroute the storm water around the Nature Preserve to the south or the north. The Commission is also working with the Illinois State Water Survey scientists and Illinois State Geological Survey scientists. There is a piece of property, approximately 70 acres, which is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago which is not part of the mining operation. This parcel of land is critical to protecting the groundwater resource coming from the east into Bluff Spring Fen. This parcel acts as a buffer from the mining activities. The 70-acre parcel is not protected at the present time, and the Commission is hoping to encourage, either through grant funding procurement or working with Bluff City Materials, to have this area protected. Bluff City Materials provided the Commission with a groundwater modeling report related to the deep underground mining on January 30, 2003. The Survey scientists and the INPC staff will be reviewing this report. Bluff City Materials is requesting annexation and rezoning to the Village of Bartlett. This is important because the surface developments that Bluff City Materials wants are contingent upon the zoning with Bartlett. The Commission has been in discussions with the Village of Bartlett, and the Village has opened consultation with the IDNR on this. Mr. Nelson stated that additional funding was recently released to upgrade the groundwater monitoring in Bluff Spring Fen. Last summer the groundwater monitoring program was initiated in response to the development and mining proposals. The Commission is looking for mitigation and to protect the groundwater resource with a fen protection plan. If the developer can work with the Commission on that by rerouting the storm water and protect some of the land through the mitigation, it would be a plus.
Mr. Nelson updated the Commission on a threat at Exner Marsh Nature Preserve related to the Blandings turtle population and the Parr Development. Mr. Nelson stated that Henry Cilley, a nine-year old boy, became interested in helping the Blandings turtle. He obtained 1,000 signatures on a petition to get the State to focus on helping the Blandings turtle. Part of this 30-acre development is in the natural area. There will be artificial nest sites for the Blandings turtle, which are strategically located in locations where biologists think the turtles will encounter them as the females migrate out from the marsh. The artificial nesting sites will consist of sand and gravel with sparse vegetation on top so the turtles will be able to dig a nest easily in the sand. There will be large detention basins which will mimic natural wetlands. As water flows off the development parcel, it will be channeled through a Continuous Deflective Separation (CDS) system. Water flows into the CDS system, and it creates a vortex. The garbage and debris is collected in this system, and there is a filter that traps grease and oil. This will clean the water before it enters the wetland mitigation ponds. The water will then flow through a vegetated swale to an existing pond that is onsite. The water that is coming off this development will go through three treatment trains. Each CDS system costs approximately $20,000. The system has to be maintained, and a contractor will come out monthly to clean the trap and replace the filter. It is felt that this is a very good storm water treatment train. Other mitigation that the developer has agreed to is to have a turtle curb and chainlink fence that will prevent the turtles from leaving the marsh but will allow them to come back in the rare event that they end up in one of the parking lots. There will also be turtle signs posted to alert the public to the possible presence of the turtles. It is felt that the developer has done a good job working with the Commission to minimize impacts.
Mr. Nelson stated that he would like to acknowledge several people for their efforts in resolving this issue. He stated that the developer should be recognized because none of this could have been done without the cooperation of the developer to help protect the resource. He would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Henry Cilley because his efforts have not been recognized locally. Mr. Nelson asked that a certificate of appreciation or some recognition be given to Henry for his efforts to save the Blandings turtles. Mr. Nelson stated that he would like to acknowledge the McHenry County Conservation District and Harry Drucker. Mr. Drucker helped the Commission communicate with Walgreens. He would also like to recognize the McHenry County Defenders, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Incidental Take Authorization process.
Commissioner Riddell asked if there have been trials for the artificial nests in other locations.
Mr. Nelson stated that to his knowledge, this is a first in Illinois, but the method has been tried on the east coast. There is very limited data on the success or failure of the artificial nesting sites. He stated that the Village of Lake in the Hills was asked to provide funding for a long-term study of the artificial nest sites, and they denied this request.
Commissioner Riddell asked if everyone is confident that the artificial nesting sites will do no harm to the Blandings turtle.
Mr. Nelson stated that the data available shows that the artificial nesting sites on the east coast are not working. That population is declining because there is so much development that has surrounded the site. A head start with release hatchlings at the artificial nest sites at the Exner Marsh Nature Preserve is a consideration with the hope that the females will return to nest. Funding is needed to conduct the studies necessary to know if it is working.
Commissioner Drucker stated that the Commission should recognize Henry Cilley for his efforts to save the Blandings turtle.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the Commission has a certificate of appreciation that could be presented to Henry.
Mr. Nelson stated that he could present Henry with the certificate at Exner Marsh with a reporter present.
Marilyn Campbell stated that she would like to get Henrys name and address because the IAS has a Young Conservationist of the Year award that it periodically gives out. Ms. Campbell stated that the IAS could also give Henry a book as part of this award.
Commissioner Drucker asked if some of the costs of dealing with the threat at Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve could be included in the settlement from the landowners.
Mr. Nelson stated that the Commission is working with the neighbors to obtain a balance so they do not become negative towards the Commission. He stated that the Commission is trying to keep the costs as reasonable as possible. The main concern is to get the borders secured and develop friendly relationships with them so they will become a better partner with us. This area was not a high-quality natural community. It was an old-field successional Eurasian meadow. The damage that has been done will repair quickly, and it will revert back to what it was.
Commissioner Drucker stated that he agrees with this, however, he would suggest that the costs of dealing with this threat should be listed in the itemization. That amount would not have to be charged to them, but it would give them an indication of what this issue cost.
Don McFall stated that Angella Moorehouse and Kelly Neal assisted with the Bald Eagle Appreciation Days. This popular public event is held in Keokuk, Iowa, across the Mississippi River from Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. The eagles use the night roost at Cedar Glen Nature Preserve during severe winter weather.
He stated that Kim Roman, Angella Moorehouse, Debbie Newman, Steve Byers, and Mary Kay Solecki worked on the next round of the Conservation 2000 (C 2000) projects. The Commissions role in these projects is often negotiating with the landowners and working with the regulations of the C 2000 program to make sure that the projects go smoothly through this process. Mr. McFall stated that Mary Kay Solecki is supervising an extensive landowner contact project on the North Fork of the Vermilion River in Vermilion County. This C 2000 funded project has hired a contractor to contact 85-90 landowners on one of Illinois most biologically significant streams.
Mr. McFall stated that Angella Moorehouse and Bob Edgin participated in the Rare Plant Task Force. This group is working to develop better strategies to assess the status of rare plants in Illinois and methods to guide the management and protection of rare plants.
He stated that many of the staff led or assisted with prescribed burns of nature preserves and land and water reserves in the late fall and early winter. Debbie Newman took the basic firefighter training course and received federal certification. He stated the Commission is always trying to take advantage of opportunities to get training for the staff. Most of the field staff now have the federal certification for prescribed burning.
Mr. McFall stated that Judy Faulkner Dempsey is continuing the Commissions partnership with the Shawnee National Forest. One of the INPC Strategic Plan items is to work with the federal government to protect their important natural areas. Ms. Faulkner Dempsey is assisting the Forest Service with preparing environmental assessments that will allow the Shawnee Natural Forest to bring management to 31 high-quality natural areas.
Randy Heidorn provided the Commissioners with a copy of the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) Steering Committees Strategic Plan. He stated the VSN is a partnership between TNC and the INPC. Approximately three years ago a steering committee was established which included TNC, INPC, and others from volunteer groups and landowners. The VSN steering committee developed the Strategic Plan over the past year. The VSN committee meets quarterly, and the steering committee agreed to begin implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Mr. Heidorn stated that there is a proposal for deer management at Franklin Creek State Park which includes Franklin Creek Nature Preserve. There is a high winter density of deer, 108-143 deer per square mile, and it is causing extensive browsing impacts within the Nature Preserve. According to the most recent data collection, the average woody vegetation browsing rate was around 50%. The species that deer would eat are extremely rare or extirpated from the site. There is an obvious browse line in many parts of the area. Currently there is an archery hunting program outside of the Nature Preserve. The IDNR is proposing to expand that program to include the entire Nature Preserve. They are also planning to have a firearm hunting season during the regular firearm season. The three-year plan also calls for continuing the annual monitoring of the deer browse and the hunter harvest to evaluate the success of the plan. The IDNR has had some discussion with the neighbors. Although there has been general acceptance, there are still some people who are not comfortable with the plan. Concern has been expressed over possible conflict between archery hunting and park day use. The IDNR has made some changes in their program to try to address that, and they will inform the public when the hunts are taking place. The hunters will be kept away from the trails. The use of archery hunting along with recreational use in the same area is a common practice in that region. The Commission generally does not dictate a method of deer herd reduction, but it does evaluate the plan to see if the activity is legal, meets the INPC criteria that there is a biological justification, and if there is a chance for success. The final approval of the deer management plan by the IDNRs Director is pending. When the final approval is given, it is the Commission staffs intention to approve the plan because it meets the INPCs criteria.
Mr. Heidorn stated that through his activities with the NAA he has been coordinating Fire Forums at Natural Areas Conferences. Papers from the first Fire Forum, originally held in Florida, were published in the January, 2003 issue of the Natural Areas Journal. The second Fire Forum will be held in September, 2003 in Madison at the Natural Areas Conference.
Glen Kruse updated the Commission on personnel changes within ORC. Kirby Cottrell, Director of ORC, retired December 31, 2002. Tim Hickmann is the Acting Director for ORC. Jim Heim, District Heritage Biologist in north-central Illinois, retired December 31, 2002. Bill Glass, District Heritage Biologist in northeast Illinois, retired December 31, 2002. Others who retired at the end of December, 2002 are Bill McClain, Natural Areas Program Manager; Randy Nyboer, Region 1 Natural Heritage Administrator; and Fran Harty, Region 3 Natural Heritage Administrator. He stated that these individuals will be missed.
He stated that the positions which were slated to be filled, an Avian Ecologist and a District Heritage Biologist in Madison County, have been put on hold due to the State hiring freeze.
Mr. Kruse stated that Wildlife Preservation Fund applications are now being accepted for projects to be funded in fiscal year 2004. He stated that anyone interested in submitting an application should call him to request an application packet. The deadline for submitting an application is April 15, 2003. Decisions on funding are made during May, 2003, and notifications will go out after July 1, 2003.
He stated that the final round of grants issued through the Open Land Trust Program occurred in December, 2002 under Governor Ryans administration. Mr. Kruse stated that $1.9 million was allocated for the acquisition of 100 acres of Hegewisch Marsh along the Calumet River. A number of state-listed birds use that habitat. That grant was issued to the City of Chicago. With some cooperative funding, that acreage will be acquired and protected. Dundee Township in Kane County was granted $1.7 million to acquire 70 acres off Huntley Road and Elm Avenue in West Dundee. This is adjacent to the existing 200-acre Raceway Woods Preserve. Just under one million dollars was granted to the Lake County Forest Preserve District to acquire 130 acres on Fish Lake Road near Volo. The site includes a marl flat and at least two state-endangered plants. Slightly over $100,000 was granted to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District to acquire 84.5 acres off of Hass Road in northwest Winnebago County. This site is adjacent to the Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve.
Governor Ryan also approved approximately $3.8 million in grants through the C 2000 program, and the list was issued on November 26, 2002. A few of the projects were: The Friends of the Cache River received $320,000 to use toward the Upper Cache River stream channel restoration; IAS received $22,000 for habitat development on the Carl Bartel Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the grassland bird sanctuaries in Marion County; TNC received $89,000 for restoration of 20 acres of mesic prairie at the Indian Boundary Prairies; NLI will receive approximately $57,000 for restoration at Hanover Bluff. The Illinois Chapter of TNC is involved there, and they will be working with other groups to do restoration and management of over 400 acres of that site; The Conservation Foundation received $55,000 for restoration work, including removing a land bridge that gives access to the island where the birds nest at the Lake Renwick Heron Rookery; and the Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development received $65,000 for a project called the hole in the donut phase 2". This will provide incentives to landowners along the Kaskaskia River to enroll their lands into some of the conservation programs that are available in that area.
Mr. Kruse stated that the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee met on January 14, 2003. Patti Reilly was approved to replace Bill McClain as a voting member of the Committee. Ms. Reilly is also the Acting Natural Areas Program Manager. The Standards and Guidelines for the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) have been completed and approved by Director Manning. The Standards and Guidelines are being distributed within and outside of the IDNR. A sensitive data release policy has been discussed, and it is being developed by the IDNR. This deals both with the INAI data and the endangered and threatened species information. In many cases the release of more detailed information will require a data use agreement binding the recipient of that information not to share it with others and return it to the Department after a certain amount of time. There were 36 site issues that were addressed at the meeting. There were 30 new sites added to the INAI, bringing the total to 1,242. Twenty-six out of the 30 new sites are freshwater mussel sites. To qualify for the INAI, an area must have ten or more species of native freshwater mussels. Dean Corgiat, District Heritage Biologist in Pittsfield, has been spearheading a group that has been doing the survey work. They are finding good, diverse mussel communities which are being added to the INAI. No sites were deleted from the INAI.
Mr. Kruse stated that there have been a few acquisitions from the NAAF. He stated that 4.8 acres were acquired at Chauncey Marsh for $10,000. Two hundred acres were acquired at the Iroquois County Conservation Area for $400,000. Approximately 11 acres were acquired from TNC at Pine Rock Nature Preserve. A 65-acre parcel for $71,000 and a 0.2-acre parcel for $300 were acquired at the Cache River Natural Area. An additional 15-acre parcel was acquired for $36,750 at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Jasper County. A 160-acre parcel was acquired for approximately $200,000 at Campbell Pond.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if Acting Regional Administrators have been appointed.
Mr. Kruse stated that Anne Mankowski is the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 1, and Bob Szafoni is the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 3.
Keith Shank stated that there have been several personnel changes within OREP. Carl Becker retired December 31, 2002. He is now working with the Illinois Chapter of TNC. Two-thirds of the IDNRs Realty Division took advantage of the early retirement incentive. Jim Hoffman has been replaced by Connie Waggoner. Due to the reduction in the workforce, the realty acquisitions by the Department will be slowed. There are several vacancies within the Division of Resource Review and Coordination, and that is directly impacting the ability to do the work in the consultation area. In the last four months, 1,347 projects have been received for review, and 1,328 projects have been completed. Unfortunately, there is a backlog of over 400 proposed actions that have not been evaluated. These proposed actions have not met the thirty-day deadline for evaluation. There are a number of actions that may have implications for endangered species, nature preserves, and land and water reserves. They currently have open files on projects in the vicinity of 82 nature preserves or land and water reserves.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked how the consultation requests are prioritized, and what happens to a request after the thirty-day period has passed without a response.
Mr. Shank stated that his office is trying to handle the consultation requests in date order, but that is not always possible. When there is a severe threat, the project is made a priority. He stated that the thirty-day period is a directory rule. They are obligated to make a good faith effort to meet that thirty-day period, but if that period lapses, it does not give anyone the green light to proceed with their project without completing the consultation process. There has always been a number of people who have proceeded without the consultation process, and that number may not change.
Mr. Shank stated that the mandamus suit brought in St. Clair County in the fall of 2002 by the owner of Pruitt Sinkholes Nature Preserve regarding a subdivision development without benefit of the consultation process is still in the courts. Once the lawsuit was filed, St. Clair County officials contacted the IDNR, and the consultation process was initiated. After the consultation process was completed for this development, it was felt that the development was unlikely to adversely affect the Nature Preserve.
Chair Allread stated that this is the first of four meetings that will be held during the celebration of 40 years of success for the INPC. The actual anniversary is in August, 2003, but recognition of this anniversary will be done at each meeting during 2003.
Carolyn Grosboll stated for the record that the registration documents have been signed by the landowner as required by the rules.
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal to register Geissler Savanna as an Illinois land and water reserve. The proposed Geissler Savanna Land and Water Reserve, owned by the IDNR, consists of 36.97 acres in Hancock County, located in west-central Illinois. The IDNR acquired the property from Save the Prairie Society in 1998. Save the Prairie Society had initially purchased the area from Byron Geissler in 1997. While under the ownership of Save the Prairie Society, the INPC conveyed preliminary approval for the dedication of Hancock (Geissler) Savanna as a nature preserve in August, 1997, at the 156th Meeting (Resolution #1367). The proposed reserve contains approximately 9 acres of high-quality mesic and dry-mesic savanna representative of the Galesburg Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division. It was recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a Category I site in 1990 (#1229). Geissler Savanna is the second largest intact savanna of this type in Illinois. Four endangered and threatened plant species are found at this location including: savanna blazingstar (Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii), Meads milkweed (Asclepias meadii), eastern prairie white-fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), and Virginia bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum). Savanna blazingstar is a natural occurrence at this site. The other three plants were previously known from this area but were extirpated and have recently been restored to Geissler Savanna through reintroduction programs.
Commissioner Drucker stated that this site was originally conveyed preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve under the ownership of Save the Prairie Society, and now it is being brought to the Commission for registration as a land and water reserve. He asked why this change was made.
Ms. Moorehouse stated that it was the decision of the IDNR to request registration of this property as a land and water reserve to allow them more flexibility in the management and recreational opportunities. At the present time there is no hunting or heavy public use of the site.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Geissler Savanna in Hancock County as an Illinois land and water reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 7 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Bob Edgin presented a proposal to register Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands as an Illinois land and water reserve. The proposed Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands Land and Water Reserve, owned by the Illinois Audubon Society (IAS), is a 40-acre tract located within the Jasper County unit of Prairie Ridge INAI site (#601). The tract was purchased by the IAS in December, 2002 with the assistance of a C 2000 grant. The proposed reserve will be restored to native grasses and forbs typical of the Effingham Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and will be managed in conjunction with the Jasper County unit of Prairie Ridge State Natural Area (PRSNA). PRSNA provides critical habitat for 36 endangered, threatened, watchlist, or grassland sensitive species. If registered, the reserve would increase the total acreage of restored grasslands at PRSNA - Jasper County to 1,983 acres. Three grain bins were purchased with the property and will be sold with the buyer being responsible for their removal. Proceeds from the sale of the bins will be used to purchase grass and forb seed for the restoration. Allowable uses will include bird watching, nature observation and study, scientific research, photography, and harvesting grass and forb seed to supplement future restorations on this and other dedicated or registered tracts. A 25-foot by 60-foot access lane will be maintained as a parking/viewing area.
Mr. Edgin stated that the previous owner has retained the rights to the wheat crop that will be harvested in June or July, 2003. There are also several areas where the previous owner had some of the trees pushed over in the ravine. He stated that it is requested that a private contractor be hired to push the trees into one pile so they can be burned and recontour the slopes so that the ravine can be planted in native grasses and forbs. There is a 500 gallon propane tank on the site, and the IAS is donating the tank to Prairie Ridge. Mr. Edgin stated that the tank will be moved to his office site.
Mr. Edgin stated that the site is being named for Richard and Jean Graber who were Illinois ornithologists that studied the avian fauna. They also published several technical bulletins for the Illinois Natural History Survey.
Marilyn Campbell stated that Richard and Jean Graber were very generous in giving the IAS a nearly 500-acre sanctuary in southern Illinois. She stated that the IAS felt it would be appropriate to honor them by naming this 40-acre site after them.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he felt it was appropriate to recognize the Grabers, as a memorial to Richard Graber.
Chair Allread thanked Ms. Campbell and the IAS for their commitment to the INPC.
Commissioner Riddell asked how the impact to the ground will be minimized when the contractor comes in to work on the land.
Mr. Edgin stated that the work will be done in August when the ground is dry.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Richard R. and Jean W. Graber Grasslands in Jasper County as an Illinois land and water reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Ed Anderson presented a proposal to register Apple River Canyon as an Illinois land and water reserve. The proposed Apple River Canyon Land and Water Reserve, owned and managed by the IDNR, is located in the northwest corner of Illinois, in the northeastern part of Jo Daviess County. The Apple River and extensive portions of Apple River Canyon are recognized on the INAI (#1056, #1069). At INPCs 175th Meeting in May, 2002, approximately 442 acres within Apple River Canyon State Park were dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The proposed land and water reserve will provide protection for the significant resources of the Apple River and the nature preserve. The proposed reserve includes 182 acres of stream segments and selected shoreline access located in the McKeague Unit and the Thompson Prairie Unit, south of the main park unit. At least three state- threatened plant species are known from the exceptional dolomite cliffs located in the proposed reserve. In addition to high-quality upland communities representative of the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division, the Apple River is identified as a high-quality stream by the INAI and river otters are known to use the river and its adjacent uplands.
Mr. Anderson stated that he would like to thank John Alesandrini, Patti Reilly, Brian Reilly, Carolyn Grosboll, and Randy Nyboer for their help in getting this registration document through the system. He would also like to thank John Schwegman and Jim Heim for their work in this part of the state, and he would like to thank the McKeagues and TNC for their efforts to preserve the areas within Apple River Canyon.
It was moved by Sommerhof, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Apple River Canyon in Jo Daviess County as an Illinois land and water reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
On behalf of the Girl Scouts of Whispering Oaks Council, Kim Roman presented a proposal to register 68 acres of its camp known as Camp River Trails as an Illinois land and water reserve. The registration of this property is being purchased through C 2000's Fox River Ecosystem Partnership. The camp is found along the lower Fox River INAI site (#1444), and lies within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division of Illinois. Registration of this site will permanently protect forested floodplain, dry-mesic upland forest, forested seeps, sandstone bluffs, a population of the state-threatened northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and approximately 2500 feet of Mission Creek, a small high-quality tributary of the Fox River. The Girl Scouts will continue to use the land as they have in the past. Hiking, camping, swimming, maintaining existing foot trails with possible expansion of the foot trails in the future, a river overlook structure, and canoeing will be allowed while the high-quality resources are being preserved.
Dan Lobbes, of the Conservation Foundation, stated that they were pleased to play a role in this project.
Angella Kuehn, legal counsel for the Girl Scouts, stated that the Whispering Oaks Council is pleased to protect this land. The support received from the INPC and the Conservation Foundation was crucial to this project.
Commissioner Drucker stated that this is a wonderful use of C 2000 money. The C 2000 program has been effective in bringing groups together to pool their resources. He stated that the elected officials should be contacted to remind them that the C 2000 program is a great program.
It was moved by DeLaurentiis, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Camp River Trails in LaSalle County as an Illinois land and water reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Chair Allread asked that a message be conveyed to the Girl Scouts that it is very significant that they are the first group to take on this opportunity.
A lunch break was taken from 12:10 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.
178-11) Marshall Co. Sandy Creek Bluffs Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal to register Sandy Creek Bluffs as an Illinois land and water reserve. The 153.45-acre Sandy Creek Bluffs, owned by Dr. John Raffensperger and Reverend Carolyn M. Raffensperger, contains no less than 120 acres of young-to-mature second-growth woods in two tracts separated from each other by a county highway. The woods, which are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, are dominated by oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.), and support a breeding bird community that contains no less than 17 area-sensitive species known to suffer from habitat fragmentation (as defined by the IDNR Natural Heritage Technical Publication #1). In fact, the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillis) Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons), American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), and the formerly state-threatened Veery (Catharus fuscescens), all of which have been observed during the breeding season on the proposed reserve, are known to be highly sensitive to fragmentation. Sandy Creek Bluffs also contains a 20-acre prairie/savanna restoration plus two small artificial ponds. Thirteen acres of old fields, also located on the site, will be completely reforested, which will eventually contribute to the formation of a much larger block (approximately 100 acres) of contiguous forest. Much of the land adjacent to Sandy Creek Bluffs is also forested, which suggests the possibility of a much larger, landscape-scale restoration project. The 2.5-acre Wier Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, part of the 169-acre Sandy Creek Hill Prairies Natural Area (INAI #188), is located within one mile to the north.
Mr. Lerczak stated that a powerline easement crosses the site, and it will continue to be maintained. There is also a small gravel road that leads across part of the proposed land and water reserve that goes to the Raffenspergers cabin. The cabin is located on a tract that is not included in the proposed land and water reserve.
It was moved by Carr, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Sandy Creek Bluffs in Marshall County as an Illinois land and water reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for preliminary dedication of Stony Hills as an Illinois nature preserve. Located within Hancock County, in the far west-central part of Illinois, Stony Hills Nature Preserve contains approximately 30 acres. The site is owned by Roger Batz and Gretchen Graft Batz of Elsah, Illinois. The entire 30-acre proposed nature preserve lies within the boundaries of Jamar Haven Land and Water Reserve. In 1999, the INPC approved registration of Jamar Haven as the 39th Land and Water Reserve (Resolution #1504). Stony Hills contains about 3.5 acres of the 5-acre site recognized by the INAI (#1645) as the Niota Geological Area. The Niota Geological Area was confirmed by the Illinois State Geological Survey as a Category IV geological site. The site contains significant geological and archeological features and habitat for a state-threatened reptile.
It was moved by Sommerhof, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Stony Hills in Hancock County as an Illinois nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary dedication of Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie as an Illinois nature preserve. The proposed 65.92-acre Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve, owned by the Dundee Township Open Space Program, is a mosaic of natural plant communities arrayed upon a rolling topography with diverse soil types, different exposures, and varying moisture regimes. The site was recently recognized by the INAI (#1625) for populations of the state-threatened Hills thistle (Cirsium hillii). The populations of Hills thistle are surviving elements of a dry prairie plant community. This type of prairie community is extremely rare in the State. Only 1.4 acres of high-quality dry prairie were identified on the INAI. In addition to the dry prairie plant community, elements of sedge meadow and graminoid fen wetlands also survive at the site. The proposed Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie Nature Preserve is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. The Dundee Township Open Space Program was created in 1996 with a stated purpose of protection and preservation of farmland, flood plains, wetlands, native woodlands, and rapidly disappearing wildlife habitat.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Dixie Fromm Briggs Prairie in Kane County as an Illinois nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary dedication of Fel-Pro Triple R Fen as an Illinois nature preserve. The McHenry County Conservation District and TNC propose to dedicate 90.2 acres (15.96 acres as nature preserve and 74.06 acres as nature preserve buffer) to be known as Fel-Pro Triple R Nature Preserve. A portion of the proposed nature preserve lies within a larger wetland basin recognized by the INAI as Detrana Fen (#1557). The proposed Fel-Pro Triple R Fen Nature Preserve is located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Five natural plant communities support 268 native plant species including the state-endangered green-fruited burreed (Sparganium chlorocarpum). The proposed 90.02- acre Fel-Pro Triple R Fen Nature Preserve is part of a 225-acre tract conveyed to TNC and the McHenry County Conservation District in 1999 by the Herz, Kessler, Lehman, Mecklenburger, Morris, Radov, Scholzman, and Weinberg families (the owners of Fel-Pro). The site was referred to by these families as the Fel-Pro Rest, Relaxation, and Recreation Ranch, hence the triple R designation. The balance of the site, and portions of the proposed nature preserve, will offer outdoor educational opportunities for the public and children enrolled in programs offered by Metropolitan Family Services.
Mr. Byers stated that this nature preserve design honors the request of the McHenry County Conservation District to not include two ponds that are located on the site because they intend to continue a tradition of fishing that has been long established at this particular site. Some of the more active recreational facilities associated with this site have also been excluded from the dedication.
Mr. Byers stated that he appreciated the leadership provided by Bruce Boyd of TNC. He stated that Mr. Boyd has been instrumental in working with the McHenry County Conservation District. He would also like to acknowledge Craig Hubert, Nancy Williamson, and John Cramer for their leadership in protection and stewardship of this site.
Commissioner Drucker asked if there is a plan to reintroduce a butterfly species in this area.
Mr. Byers stated that the work on the introduction of the swamp metalmark butterfly into Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve has been done by Doug Taron with the Chicago Academy of Sciences. He stated that it is hoped that with what is learned at Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, the swamp metalmark may be introduced to many of the sites with a viable population of the swamp thistle.
Mr. Byers stated that the McHenry County Conservation District will have the right to route and construct a regional bike trail through a portion of the nature preserve buffer.
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 Fel-Pro Triple R Fen in McHenry County as an Illinois nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Kim Roman presented a proposal for final dedication of Burnham Prairie as an Illinois nature preserve. Burnham Prairie, owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, is an INAI site (#98) located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This unique site is recognized for its dry-mesic prairie, wet-mesic prairie, wet prairie, and savanna communities. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County recently acquired 78.5 acres of this site and wishes to protect it in perpetuity by dedicating it as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The District will manage the proposed Nature Preserve for its outstanding natural heritage resources, while facilitating compatible public use. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 177th Meeting (Resolution #1683) in October, 2002.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked who this property was acquired from.
Jerry Paulson stated that the Forest Preserve District of Cook County acquired the property from Waste Management.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Sommerhof, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Burnham Prairie in Cook County as an Illinois nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve. TNC is seeking final approval for an approximate 1.5-acre buffer addition to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve. Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is one of four prairies located in Cook County that are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. The Indian Boundary Prairies are a surviving remnant of a vast prairie that once extended along Lake Michigan in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Aside from the collective importance of this archipelago of prairies, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is included on the INAI (#1563). It supports over 200 plant species, including the state-threatened eared false foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata). Outstanding features of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve are the ten acres of high-quality mesic prairie and the occurrence of the habitat-restricted two-spotted skipper (Euphyes bimacula) and black dash (Euphyes conspicua). Sixty acres of Paintbrush Prairie were conferred preliminary approval at the Commissions 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1248). At the Commissions 148th Meeting in August, 1995 (Resolution #1281), preliminary approval was granted for dedication of a key 8-acre addition. In October, 1998, a 10.1-acre addition was conferred preliminary approval at the Commissions 161st Meeting (Resolution #1445). In May, 1999, preliminary approval for dedication of a 2-acre buffer addition was granted at the Commissions 163rd Meeting (Resolution #1478). The 60-acre tract and 8-acre addition were granted final approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the Commissions 162nd Meeting in February, 1999 (Resolution #1465). In August, 1999, at the Commissions 164th Meeting, final approval for dedication was granted for the10.1-acre addition and 2-acre buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve (Resolution #1498). In October, 2002, the Commission granted preliminary approval for a 1.74-acre nature preserve buffer addition (Resolution #1684). Subsequent to that meeting, TNC decided to proceed with final approval of the approximate 1.5-acre nature preserve buffer addition. This addition will increase the size of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve from 80.1 to approximately 81.6 acres.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by DeLaurentiis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final dedication of an addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve. TNC is seeking final approval of a 2.09-acre addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve. TNC owns approximately 80 acres of mesic and wet-mesic prairie and sedge meadow known as Sundrop Prairie. A portion of this prairie received preliminary approval for dedication at the Commissions 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1249). Final approval for dedication of 52.1 acres as an Illinois Nature Preserve was granted at the Commissions 166th Meeting in February, 2000 (Resolution #1522). This prairie is one island in an archipelago of prairies known collectively as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. The Indian Boundary Prairies are a surviving remnant of a vast prairie that once extended along Lake Michigan in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Sundrop Prairie is considered an important and integral part of the Indian Boundary Prairies and is included on the INAI (#1575). The site supports a high-quality sedge meadow with a rich assemblage of plants (over 230 native plant species) including the state-threatened early fen sedge (Carex crawei). This dedication will increase the size of the Nature Preserve from 52.1 to 54.19 acres.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the individual lots have ever been home sites.
Mr. Byers stated that there may have been structures on five or six of the lots at Paintbrush Prairie, but those structures have been removed. The lots at Sundrop Prairie have never been home sites.
Chair Allread stated that, as a resident of Cook County, she is delighted to see the additions to the nature preserves there, as well as the outstanding Burnham Prairie dedication from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
It was moved by DeLaurentiis, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for final dedication of an addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve. Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang are seeking final approval for dedication of a 5.2-acre addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve. The existing Nature Preserve is a 3.1-acre site within the 78-acre Hopewell Estates Hill Prairies Natural Area (INAI #231) that supports grade A and grade B glacial drift hill prairies with grade C woodlands representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The proposed addition consists of lots 111 and 119, which are adjacent to each other but separated by a small road from the dedicated nature preserve. The addition contains mature grade C dry-mesic upland woodlands and mesic ravine woods, mostly on steep north to northeastern facing slopes. The woods support a rich ground flora of mesic species including a large population of the highly conservative and formerly state-threatened Schrebers aster (Aster schreberi), plus several species of ferns. Dedication of this nature preserve addition will add significantly to the diversity of habitat types and is consistent with recommendations of the Illinois River Bluffs Ecosystem Partnership. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 174th Meeting in February, 2002 (Resolution #1633).
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Carr, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve in Marshall County as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Chair Allread thanked Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang
for attending the meeting and thanked them for their generosity and commitment
to preserving their land.
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for final dedication of McCoy Woods as an Illinois nature preserve. McCoy Woods, owned by the Gould Family Trust and the Hancock Realty Partners, is a 28.7-acre site included within the 47-acre McCoy Woods Natural Area (INAI #132), recognized on the INAI for a 15-acre, grade A, wet floodplain forest and a 7-acre, grade B, mesic upland forest. The Commission granted McCoy Woods preliminary approval for dedication at the 177th Meeting in October, 2002 (Resolution #1685). The proposed nature preserve includes the grade A and B forests; approximately three acres of grade C, upland forest; and a 0.5-mile reach of the gravel-cobble-bottomed Mackinaw River (located approximately 20 miles downstream from the Mackinaw River Natural Area [INAI #788]). The preserve boundary follows the centerline of the river. The forest and stream natural communities are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. McCoy Woods has been identified as an INAI Gap site, which is a natural area that contains a type of natural community that is not protected in any of the existing nature preserves or land and water reserves.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he was happy to see that there is mussel habitat included in this dedication.
Mr. Lerczak stated that he will be doing a mussel survey on a stretch of the Mackinaw River.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of McCoy Woods in Tazewell County as an Illinois nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Randy Heidorn stated that the IDNR is seeking a Special Use Permit at Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve that would allow lethal deer removal for the purpose of testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. Most of the land area in this vicinity is developed for residential housing, with resultant small tracts of land. Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve, owned by the Boone County Conservation District, likely represents the most strategically important block of suitable deer habitat in this geographic area. Mr. Heidorn introduced Dr. Paul Shelton, Forest Wildlife Program Manager for the IDNR.
Dr. Shelton stated that on November 1, 2002, Illinois received confirmation that a CWD-infected deer had been found northeast of Rockford, along the Boone-Winnebago County line. Subsequent testing of deer in this area during the 2002 Firearm Deer Season resulted in confirmation of six additional positive cases of CWD. He stated that there is a cluster of two animals in central McHenry County, and a cluster of five animals in the Boone-Winnebago County area. The Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area is essentially at the epicenter of where the positive animals have been found in the Boone-Winnebago County area. A 35 square mile area was designated that included all of the positive sections, plus the sections adjacent to them. In order to make an assessment as to how long CWD has been in this area, its distribution, and prevalence in the herd, follow-up sampling is needed by the IDNR and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As there are currently no reliable live-animal tests for CWD, the surveillance sampling protocol involves removal of the brainstem and certain lymph nodes post-mortem followed by laboratory testing. Sampling would be accomplished through the use of USDA Wildlife Services professional sharpshooters over designated baited areas at night. Dr. Shelton stated that the Kinnikinnick Conservation Area is probably the most important area in the vicinity. Large tracts of land are difficult to find, and access to properties with deer habitat is fairly limited. It is believed that the Kinnikinnick Conservation Area serves as a winter concentration area for deer. There are a few other sites that are also a part of the study. At this time, all positive samples have come from the eastern side of Interstate 90. A number of samples were taken from Rock Cut, however, no samples have been taken from the eastern side of Interstate 90. Sharpshooting is planned for the eastern side of Rock Cut. Dr. Shelton stated that the IDNR has been granted access to the Kinnikinnick properties by the Boone County Conservation District. The IDNR is asking for access to the Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve. The use of the Nature Preserve portion of the site will probably be limited by the terrain to the margins.
Commissioner Riddell asked if CWD can be transferred to other animal populations and if there are consequences for human health.
Dr. Shelton stated that at this point in time, CWD has been found in white-tailed deer, mule deer, and in elk in North America. CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The group consists of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease), scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD is an incurable neurological disease. The symptoms are caused by holes forming in the brain. There is a great deal of ongoing research, and at this time there is no evidence that it is transmissible to any type of livestock or humans.
Commissioner Flemal asked if the sampling has begun.
Dr. Shelton stated that the IDNR is ready to start the sampling in this area immediately. Permits have been issued to do some sampling in McHenry County. Sampling will also be done in Cook, Lake, and DuPage counties in conjunction with the sharpshooter programs.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if a public announcement is made before the sampling begins.
Dr. Shelton stated that a news release will be issued before the sampling is done. If this request is approved by the Commission, the news release will go out this afternoon. The neighbors of the site will be contacted individually.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked how many deer will be taken for this study.
Dr. Shelton stated that the IDNR has been unable to do an aerial survey of this area, so there is no way to know how many deer are using this site or adjacent forested tracts. After looking at the sites, the evidence is clear that there is a considerable density of deer on that site. He stated that he would anticipate that they would be looking at more than 50 animals. He stated that he could not give a final number on the upper limit, but it is not considered an eradication program.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked what would be the relevance of knowing that 50 deer test positive versus 15 deer testing positive.
Dr. Shelton stated that the there would be more confidence in any assessment made as to how prevalent the disease is when a higher number of samples is taken. It is believed that the animals in late winter at Kinnikinnick are not simply animals that are there year-round. It is felt that the deer wintering at this site represent animals from up to a few miles away. The IDNR wants to take a large enough sample of this particular population so it can be determined what proportion of the population is infected and to make an assessment as to how long the disease has been there. It is also viewed that the very removal of these animals is a positive within itself because it is felt that this is the epicenter of where the disease is.
Commissioner Flemal asked how big the sample was that produced the five positive cases in this area.
Dr. Shelton stated that the total number of deer sampled out of an approximate 35 square mile area was approximately 30 deer. If that holds true through further sampling, it is a significant concern.
Commissioner Riddell stated that much is heard about the ecological consequences of over population of deer, and she wanted to know if there was any ecological potential consequences from largely depleting a nature preserve of its population of deer.
Randy Heidorn stated that this site has a high density of deer, and there are some areas of impact from deer browse. He stated that this sampling would not significantly impact the density of deer in this area.
Dr. Shelton stated that there is a forested subdivision just west of the site with very good deer habitat and very small lot sizes. The total acreage is considerable. This is a refuge just to the west to which the IDNR has very little hope of getting any access. Deer are moving back and forth. Even if every last deer was removed from Kinnikinnick at a given period in time, more deer would move back into the area.
Mr. Heidorn stated that this is a way to establish a control effort. This information will be used to craft a control strategy for CWD.
Chair Allread asked if a high concentration of CWD is found, what would be the threshold of wanting to go back in and eliminate that population.
Dr. Shelton stated that would depend in part on the extent of the problem. It is believed that if localized instances are found where a more surgical approach is possible, eradication is the first and foremost strategy. The more widely spread the disease becomes, the less appropriate that strategy becomes. If samples were taken from several areas around and CWD is only found in one certain spot, the recommendation would be to try to have some sort of localized eradication program.
Chair Allread stated that the IDNR is requesting the Special Use Permit for the testing of the deer. If the IDNR wants to do a more aggressive program to eradicate the population, it would then come back before the Commission for another request.
Commissioner Drucker asked what was the reasoning for not doing anything at all.
Dr. Shelton stated that there are differing hypotheses on CWD. One theory is that CWD has always existed and has remained at very low levels unnoticed in the population. At this point in time, this is not a very widely accepted hypothesis. We have only known about CWD since the 1960s, and it was about ten years after it was first noticed before it was even identified as the type of disease that is. There has been a considerable amount of modeling work done in the past ten years to try to project what this disease would do. CWD differs significantly from other diseases in that it is a very slowly progressive disease. Once an individual animal contracts this disease, it may take 18 months to three years before the disease begins to show up in that individual. Since it is incurable and it takes so long for clinical science to become evident, it is something that is very difficult to combat because an animal may be shedding the disease for three years before you even know that it had it. Wisconsin has been trying to model it. Their disease models, given what they know, indicates that if nothing is done, the population will be essentially eradicated. It remains to be seen if that will be correct, but for most that is not a gamble that we are willing to take.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if the IDNR is working in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Dr. Shelton that the IDNR is working with them to some extent through meetings to discuss strategy. Wisconsin is conducting a fairly intensive sampling effort in the sections immediately above the border of Illinois. Illinois closest positive case was approximately one mile from the Illinois Wisconsin border.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if there is any time length for this study.
Dr. Shelton stated that the application for the Special Use Permit specified that the IDNR would stop the sampling before the end of March, 2003, however, it is anticipated that the study would be completed by the end of February.
Mr. Heidorn stated that typically a permit would be renewed at the end of December if the landowner has no objections. Even though the work would be completed by the end of March, 2003, the IDNR would be required to turn in their report and other paperwork by the end of December.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that this is a serious problem now, and he would trust the staff to make the determination on renewing the permit if the situation warrants it.
Chair Allread stated that the Commission is concerned about this issue, and she asked that the IDNR submit reports as they become available.
Dr. Shelton stated that the IDNR will provide the Commission and the Boone County Conservation District with reports showing the number of deer taken and the results of the sampling.
Carolyn Grosboll asked if it is difficult to eradicate the prions once they get into the soil.
Dr. Shelton stated that there is much that is not known about CWD, and there is still dissent whether or not prions even cause CWD. CWD is extremely resistant to various environmental types of changes such as extremes in temperature and resistant to disinfection because a prion is not a living organism. It is known that in order to inactivate the prions, temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees is required. There have been instances, even though they were not experiments designed to test whether or not CWD could survive in the environment, where captive animals have been eradicated, the top soil removed from the pens in which there were disinfecting agents used, and the ground was allowed to remain fallow for a year. After that period of time, animals were restocked into these pens and subsequently came down with the disease.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the Special Use Permit for Deer Removal at Kinnikinnick Creek Nature Preserve in Boone County for testing of chronic wasting disease with a request for reports as they become available, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Randy Heidorn gave the Commission a brief overview of the history of the asbestos investigations and remediation. He stated that one of the major concerns at Illinois Beach has been erosion. One of the plans at that site was to develop a system, with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for the sand that would erode down the beach to be picked up at the south end and moved to the north end to make a closed loop area. This sand contains small pieces of Transite pipe material. He stated that the IDNR held a meeting in early January, 2003 to discuss if this is considered a waste. They met with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. EPA, the Attorney Generals Office, and Department of Public Health to review whether or not moving the sand would constitute moving a waste material. By considering it a waste material, a host of other laws in terms of compliance need to be considered. The IDNR feels that this issue needs to be addressed before they can go forward with any kind of program to do beach nourishment. There was no resolution at this meeting as to whether or not this is waste. More discussion is needed. Any type of beach nourishment is dependent on the resolution of this issue.
Mr. Heidorn stated that the second issue deals with
hydrology of the site. Johns Manvilles current plans for finishing the
cleanup calls for closing the settling pond south of the Nature Preserve. Those
areas are part of a water system which includes the industrial canal. This canal
sits along the southern end of the Nature Preserve and the northern end of Johns
Manville. There is great concern about the hydrology of the industrial canal.
The current plan in terms of assessing the hydrology considers that Johns Manville
is looking to change their operation. We need to know how those changes will
affect the water levels of the canal. Those assessments are being done on the
assumption that the canal will remain open to the lake. When the canal is closed
to the lake, water from that canal flows from the canal into the Nature Preserve.
Water from the Nature Preserve also flows across the Preserve to swales that
run into the canal. Water flows both to and from those swales. Before Johns
Manville can do anything with the canal, a better understanding is needed as
to how the canals water interacts with the Nature Preserve. The current
hydrology study will not answer this question. He stated that he has had assurances
from the various agencies that this is the kind of thing that they want to look
at. The ongoing study is scheduled to be finished this year, and he will keep
the Commission up to date on the progress.
Randy Heidorn stated that the Management Guidelines give land owners and managers guidance on how to handle a land management issue in a nature preserve or land and water reserve. Once approved by the Commission, they become part of the policy guidance used by staff to review and approve management plans. An updated Vegetation Management Guideline for the control of multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and a new guideline for gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) were presented for approval. Methods of control for these species include various applications and combinations of prescribed fire, cutting and spot treatments of herbicide depending on site specific conditions and management goals. These revisions for multiflora rose were drafted by Daniel Greuel. Shannon Horn drafted the guidelines for gray dogwood. The guidelines were edited by Mary Kay Solecki and Randy Heidorn. The guidelines were submitted to INPC Consultants and Advisors and to selected natural area land managers for review. Recommended changes were incorporated into the documents.
Mr. Heidorn stated that multiflora rose is covered under the Illinois Exotic Species Act. It is illegal to plant it or to offer it for sale, however, there is a long history of it being planted across the State. Its habitat is in successional fields, pastures, and roadsides. It may also occur in dense forests, particularly near disturbances such as treefall gaps. Multiflora rose invades prairies, savannas, open woodlands, and forest edges. It forms thorny, impenetrable thickets or living fences and smothers out other vegetation. Methods of control in high-quality areas were discussed. Pulling, grubbing, or removal of individual plants from the soil can only be effective when the root system can be completely removed. This works in limited infestations. Prescribed fire in fire adapted communities will hinder the invasion establishment. Three to six cuttings per growing season per year for two to four years can achieve high plant mortality. The best approach would be a cut and herbicide treatment. Chemicals that are typically used include Roundup, Garlon 3A and Garlon 4. Garlon 4 is to be used in mineral or vegetable oil. Dormant season spraying is one of the better ways to treat this. In more disturbed areas, a foliar treatment can be used. Krenite can be applied in July-September. Banvel is also an effective foliar spray. Mr. Heidorn stated that no biological control agent is currently approved for release in Illinois nature preserves for the control of multiflora rose.
Mr. Heidorn stated that gray dogwood inhabits a wide variety of habitats ranging from prairies to forests. This is a native species, and it is extremely aggressive and opportunistic particularly in cases where there has not been fire in a long time. The goal in controlling gray dogwood is to inhibit the rapid spread and restore species diversity. Methods of control include fire, cutting and herbiciding. Basal bark control with a 50% solution of Garlon 4 works well. In severely disturbed areas, the same treatment is recommended. The use of diesel fuel or kerosene as a carrier for herbicides is not allowed in nature preserves. Brushogging alone is not a preferred method of regular control.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the revised vegetation management guideline for multiflora rose and new guideline for gray dogwood as presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 178th Meeting.
Chair Allread stated that the INPC is entering its 40th anniversary year. She stated that she is pleased that the Commission is working cooperatively with several of its partners to raise awareness of the INPC and its 40 years of success. This lets the citizens of the State of Illinois know what the staff of the Commission does on behalf of the State and to encourage landowners to think about dedicating their properties.
Jerry Paulson stated that NLI is hosting a special banquet honoring the 40th Anniversary of the Commission and its founder, George Fell, on Monday, May 5, 2003, at Cliffbreakers Comfort Suites in Rockford. He stated that Brian Anderson will speak about George Fell and the early days of the Commission, and Dr. Michael Jeffords has agreed to show some of his beautiful slides of nature preserves. The social hour starts at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 7:00 p.m. Some of the early excerpts of the George Fell biography and the history of the natural areas movement will be presented. Everyone is invited to attend this banquet.
Chair Allread thanked Mr. Paulson, and she stated
that the Commission looks forward to collaborating with him on this celebration.
The Commission would also like to recognize Barbara Fell for her contribution
to the natural areas movement.
There was no public comment.
No other business was presented.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Schwegman, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
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