Minutes of the 190th Meeting
(subject to approval of Commission at 191st Meeting)
Ballard Nature Center
5253 East U.S. Highway 40
Altamont, IL 62411
Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 10:00 a.m.
190-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:10 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Drucker, the meeting began.
Chair Drucker introduced Mare Payne as a new Commissioner. Chair Drucker also introduced Deborah Stone as the new Director of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, as well as a Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Chair Drucker thanked Mary Kay Solecki for her help with the Agenda, and he thanked Bob Edgin for leading the field trip at Lake Sara Flatwoods on May 1, 2006. He also thanked the Effingham Water Authority for allowing the field trip.
Deborah Stone read the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Harry Drucker, Ronald Flemal, Richard Keating, Mare Payne, Jill Riddell, Lauren Rosenthal, Bruce Ross-Shannon, and John Schwegman.
Members absent: None.
Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Randy Heidorn, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, Mary Kay Solecki, and Deborah Stone, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Terry Esker, Glen Kruse, Bob Lindsey, Jody Shimp, Scott Simpson, and Bob Szafoni, Office of Resource Conservation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Kathi Davis, Don McFall, and Karen Miller, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, IDNR; Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) and Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS); Sue Dees, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); David Thomas, INPC Consultant and INHS; Marilyn Campbell, INPC Consultant; Leslie Berns, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, representing Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve; Fran Harty, The Nature Conservancy, representing Swayne Hollow; and Tom Clay, Illinois Audubon Society.
190-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the Agenda be adopted.
Chair Drucker reported that at the 189th Meeting of the INPC, held at the Department of Natural Resources Headquarters in Springfield on February 7, 2006, legal protection for five tracts of land totaling 410.34 acres was approved by the Commission. Four of the areas totaling 379.34 acres are owned by private individuals or not-for-profit corporations who donated the value of the protection agreement to the public. The dollar value of the tracts of private land is $569,000, based on conservative estimates of the fair market value of the land. This private land was permanently preserved without acquisition of the land by the State. Private lands protected without state acquisition at INPC’s 189th Meeting were: Lost Creek Land and Water Reserve, Clinton County; Circle B Ranch Land and Water Reserve, Jackson County; Degonia Canyon Land and Water Reserve, Randolph and Jackson counties; and Wapello Land and Water Reserve, Jo Daviess County. Protection of this land came about because the Commission has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 328 dedicated nature preserves in 80 counties totaling 44,125.75 acres and 131 land and water reserves in 57 counties totaling 37,035.36 acres.
190-3) Approval of the Minutes of the 189th Meeting, February
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the Minutes of the 189th Meeting, February 7, 2006, be approved.
190-4) 2006 Meeting Schedule
It was recommended that the meeting date, time, and location for the 191st INPC Meeting be changed, along with the meeting location for the 192nd INPC Meeting.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the date for the 191st INPC Meeting be changed to August 8, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., and the location be changed to the Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the location for the 192nd INPC Meeting on October 24, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. be changed to the Kankakee Elks Club, Aroma Park.
Revised 2006 Meeting Schedule
191st August 8, 2006, 10:00 a.m. Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake
192nd October 24, 2006, 10:00 a.m. Kankakee Elks Club, Aroma Park
Chair Drucker stated that the Commission would like to recognize the special contributions of three people, Kristi DeLaurentiis, Marilyn Campbell, and Carl Becker.
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize the contributions of Kristi DeLaurentiis during her tenure as a Commissioner from 2001 to 2006. Her many accomplishments will be an ongoing tribute to the Commission for years to come. Her years of service with the Commission will be warmly remembered, and her continuing commitment to and advocacy for the Commission’s programs will always be greatly appreciated.
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize
the exceptional conservation efforts of Marilyn F. Campbell. During her tenure
as Executive Director of the Illinois Audubon Society from April, 1994 - March,
2006, Marilyn diligently pursued protection of more than 1,600 acres of high-quality
Illinois Natural Area Inventory sites and endangered species habitat. The
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission especially appreciates Marilyn’s
efforts to protect 238 acres owned by the Illinois Audubon Society as nature
preserves, land and water reserves, and natural heritage landmarks. Marilyn’s
leadership in land preservation, coupled with her development of numerous
educational publications used by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission,
has played a pivotal role in developing a strong partnership between the Illinois
Audubon Society and the Commission.
Glen Kruse presented a certificate of appreciation from the IDNR to Marilyn Campbell. Mr. Kruse stated that on behalf of the IDNR, he would like to thank her for her work with the Illinois Audubon Society.
Scott Simpson presented a framed picture to Marilyn Campbell. Mr. Simpson thanked Ms. Campbell for her efforts at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, land protection, habitat restoration, and environmental education.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission wishes to recognize and commend the lasting contributions made by conservation leader Carl Becker, who was a friend to the Commission and to the conservation community and natural areas throughout Illinois. His love of nature and bird watching fostered his passionate commitment to protect natural areas. Carl brought creativity and a tireless work ethic to his positions with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and most recently for The Nature Conservancy. From helping save habitat for the prairie chicken in southern Illinois to spearheading preservation of many natural areas that are now Illinois nature preserves, his work will have a lasting and profound impact on future generations that will benefit from his life’s work. We recognize Carl’s legacy as the first director of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board and the first chief of the Illinois Division of Natural Heritage. His leadership and vision resulted in many programs that will continue to conserve the State’s most rare natural areas. Be it resolved that on this day, May 2, 2006, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, on behalf of all Illinois citizens, publicly recognizes and expresses our sincere gratitude to Carl Becker for his lifetime of contributions that helped advance the mission and success of the Nature Preserves Commission. His legacy will endure for all time in the form of the native prairies, forests, wetlands, and other rare and precious gifts of nature he helped preserve for future generations to experience and enjoy.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the Commission establish a nominating committee consisting of Commission members to form a re-election committee for INPC officers.
Chair Drucker stated that he will work with the Commissioners to form a committee to nominate new INPC officers.
190-5) INPC Staff Report
Randy Heidorn presented the following staff report:
a. The following are bills that have been introduced that directly
impact the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act
i. SB 2504
(1) Short Description: ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION
(2) Senate Sponsor: Sen. Pamela J. Althoff (R), Crystal Lake
(3) Bill Status as of 4/19/2006 In Senate: Referred to Rules Committee and has not passed out of Rules Committee.
(4) Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act. In a Section requiring units of local government and State agencies (now, agencies and local governments) to consult with the Department as to whether actions authorized, funded, or carried out by them are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Illinois listed endangered and threatened species or are likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of the essential habitat of such species, authorizes any party seeking authorization or funding to initiate the consultation process on behalf of the State agency or unit of local government from which the authorization or funding is sought. Provides that if a unit of local government or State agency is diligently proceeding with the consultation process in accordance with this Act, the unit of local government or State agency shall not be subject to any claim of inverse condemnation. Requires the Department to assign an expiration date to each individual compliance consultation. Adds certain definitions. Amends the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act to make corresponding changes. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.
(5) Comments: This amends both the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act and The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act clarifying when and which units of government are required to consult with the IDNR. The proposed legislation also exempts units of government from reverse condemnation claims for participating in this process and requires that an expiration date be set for each consultation.
(6) Full text may be found at:
ii. HB 4303
(1) Short Description: ENT ZONES-EXEMPT FROM IESA-NAP
(2) House Sponsor: Rep. Jim Sacia (R), Freeport
(3) Bill Status as of 4/19/2006: Passed out of Committee, failed to be acted on in time, and was re-referred to the Rules Committee.
(4) Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act and the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act to provide that areas designated as Enterprise Zones under the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act which are located on a former U.S. military base that was closed in 1990 or thereafter are exempt from the provisions, duties, obligations, and penalties provided under these Acts. Effective immediately.
(5) Comments: This bill is designed to exempt the enterprise zone at the former Savanna Army Depot from compliance with the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act and the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act.
(6) Full text may be found at:
b. Farm Land Assessment Issue: The following House Joint Resolution
was passed by the both houses of the General Assembly to address this issue:
i. Short Description: Wooded Land Valuation.
ii. Sponsors: Rep. Kurt M. Granberg and others; Sen. John M. Sullivan and others.
iii. Bill Status as of 4/19/2006: Passed in both houses.
iv. Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Wooded Land Assessment Task Force concerning the assessment of wooded land and property under forestry management programs. Urges the Department of Revenue to accept the reduced valuation of certain wooded land for the 2006 and 2007 taxable years.
v. Comments: Asks for a freeze at the current reduced levels of assessment values. This will delay implementation of higher tax assessments until such time as the task force can review and come up with a solution to the problem.
vi. Full text may be found at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=0095&GAID=8&DocTypeID=HJR&LegID=24926&SessionID=50&GA=94
2. INPC Operations
a. Tammie McKay’s contract was discontinued as of February 28, 2006, upon the direction of the IDNR Human Resources Office.
b. Debbie Reider was re-hired for the vacant Office Specialist Position. She began work on March 27, 2006.
c. Mary Kay Solecki continues to review agenda items and assist with the agenda preparation for meetings.
d. Bob Edgin coordinated the purchase of two ATVs, trailers, and sprayers for use during prescribed burning and other management activities.
e. Mary Kay Solecki is supervising Beth Stapleton, a graduate student at Eastern Illinois University, who is working as a volunteer graduate student intern (unpaid). Ms. Stapleton is conducting plant inventories at seven nature preserves and/or land and water reserves in east-central Illinois and is also searching herbarium records at Eastern Illinois University to compile information on plants collected from several east-central Illinois nature preserves and land and water reserves. Ms. Stapleton will work 400 hours for the INPC from April to August 2006.
3. Training, Presentations and Meetings Attended
a. All INPC staff were required to complete 2006 Ethics Training for State Employees.
b. Tom Lerczak, Bob Edgin, and Debbie Newman attended joint meeting of Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society, at Rend Lake, March 7-9, 2006.
c. John Nelson
i. Attended the Nygren Wetland Restoration and Management Workshop, hosted by the Natural Land Institute on February 21, 2006.
ii. Presented “A Development Planning Case Study: The Sanctuary of Bull Valley” at a conference on March 10, 2006, titled: Maintaining the Character of McHenry County. Mr. Nelson was an invited speaker, along with co-presenter and land developer Mr. Jack Porter, to showcase to local governments, developers, and consultants the conservation design principals that were used to protect the groundwater that sustains the Boone Creek Fen Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) site and nature preserves. Also invited participant in a panel discussion “A Conversation with Regulators.”
iii. Presented on own time, “The Class III Groundwater Designation for the Boone Creek Fen” to the Woodstock Environmental Commission on March 8, 2006.
d. Tom Lerczak
i. Presented "Birding with a Purpose" lecture at Dickson Mounds Museum, February 12, 2006.
ii. Completed USDA Pesticide Training and received renewal of Applicator's license, February 9-10, 2006.
iii. Attended (on own time) annual meeting of the Illinois Ornitholigical Society, March 31-April 2, 2006.
iv. Outdoor Illinois published "A Shorebird Challenge," by T.V. Lerczak, in its April, 2006 issue.
v. Interviewed on WCIA TV, Champaign, on April 25, 2006, concerning the Outdoor Illinois article on shorebirds.
e. Bob Edgin
i. Attended an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Workshop
ii. Gave a podium presentation entitled “Hickories - A Management Issue in Southeast Illinois Natural Areas” at the Illinois State Academy of Science meeting.
f. Mary Kay Solecki gave a presentation on exotic plant control (focusing on garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, and multiflora rose) at a landowners management workshop entitled “Woods, Weeds, Water and Wildlife - Managing Your Natural Resources” held at Allerton Park on March 11, 2006. Approximately 52 participants attended the workshop.
g. Debbie Newman
i. Attended Southwestern Illinois Agriculture Roundtable meeting.
ii. Attended the Kaskaskia Watershed Association Annual Summit.
H. Judy Faulkner Dempsey attended a special acquisition meeting for Cache River land acquisition with all the partners.
I. Kelly Neal
1. Attended the Natural Areas Update meetings.
2. Attended two Natural Areas Evaluation Committee site and species subcommittee meetings.
3. Attended the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee meeting.
4. Protection Program Activities
a. Steven Byers gave a presentation for Steve Bylina, General Superintendent with Forest Preserve District of Cook County, regarding the leadership role of the District and opportunities for the District and the INPC to collaborate to preserve additional sites in Cook County.
b. Bob Edgin submitted four INAI updates to the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee for consideration. All four items were approved. Notable among them was the addition of Emma Vance Woods in Crawford County to the INAI for the presence of grade B forest communities and the addition of Category II status to Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve in Clay County for the presence of two colonies of grass-leaved lily (Stenanthium gramineum), a state-endangered plant that is currently known from only seven other locations in the State.
c. Angella Moorehouse assisted with the sale of Wapello Land and Water Reserve by The Archaeological Conservancy to the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation and has helped with public meetings within the nearby community of Hanover.
d. Debbie Newman
i. Arranged for and attended the Karst Short Course for officials of three cities in the vicinity of Stemler Karst and nature preserve complex.
ii. Attended, presented at, and participated in a day-long meeting with the President, CEO, and other officials from Principia College about developing a long-term stewardship and protection plan for the colleges 2,600 acres, which includes 600 acres of INAI land, (currently enrolled as natural heritage landmarks).
e. The Village of Barrington sent a letter thanking Kelly Neal and Steven Byers for their work on the stakeholder technical consultation process for the Wagner Fen Nature Preserve/Honeybee Hills Subdivision Development.
f. Judy Faulkner Dempsey prepared presentation proposals for two sites, contacted three landowners, and conducted negotiations with parties associated with a prospective land and water reserve.
5. Defense Program: Site Threats Report
a. Stemler Area& INAI Site, St. Clair County - Debbie Newman
Issue: Proposed Residential Developments
Threat: Over the last two years the Stemler Karst INAI site has been under rapidly increasing residential development pressure. This INAI site includes a complex of preserved lands including the IDNR-owned Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve, privately-owned Stemler Cave Nature Preserve, Pruitt Sinkholes Nature Preserve, Sinking Creek Nature Preserve, and several natural heritage landmarks.
Status: New - Debbie Newman has attended zoning board and planning commission hearings in 2005 and 2006 in an effort to educate local officials about the vulnerable nature of the karst and the INAI site, along with the recent designation of the Class III Special Resource Groundwater. To further these educational efforts, the INPC has arranged for two Karst Seminars for local officials of two counties and three municipalities with an interest in the Stemler area. The second of these was March 18, 2006, conducted by Ozark Underground Lab (Philip Moss). Debbie Newman arranged for and attended the course. Efforts are ongoing to organize an Intergovernmental Agreement recognizing the Stemler area as a "Special Planning Area." In addition to this, a new group, comprised of some of the nature preserve and natural heritage landmark owners and other area citizens, was formed in 2005 to work on stewardship and protection issues related to the Stemler karst. The "Friends of Stemler Preserves" has been instrumental in assisting the INPC in relaying the messages of karst protection to government officials and the public.
b. Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve & other nearby INAI sites, Monroe County - Debbie Newman
Issue: Proposed Powerline Corridor
Threat: Debbie Newman was notified in early January, 2006, of a powerline corridor proposal to distribute power to the grid from a power plant called the "Prairie State Energy Campus" in Washington County. Ameren Power Company is proposing a 37-mile, 150-foot wide corridor from Washington County to their Rush Island Power Plant in Missouri. All three of their proposed route alternatives cross INAI sites and habitat for several threatened and endangered species. Their preferred route also skirts Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve and National Natural Landmark. Their southern route crosses a few hundred feet north of Angela's Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark and Brickey-Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve. The INPC and the IDNR has raised concerns about these routes at the location where they cross the INAI sites. Subsequently, meetings with Ameren have been conducted to discuss these concerns and to urge some changes to the route. The issue is still ongoing, but it appears Ameren is willing to work with the INPC and the IDNR to minimize impacts.
Status: New - Dialogue is ongoing between Ameren, the IDNR, and the INPC to avoid or minimize impacts.
c. Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Cook County - Steven Byers
Issue: Proposed residential development (27 houses) on two 5-acre lots located west of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve.
Threat: Potential impact to surface hydrology, specifically degradation in water quality and changes in flow rates entering the Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve buffer. The proposed development will directly impact ten acres, negatively impact the current open space character of Hickory Lane Estates (there are ten 5-acre lots), and could serve as a catalyst for future development on Hickory Lane.
Status: Ongoing - On March 2, 2006, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County adopted an ordinance to vacate streets and alleys in the Wolf Road Prairie. The intention of this ordinance was to prevent access to the proposed development. The Village of Westchester subsequently approved the proposed development on March 14, 2006. Since then, the Forest Preserve District staff/attorneys have met with the Village of Westchester and Save the Prairie Society. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County remains confident the developer does not have access to the project site.
d. Wagner Fen Nature Preserve, Lake County - Steven Byers
Issue: Proposed residential development (71 houses) on 109.3 acres next to the Nature Preserve.
Threat: Direct impact to surface hydrology (from sheet flow to single point discharge and associated sedimentation, changes in discharge rates) and potential impact to groundwater resource.
Status: Ongoing - At the March 3, 2006, Technical Review Meeting, Bruce Hensel presented preliminary results of surface and groundwater surveys. Results show slow movement of groundwater from the south (site of the proposed development) toward the Nature Preserve. The model predicts most groundwater originates from east of the Nature Preserve. Mr. Hensel indicated development may have “net improvement” to the groundwater resource by removing cattle and by directing chloride loading (septic fields) to the south, away from the Nature Preserve. The developer has also agreed to improve the stormwater plan by relocating the retention basin. The Village of Lake Barrington Planning Commission and the Village Board will revisit this proposal pending formal submission of aforementioned groundwater studies.
e. Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, Lake County - Steven Byers
Issue: High-density development adjacent to Illinois Beach State Park (IBSP) along Wadsworth Road.
Threat: The proposed development will alter surface hydrology (from sheet flow to single discharge point) and poses threat to water quality and flow rates entering IBSP. Status: Ongoing - On March 17, 2006, the developer, consultant, U.S. Army Corps Engineers (USCOE), and Steven Byers met to review the proposed development. USCOE/INPC staff discussed a suite of best management practices (vegetated infiltration swales, redesign of detention basin into wet basins that provide added water quality benefits, etc.), and protection/management of woods on the east facing slope overlooking IBSP. In a letter dated April 12, 2006, the developer/consultant agreed to incorporate those recommendations into the site plan. Mr. Byers raised the potential for basement flooding since the depth to the groundwater remains unknown. Mr. Byers also recommended all parties conduct “due diligence” regarding access to this site from Wadsworth Road. The IDNR maintains it owns the right-of-way and will not approve access depicted in the current development plan. The developer has requested a regional permit from the USCOE.
f. Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, Cook County - John Nelson
Issue: Deep underground mining operation, industrial facilities, and business park. Threat: Impacts to the groundwater system that sustains Bluff Spring.
Status: Ongoing - Coordinated a Bluff Spring Fen Protection Plan Meeting on April 25, 2006, which included representatives from several local government entities and Vulcan/Bluff City Material Mining companies. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the phase two grouting effort planned for 2006 at the mine portal located south of Bluff Spring Fen. Portal grouting is intended to reduce groundwater being intercepted by the mine portal and is responsible for a reduction in fen groundwater levels. The results of this meeting were unknown at the time of this report submission.
g. Black Hawk Forest Nature Preserve, Rock Island County - Angella Moorehouse
Issue: Heavy rains washed out a culvert causing a partial collapse of the road on Route 5 adjacent to Black Hawk Forest Nature Preserve.
Threat: The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) requested permission to conduct emergency road repair to fix Route 5. Road repair will involve removal of seven trees, installation of a series of drop boxes, and slope grading extending approximately 20 feet into the Nature Preserve.
Status: New & Resolved - INPC staff and the Nature Preserve landowner approved the IDOT proposal for the emergency road repair. Trees will be replaced, and the area will be seeded to native warm season grasses.
6. Stewardship Program
a. MANAGE-MATS: A contractor continues work on the development of a web-based land management tracking and reporting system for the INPC. This project is serving as a pilot project for the IDNR. When completed, the new system should meet INPC needs for a web-based tool for annual reporting, development of management plans and schedules, and preparation of the INPC’s biennial reports.
b. Staff received grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeastern Illinois Wetland Conservation Account for:
i. Restoration of Butterfield Creek Headwaters Land and Water Reserve in Cook County ($60,000, Kim Roman)
ii. Restoration of Maunk-Sook Sedge Meadow and Savanna Land and Water Reserve ($25,450, Steven Byers) in conjunction with The Land Conservancy of McHenry County.
c. Steven Byers obtained funds from local soil and water conservation districts in McHenry and Kane counties to conduct management at Alden Headwater (INAI site) and Brewster Creek Fen Nature Preserve.
d. Angella Moorehouse has been working with Hal Hassen, IDNR Cultural Resources Coordinator, and the Henry County Natural Area Guardians to map and document the location, condition, and inscriptions of burial markers within two pioneer cemeteries dedicated as nature preserves, Munson Township Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve and Greenlee Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve in Henry County.
e. Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN): Mary Kay Solecki attended the east-central Illinois VSN stewards’ luncheon and presented a certificate of appreciation to Dan Busemeyer, a hard-working, dedicated volunteer steward who moved to Canada in March, 2006.
f. Involvement with other organizations:
i. Randy Heidorn, Debbie Newman, and Tom Lerczak attended meetings of the Landowner Incentive Program Technical Advisory Committee.
ii. Field staff and Randy Heidorn attended IDNR regional meetings. This was an opportunity for staff to meet the IDNR’s new interim Director.
iii. John Nelson assisted the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance in hosting a workday on February 28, 2006, for the staff of the Regulatory Branch of the Chicago District Army Corps of Engineers. Corps staff received hands-on training in brush cutting, hauling, and burning at Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve.
iv. Steven Byers assisted the Fox Valley Land Foundation in preparing an IDNR C2000 grant for $26,200 to conduct management work at Trout Park Nature Preserve, Chicago Junior School Fen Natural Heritage Landmark, and Trout Park River’s Edge.
v. Mary Kay Solecki gave a presentation at an April, 2006, meeting of the Vermilion Ecosystem Partnership on two C2000 grant proposals to fund purchase of two land and water reserves on two parcels of the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River (an INAI stream).
g. Stewardship Planning:
i. Steven Byers participated in Des Plaines Watershed visioning meeting sponsored by OpenLands Project as part of effort to leverage $26 million from the O’Hare Mitigation Agreement to restore/enhance wetlands in watershed.
ii. Angella Moorehouse has been playing an active role by attending meetings and coordinating with the IDNR and Western Illinois University on plans for a fall deer harvest, biological research, and public use at the 1,205-acre Cedar Glen State Natural Area - 888 acres of which was recently acquired by the IDNR from The Nature Conservancy and 926 acres of which are dedicated or registered in INPC programs.
h. Stewardship Project Implementation:
i. Field staff are administering several stewardship projects on privately owned sites enrolled in INPC programs. These projects are funded through the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund and the INPC’s operating budget.
ii. Staff have submitted project proposals to Bob Szafoni of the Division of Natural Heritage for consideration for funding in FY 2007.
i. Land Management Activities conducted by staff:
i. INPC staff participated in prescribed burns as follows:
(1) Angella Moorehouse – 10 burns totaling approximately 300acres.
(2) John Nelson – 15 burns totaling approximately 1,100 acres.
(3) Kim Roman – 13 burns totaling over 1,000 acres.
(4) Mary Kay Solecki – 7 burns totaling approximately 380 acres
(5) Deb Newman – 7 burns at 8 sites (one burn included two sites).
(6) Bob Edgin – 36 burns totaling approximately 794 acres.
ii. John Nelson seeded a 6-acre prairie restoration unit at Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve.
iii. Bob Edgin conducted exotic species control at five nature preserves and installed signs at Dry Fork Woods Natural Heritage Landmark after the signs had been taken down. Mr. Edgin also established monitoring stations in three natural communities at this site.
iv. Debbie Newman
(1) Coordinated the air shaft fencing and boundary marking for Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve with the Village of Valmeyer and the Illinois Audubon Society.
(2) Coordinated Wildlife Preservation Fund Herpetological survey of two sites.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if Steven Byers is confident that the vacation of the roadways at Wolf Road Prairie will block the development.
Mr. Byers stated that he is not confident that this will resolve the problem. He stated that the Forest Preserve District of Cook County maintains that because of the action it took, adopting a resolution to vacate the streets, will preclude any development that has been approved recently by the city of Westchester. The Forest Preserve District is willing to file injunctions if further proceedings take place.
190-6) IDNR Staff Report
Glen Kruse presented the following staff report:
Natural Areas Evaluation Committee
The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee met in Springfield on April 4, 2006. Actions approved by the committee included:
Detweiler Riverfront Prairie, Peoria County - added to the INAI. This site includes one of the best and largest wet prairie communities within the middle Illinois River Valley.
Mississippi River - Pontoosuc, Henderson & Hancock counties - added a Category II feature for the discovery of two threatened mussels (butterfly and black sandshell); added Category VI designation for the presence of 24 species of live freshwater mussels (unusual concentration of invertebrates).
Florsheim Park, Lake County - approved boundary change to include Old Mills Flatwood Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve.
Parklands Foundation Merwin Preserve, McLean County - added
to the INAI as a Category I site for 11 acres of “best of its kind”
dry-mesic savanna which has been restored by woody control and prescribed
burning since 1989. This savanna supports 171
Hanging Rock, Clay County - added Category II designation for specific suitable habitat for grass-leaved lily (Stenanthium gramineum).
Emma Vance Woods, Crawford County - added to the INAI as a Category I site for 11.7 acres of grade B dry-mesic upland forest and 8.5 acres of mesic floodplain forest. Cores indicate that the larger oaks and hickories on this site date back to approximately 1844.
Red Hills Woods, Lawrence County - changed the Category I and III feature from dry upland forest to dry-mesic upland forest.
Dry Fork Woods, Wayne County - changed boundary to exclude southern half (20 acres) of site that was heavily logged in January 2006. The north 20 acres remain intact and enrolled in the Natural Heritage Landmark program.
No new natural area acquisitions have been finalized since the Commission’s February meeting.
Mike Moomey has joined the Department as Assistant Chief of the Division of Habitat Resources. Mr. Moomey previously managed the Section of Toxicology at the Illinois Department of Public Health and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Mr. Moomey will handle a variety of administrative functions in the Division, and his expertise in contaminant issues will be a valuable addition to staff capabilities.
Bob Szafoni has accepted the position as Natural Areas Inventory Project Manager.
Wildlife Preservation Fund
As of April 21, 2006, tax check-off contributions to the Wildlife Preservation Fund had reached $123,042. This is behind the pace of last year’s contributions, but all funds are down relative to the same date last year because fewer returns have been processed.
190-7) Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report
Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) Manager, stated that the ESPB held its meeting on February 17, 2006, in Champaign. Discussion of recovery plans for some of the endangered plants and animals took place at this meeting. The ESPB has been working with the IDNR to improve the recovery plan for the alligator snapping turtle. Listing and de-listing of species and House Bill 4303 was also discussed at the meeting.
Mr. Nyboer stated that Janet Boyer, Executive Secretary to the ESBP, took another position within State government. He stated that the Board currently only has a part-time employee, and it has no budget.
The next meeting of the ESPB will be on May 19, 2006, at Volo Bog.
Chair Drucker stated that the Commission received a letter, dated February 9, 2006, from Russell Clendenin, owner of Degognia Canyon Land and Water Reserve. Chair Drucker read the letter for the record:
“Dear Randy and members of the Nature Preserves Commission,
Please accept my deep gratitude for accepting Degognia Canyon as a land and water reserve. The protection of Degognia Canyon is one of the most important things in my life. The only way I could entrust the Commission with this is if I believe you must love the land as much as I do. You must understand though the reason I believe this is because of the good people you have working for you. I cannot say enough about Scott Ballard. His sincerity, integrity, and honesty is unsurpassed. Not to mention his keen eye for and vast knowledge of our ecosystems. Whoever hired Scott should be commended for their insight. I would also like to express my deep thanks to Judy Dempsey. A kinder more thoughtful soul could not be found. Judy listened to all of my thoughts and concerns with deep concerns with deep consideration. Her hard work should not go unnoticed. Thanks also to Jody Shimp. His kind and thoughtful expressions for Degognia Canyon are not overlooked. As highly as Scott and Judy speak of Jody, I know he must be good man. In closing, please keep in mind there are many sincere landowners in Illinois who are searching for you. Please find someway to help find them. I was very fortunate to meet Scott Ballard. Please keep up this most necessary work.
Your Friend, Russell Clendenin.”
Commissioner Schwegman stated that Mr. Clendenin attended a birding event in southern Illinois recently. He stated that Mr. Clendenin had a picture of an orchid that he had found on his property. It turned out to be the crane-fly orchid, and this may be a new northern record for that plant. Commissioner Schwegman commended Mr. Clendenin on his efforts to protect his land.
Randy Heidorn stated that for the record that the registration documents have been signed by the landowners prior to coming before the Commission as required by the administrative rule.
190-8) Piatt Co. - Jasmine Hollow Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal to register Jasmine Hollow as a land and water reserve. Jasmine Hollow, owned by James and Mare Payne, is a 143.7 acre natural area along the Sangamon River southwest of Allerton Park and Monticello in Piatt County. This area, located in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, protects a 0.85 mile segment of the Sangamon River, a river recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a biologically significant stream (#1449). The Sangamon River provides important habitat for a relatively high diversity of mussels including the state-threatened slippershell (Alasmidonta viridis). Jasmine Hollow also protects upland and bottomland forest. This site is one of nine protected natural areas that, taken together, preserve over 8.5 miles of the Sangamon River and over 3,100 acres of forest and other natural land along the Sangamon River corridor in Piatt and Champaign counties. Jasmine Hollow provides an important habitat corridor link to these protected natural lands. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ C2000 program enabled protection of this site by providing a grant to register the area as a land and water reserve.
Ms. Solecki stated that some of the allowable uses for this site will be hunting, fishing, mushroom collecting, cross-country skiing, and hiking. There is a cabin and driveway at Jasmine Hollow which will be maintained as needed or demolished. The cabin and driveway may not be enlarged.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon commented that the process of acquiring protection of this land started approximately four years ago by completing a C2000 application. The funding was applied for by the Illinois Audubon Society on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Payne. The grant was approved in January or February, 2003. There was a problem with the survey, and that delayed the implementation of the grant. The survey questions have been resolved, and the grant can now go forward.
Commission Ross-Shannon stated that for the record, the appointment of Mare Payne to the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission has no relationship to the finalization of the C2000 grant.
Ms. Solecki stated that the grant application was approved and awarded prior to Ms. Payne being considered or nominated as a Commissioner for the INPC.
It was moved by Keating, seconded by Flemal, and carried, with Payne abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Jasmine Hollow in Piatt County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-9) Piatt Co. - Shady Rest Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal to register Shady Rest as a land and water reserve. Shady Rest is an approximately 28-acre natural area located along the Sangamon River north of the City of Monticello in Piatt County in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This natural area protects an approximately 0.25-mile segment of the Sangamon River. This river is recognized by the INAI as a biologically significant stream (#1449) with outstanding aquatic resources, especially fresh-water mussels, for the river’s entire length in Piatt and Champaign counties. The Sangamon River provides important habitat for a relatively high diversity of mussels including the state-threatened slippershell (Alasmidonta viridis). Freshwater mussels are considered to be the most endangered group of species in North America. Shady Rest also protects bottomland forest and upland forest. This site is one of nine protected natural areas that, taken together, preserve over 8.5 miles of the Sangamon River and over 3,100 acres of forest and other natural land along the Sangamon River corridor in Piatt and Champaign counties. The Clean Energy Community Foundation made protection of this site possible by providing a grant to the Piatt County Forest Preserve District to acquire this site.
Ms. Solecki stated that some of the allowable uses of this site will be hiking, fishing, horseback riding, bike riding, and cross-country skiing. The Piatt County Forest Preserve District would like to maintain the existing lane through the woods as a hiking trail. The Piatt County Forest Preserve District also reserves the right maintain the trails with oil and chip should they so choose.
Commissioner Flemal asked who owns the Heartland trail, and do they plan to further develop the trail.
Ms. Solecki stated that the Heartland trail is owned by Heartland Pathways, a conservation organization. The group has historically viewed the trail as a rail opportunity, and it is important to them to convert this trail back to rail use in the future if that should ever become feasible. This group does not have a lot of funds for maintenance of the trail.
Commissioner Rosenthal asked if there was any danger of runoff
from the oil and chip trail.
Ms. Solecki stated that the only place the Forest Preserve District would oil and chip would be where the driveway leads off from the road, heading toward the house. The remaining portion of the looping pathway would be a pedestrian pathway. The pathway and the driveway is in the upland, and it is not adjacent to the floodplain. Water will get on the oil, and some of it may seep laterally. It will not seep down into the floodplain.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Shady Rest in Piatt County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
Chair Drucker asked Ms. Solecki to convey the thanks of the
Commission to the Piatt County Forest Preserve District.
190-10) Lake Co. – Jean Farwell Woods Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary dedication of the Jean Farwell Woods nature preserve buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. He stated that John Lillard and Frank Farwell wish to present three parcels of land for formal protection as the Jean Farwell Woods Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. Mr. Farwell wishes to present one parcel of 5.0 acres, while Mr. Lillard wishes to present two parcels totaling 15.584 acres. The three parcels, located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division, lie adjacent, or nearly so, to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve (INAI #1245). Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve encompasses elements of seven natural plant communities. Of these, elements of mesic savanna extend into and transition to dry-mesic forest within the proposed Jean Farwell Woods Addition. Of the three parcels, two (Lillard parcel #2, 3.162 acres and Farwell parcel, 5.0 acres) are being restored as a natural community while the third parcel (Lillard parcel #1, 12.692 acres) currently supports grazing by a few family-owned horses stabled nearby. Grazing on designated nature preserve buffer without provisions for closure of this reserved use, as described in a pre-existing conservation easement referenced in the proposal, is precedent-setting for the INPC. The conservation easement stipulates the nearby stable may not be used for commercial purposes and lists a number of prohibited uses that maintain both the current character and surface hydrology of Lillard parcel #1. The easement does provide that should the owner no longer wish to maintain horses on Lillard parcel #1, the parcel will be restored as a natural community. Mr. Byers stated that the proposal for dedication of the three parcels of land as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the recommendations described in the proposal for dedication of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve to protect additional lands, is consistent with tenets of good preserve design, does buffer Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve from incompatible land uses, and is consistent with the definition of buffer as provided by State statute. Upon determination that the three parcels meet the criteria for dedication as nature preserve buffer, separate Instruments of Dedication for consideration by the INPC will be prepared for each land owner. Dedication of the Jean Farwell Woods buffer addition, consisting of three separate parcels, will increase the size of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve from 581.8 to 602.384 acres.
Mr. Byers stated that allowable uses for Lillard parcel #2 will be hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding on existing trails.
He stated that Lillard parcel #1 contains a pond and a small, circular equestrian riding area which is primarily sand.
Mr. Byers stated that the Lillard parcel #1 and #2 are protected by a conservation easement that is held by the Lake Forest Open Lands Association. The rights that are reserved in the conservation easement include: maintaining the existing land use pattern, which includes grazing by horses and riding within the fenced area; the landowner may maintain the depth of the pond; maintain a narrow gravel drive; maintain the fences; and maintain the existing equestrian trails. The conservation easement describes some of the activities the landowner is not allowed to engage in: no additional construction of any buildings or any type of activity that would increase the amount of impervious surface; no alteration of the surface topography or the surface hydrology; no activity that would degrade the soil conditions; and should the landowner no longer maintain horses at this facility, then the landowner is committed to completely restoring the area to its natural presettlement condition.
Mr. Byers stated that it is his opinion that this site meets the definition of a nature preserve buffer, and it is consistent with good preserve design consideration.
Commissioner Keating asked about the small corridor of land between the boundary of Lillard parcel #2 and the Farwell tract.
Mr. Byers stated that there is a small wedge of land that is owned by the City of Lake Forest. He has been working with the City of Lake Forest, and they are responding to the interest of local landowners to protect that land. The City of Lake Forest has three options before them at the present time. One option would be to place an easement on the property by the City of Lake Forest. The second option would be to protect the parcel through a conservation easement that would be held by the Lake Forest Open Lands Association. The third option would be to dedicate the parcel as a buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. There is a water line that extends north and south between the two parcels. The water line corridor is approximately 60 feet wide at the south end and approximately 90 feet wide to the north.
Chair Drucker stated that he is recusing himself from the discussion on this site because of a personal friendship with Frank Farwell.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if the landowners would consider a land and water reserve designation rather than the dedicated buffer status.
Mr. Byers stated that he has not discussed that possibility with the landowners.
Commissioner Allread stated that she shares Commissioner Schwegman’s concern of a nature preserve buffer being a pasture that already has a level of protection on it. She stated that it was her concern that this would set a precedent for potential abuses of buffer status.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that the Commission has struggled with the definition of a nature preserve buffer. The buffer is based on location rather than the type of property it is. Undeveloped land would serve as a buffer, whether it was grazed or whether it was purely pristine. He stated that he likes the idea of adding the buffer and protection. The land and water reserve designation would give that protection, but the buffer status affords the site a higher protection. Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that he would feel more comfortable if there were strict limitations on the uses of the site, and should the property be sold, the new landowner would not be able to continue the previous land uses.
Randy Nyboer asked if a negative impact has been seen because of the grazing.
Mr. Byers stated that the site needs a lot of management, and he has talked with the Lake County Forest Preserve District about this. The Lake County Forest Preserve District has developed a long-term strategy for addressing the management needs. He stated that the horses do not spend a great deal of time in the area. The horses are kept in the stable and are fed hay.
Kim Roman asked if there was any way to limit the number of horses that could be kept on the property.
Mr. Byers stated that the stable can only accommodate eight horses, and there are currently three horses.
Fran Harty stated that the Commission should be concerned about two issues. The Commission should consider if approving the dedication of the buffer would be viewed as preserving buffer or preserving a lifestyle. He stated that it was his opinion that if the grazing in the buffer has a recreational value, it should be designated a land and water reserve.
Judy Faulkner Dempsey stated that she has a great deal of experience with horse use at the Shawnee National Forest, and she has owned horses for many years. She is concerned about the spread of exotics, the number of horses allowed at the site, and the potential impacts that come from having horses on the property.
Mr. Byers reiterated that the current conservation easement does preclude degradation of the soil, so there are provisions and mechanisms to prevent what Ms. Dempsey has described.
Randy Heidorn stated one of the reasons he was more comfortable with the land and water reserve designation is that it does provide the protection from eminent domain that the conservation easement currently on the property would not. The nature preserve buffer status is a slightly higher form of protection because the process to de-dedicate is a more difficult process. The taking of a nature preserve, nature preserve buffer, or land and water reserve for eminent domain requires a finding that the action is within the public interest. The difference between the buffer status and the land and water reserve status is a tax benefit and the definition of the purpose for taking through eminent domain. The tax benefit is greater with the buffer designation, and eminent domain action can only be used for a public activity.
Commissioner Keating asked if this could be changed to a life estate which could not be transmitted to any other owner.
Mr. Byers stated that he would have to talk with the landowner before he could comment on that suggestion. He stated that the landowner has made a significant commitment and contribution to protect the natural features of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. The market value of the land is over $5 million.
Commissioner Riddell stated that she is abstaining from the vote on the Farwell portion of the proposal because of a family connection. She asked that the Commission vote separately on the parcels owned by Frank Farwell and John Lillard.
Mr. Byers stated both landowners felt comfortable with the combined application for preliminary approval, however, he advised the landowners that further action would require separate documents of dedication.
Commissioner Riddell stated that the Mr. Lillard is making a substantial contribution to the protection of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, and it is conceivable that there could be a condemnation of that property for the placement of waterlines, roads, or future development. Development pressure in this area is very intense.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that it is his opinion that the Commissioners may be a little reluctant to vote on this issue today. He stated the conflict seems to relate to Lillard parcel #1 and what is appropriate protection. Approving the buffer status for this parcel would set a precedent for the Commission. He stated that the Commissioners may feel more comfortable with more direction from Mr. Lillard as to whether he would accept the land and water reserve designation which would provide the protection that the Commission would like to see, and at the same time, allow the Commission not to set a precedent. He recommended that the Commission proceed with the approval of preliminary dedication of the Farwell parcel and Lillard parcel #2 and table any action on Lillard parcel #1. Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked Mr. Byers to convey to Mr. Lillard that the Commission is greatly appreciative of his generosity and wants to provide protection of Lillard parcel #1. He would like Mr. Lillard to recognize the situation it puts the Commission in with regard to setting such a precedence.
Chair Drucker stated that another possibility for consideration was raised which needs to be discussed with the landowner; the possibility of placing a time limitation on the use of horses.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Keating, and carried, with Drucker and Riddell abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Farwell parcel as nature preserve buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Keating, and carried, with Drucker abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication
of Lillard parcel #2 as nature
preserve buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting. The preliminary approval consideration of Lillard parcel #1 is tabled until the 191st Meeting of the INPC.
190-11) Randolph Co. – Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve, Dedication
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal for preliminary dedication for Swayne Hollow as a nature preserve. The proposed Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve comprises about one half of the Swayne Hollow INAI site (#827). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) wishes to dedicate the 88 acres in their ownership as an Illinois nature preserve. Swayne Hollow is located in the Central Section of the Ozark Natural Division. Swayne Hollow is included on the INAI as a Category II site for threatened and endangered species; a site that contains relict plant species; and as an exceptional feature due to the presence of an undisturbed sandstone cliff community. The significance of Swayne Hollow is primarily due to the presence of the federally threatened small whorled pogonia orchid (Isotria medeoloides). This is the only known population of the plant in Illinois. The plant has been dormant since 1991, but extended dormancy is characteristic for this species. The relict plant species that occur at Swayne Hollow include shining clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum), ground pine (Lycopodium flabelliforme), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), all occurring on the north-facing grade A sandstone cliff community. The state-threatened yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera flava) also occurs on the sandstone cliff community.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that after the drought in 1988, the small whorled pogonia orchid did not flower again. When he checked the flower in 1992, he found that a chipmunk had dug a hole where the flower had been found.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that the Illinois glacier came over this site and filled in the old valleys to some extent. When the glacier melted away, the creeks formed new channels. He stated that he felt this was some of the best glacial-diverted stream topography that he has ever encountered.
It was moved by Payne, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried, with Drucker abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Swayne Hollow as an Illinois Nature Preserve in Randolph County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-12) Clinton Co. – Lost Creek Marsh Nature Preserve,
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of Lost Creek Marsh as a nature preserve. The proposed Lost Creek Marsh Nature Preserve, owned by Bonnie Nehrt and John W. Schulte, is an 88-acre parcel that includes marsh, floodplain forest, upland forest and Lost Creek. The site was identified by the INAI as a grade C best of its kind marsh (#418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission recommends preliminary approval of the 88-acre parcel as an Illinois nature preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1857).
Mr. Edgin stated that Ms. Nehrt and Mr. Schulte submitted an application to enroll the crop land adjacent to the proposed nature preserve in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in April, 2006. To ensure the enrollment into the CRP, Ms. Nehrt and Mr. Schulte opted to take a lower per acre payment on the property. They also opted to forgo the cost share option. They will be purchasing all the seed and paying for the planting of the prairie grass on the crop land area.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Lost Creek Marsh as an Illinois Nature Preserve in Clinton County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-13) Clinton Co. – Schulte Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of Schulte Woods as a nature preserve. The proposed Schulte Woods Nature Preserve, owned by John W. Schulte, is a 35.15-acre parcel that includes floodplain forest, upland forest and a nearly one-quarter mile segment of the Kaskaskia River INAI site. The segment of the Kaskaskia River from Route 50 to its confluence with Shoal Creek, including the portion within the proposed preserve, was identified by the INAI as a Category VI - high mussel diversity stream (#1514). It is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1861).
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Schulte Woods in Clinton County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-14) DuPage Co. – Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve at the West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve, Dedication
Leslie Berns, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve. The City of West Chicago and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County seek final approval for dedication of a jointly-owned portion of West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve as the Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve. The proposed Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve, located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division, is 120.3 acres in size and encompasses high-quality mesic prairie, wet-mesic prairie, freshwater marsh, mesic silt loam savanna, and wet prairie natural communities identified on the INAI site (#505) as West Chicago Prairie. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of 126 acres of West Chicago Prairie at its 87th Meeting in January, 1982 (Resolution #619). Since that time, the prairie which was discovered by Richard Truitt, Mayor of the City of West Chicago, was managed for many years by Melvern “Mel” Hoff. Surveys by Bowles and Jones entitled “Twenty-five year trends of change in prairie and wetland natural areas in the Chicago region of northeastern Illinois” show that the native richness index for this site increased between 1976 and 2001 which attests to the management effort led by Mr. Hoff and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
It was moved by Payne, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Truitt-Hoff as an Illinois Nature Preserve in DuPage County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-15) Kankakee Co. – Addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature
Kim Roman presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of a 20-acre addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. In August of 2005, Pembroke Savanna was dedicated as an Illinois nature preserve. This 65-acre site, owned by the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is recognized on the INAI (#54) for its high-quality, dry sand savanna, and it also provides habitat for a state-threatened butterfly. It lies within the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This site is one of the best examples of a black oak sand savanna in all of Illinois. TNC has prioritized this site for conservation efforts and has been acquiring additional tracts of land in the immediate surroundings of Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. The Illinois Chapter of TNC has recently acquired a 20-acre tract of the INAI site and wishes to dedicate it as an addition to the existing nature preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1862).
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Payne, and carried, with Drucker abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve in Kankakee County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-16) Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer
to Skokie River Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of a one-acre addition of nature preserve buffer, owned by Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA), to Skokie River Nature Preserve. This addition would increase the size of Skokie River Nature Preserve to 136.99 acres. Skokie River Nature Preserve (INAI #658) encompasses a mosaic of wetlands, mesic prairies, and dry-mesic forest arrayed along subtle elevation, moisture, and soil gradients within the Skokie River valley. The Nature Preserve is located in Lake County in the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Embedded within Skokie River Nature Preserve are two high-quality prairies, McLaughlin Prairie and Shaw Prairie, that were recognized by the INAI. Eleven tracts of land, including the proposed addition (often referred to as the DeBiase Tract), were recently conveyed to the LFOLA by TNC. Of those eleven tracts of land, all except the proposed addition have been formally dedicated as part of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. The conveyance specifically directed the LFOLA to “...take all actions necessary to dedicate the DeBiase Tract as a Illinois State Nature Preserve...” Initial consideration of the ecological significance of this preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission dates back to the Commission’s 60th Meeting in October, 1976, when the Commission approved “...in principle, dedication of suitable portions of the Lake Forest Open Lands areas as a nature preserve.” It was not until 1992 at the Commission’s 136th Meeting (Resolution #1142), however, that the Commission conferred final approval for 100 acres as Skokie River Nature Preserve. Since then, the Commission has conferred final approval for seven additional tracts of land totaling 36 acres. The proposed addition of prairie encompasses a small portion of Skokie River INAI site and its designation as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the provisions of earlier proposals for dedication that call for linkages to “...be expanded through dedication of adjacent lands as buffer and improved by natural community restoration.” The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1863).
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Skokie River Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
A lunch break was taken from 12:30 - 1:00 p.m.
190-17) Lake Co. – Herrmann Wildflower Farm Addition of
Nature Preserve Buffer to Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of the 9.35-acre Herrmann Wildflower Farm addition of nature preserve buffer to Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 154th Meeting in February, 1997 (Resolution #1339). The site is referred to as Herrmann’s Woods on the INAI (#664), and is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division. The ecological value of the proposed Herrmann Wildflower Farm buffer addition (water quality benefits) was detailed in a report entitled Buffer Zone Planning and Management in the Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area. Despite the fact that the proposed addition is disjunct from Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve, the Commission conferred preliminary approval as nature preserve buffer because of the ecological values ascribed to this parcel in that report and because of the presence of high-quality dry-mesic forest. Dedication of this parcel will honor the long-standing interest of Edna and her parents to protect the woods and will increase the size of the Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve from 278.9 acres to 288.25 acres.
Mr. Byers stated that Ms. Herrmann passed away on April 29, 2006. She had been in the hospital for six weeks, and he visited with her on several occasions during her hospital stay. He stated that she talked about her responsibility of protecting her property. She also expressed her appreciation that she was able to sign the instruments of dedication and to answer questions from the staff representative from the hospital that notarized her signature on the dedication documents. Mr. Byers stated that Ms. Hermmann confirmed to the hospital staff representative that it was her wish to dedicate her property as an Illinois nature preserve.
Commissioner Rosenthal asked, since Ms. Herrmann passed away before the Commission approved the final dedication, does someone else needs to sign the final dedication document.
Mr. Byers stated that Ms. Herrmann signed the documents, and her signature was notarized.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that in Illinois, if the landowner signs a deed and delivers the deed, the delivery counts. He recommended that the Commission proceed with the dedication and get further clarification on this matter.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the Herrmann Wildflower Farm addition of nature preserve buffer to Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-18) LaSalle Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer
to Starved Rock Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kim Roman presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserve. Starved Rock Nature Preserve is one of the first Illinois state parks and Illinois nature preserves. The Nature Preserve, which lies within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, was dedicated by the IDNR because of its unique natural and archaeological resources. The existing 592-acre Nature Preserve is recognized for its habitats for state-listed species, outstanding wildlife habitats, unique geological exposures, and cultural significance. The IDNR wishes to dedicate 108 acres of its holdings as buffer to the Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer shares some of the same qualities as the original Nature Preserve and is included on the INAI (#1077) for its wildlife habitat features as a winter roost site for a state and federally threatened bird. The dedication of this parcel as Nature Preserve buffer will ensure long-term protection of its resources and help complete preserve design for Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1864).
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserve in LaSalle County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-19) Winnebago Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve and
Nature Preserve Buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication
John Nelson presented a proposal for final dedication of an addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. The IDNR proposes to dedicate eight land parcels as addition and buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Presently, Harlem Hills Nature Preserve is 54.2 acres. The Nature Preserve has been owned and managed by the IDNR since 1972, with the exception of a 1.8-acre private land addition by Dr. Barbara M. Atwood in 1996. The gravel prairies at Harlem Hills represent the last of their kind in the Winnebago Section of the Northeast Morainal Natural Division. The total acreage of dry-mesic gravel prairie in Illinois is 51.7 acres. The Harlem Hills INAI site (#918) contains 35 of those acres or 67.7 percent of all remaining gravel prairies within the State. The proposed nature preserve addition includes the remainder of the unprotected INAI site and includes one state-listed plant not known from the existing Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. It is the recommendation of INPC and IDNR staff that parcels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , and 8, comprising 28.83 acres, be dedicated as addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve and that parcels 9 and 10, comprising 7.4 acres, be dedicated as buffer to same. These additions will help protect unique natural communities, two state-endangered plants - downy yellow painted cup (Castilleja sessiliflora) and redroot (Ceanothus herbaceus) and provide potential habitat for a state-threatened butterfly. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1865).
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Payne, and carried that
the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve in Winnebago County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-20) Monroe and Randolph Counties – Update on Ameren IP Prairie State Interconnector Power Line Project
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on the developments of the Ameren project. The Prairie State Energy Complex, to be built in southwestern Illinois, needs a connection made to the power grid for the Rush Island Power Plant which is south of St. Louis, Missouri.
Debbie Newman stated the INPC learned about this project in December, 2005. The plan is for a 37-mile long high voltage power line to distribute the energy to the grid. The power will not be provided to Illinois. The route will entail clearing and permanently maintaining a 150-foot path along the entire 37-mile power line. Portions of the route would go through forests and agricultural lands. Currently, there are three proposed routes suggested by Ameren IP. Commission and IDNR staff have great concern regarding where the three proposed routes cross the Mississippi bluffs in Monroe County. The location of all three of the proposed routes cross INAI sites and a bluff corridor. There is a 35-mile stretch, containing 4,000 acres of INAI sites, of Mississippi River bluff corridor. It is one of the most active areas in southwestern Illinois for protection projects for the Commission. Ms. Newman stated that in the last six years, she has presented ten parcels along the bluffs for dedication or registration. She stated that she has also enrolled three natural heritage landmarks in the bluff corridors. Ms. Newman stated that one of the routes skirts along the edge of Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve. Another proposed route goes along Angela’s Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark and Brickey-Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve.
Using a large map of the area, Ms. Newman pointed out the proposed routes. She stated that the southern line crosses next to Angela’s Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark, Brickey- Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, and William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve. It also cuts through an unprotected portion of the Renault Herpetological Area INAI site. The northern route cuts through the Salt Peter Cave INAI site. Ameren’s preferred route would cut over near Fults Hill Nature Preserve. Once the line crosses the bluff, it would go down to the floodplain and cross to the Ameren-owned Rush Island Plant in Missouri.
Ms. Newman stated that Ameren has spoken only with the landowners
on its preferred route.
Mr. Heidorn stated that to his knowledge, the Environmental Protection Agency permit for the operation of Ameren’s coal plant has not been finalized. Ameren is wanting a certificate of public necessity which would give it the authorization to build the lines. The Commission has been in negotiations with Ameren since the end of March, 2006.
Ms. Newman gave each Commissioner a summary sheet. She stated that in the ongoing discussions with Ameren, the Commission has raised a number of issues that it feels are of serious concern relating to the construction of the power line in the three proposed locations where it crosses the bluff. The most serious concern is the fragmentation of the corridor. Another major concern is the potential problem with exotic species. She stated that she has dealt with the former Illinois Power Company through another situation involving a land and water reserve in Monroe County. That power line was constructed four years ago, and approximately 12 exotic plants are now found in the corridor. The exotic plants will cause long-term management concerns for the 450-acre land and water reserve. She stated that Ameren did inform Commission staff that when it has an easement, the landowner can inform Ameren not to spray chemicals for brush control on their property. If the landowner does not want the chemical brush control, there will be no control over the exotics in that portion of the power line corridor.
Ms. Newman stated that in the last seven years, the Commission has spent approximately $54,000 for exotic and invasive species management within the vicinity of the three proposed routes. In 2006, another $23,000 has been committed to Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve and Brickey- Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve area. One of the State’s Kudzu populations is along one of the proposed routes.
Ms. Newman stated that there are nine threatened or endangered species and two rare species in the bluff corridor. One of the species is found nowhere else except where the power line is proposed to cross. Six of the species are not known outside of Monroe and Randolph counties.
Ms. Newman stated that the Commission has met with Ameren four times and tried to propose alternate routes that may be acceptable. The Commission urged Ameren to move the route approximately one mile south of the proposed southern bluff crossing route because there is an active quarry operation in that location. She stated that Ameren did not think it was a feasible alternative to move the line because of the problems associated with blasting in the rock. The Commission also suggested alternative modifications to all three routes. Ameren did make some concessions, however, it was learned today that Ameren has returned to its recommendation of one of the original routes.
Ms. Newman stated that a proposed alternate route was given to Ameren that would bring the line down the hollow around Fults Road. Apparently Ameren rejected this proposal because there is a cemetery in the path. Ameren proposed going on the north side of Fults Road, then hooking back into the originally proposed northern route which cuts right across the INAI site.
Mr. Heidorn stated that Ameren is scheduled to resubmit the compromise route to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on May 9, 2006. In order to be a participant in the discussion before the ICC, the Commission would have to become an intervener. An intervener is sometimes viewed as wanting to stop a project rather than finding a reasonable solution to the problem. The staff is requesting direction from the Commission on how it would like staff to proceed. The staff could continue to work with the IDNR and Ameren to try to resolve some of the issues. Stan Yonkauski, legal council for the IDNR, has been attending the ICC meetings. To become an intervener, the Commission would have to make a formal request for an attorney through the Attorney Generals Office.
Commissioner Keating stated that it was his opinion that Ameren’s
reasoning for not wanting to go over the cemetery was odd. The pylons would
not have to be put in the cemetery.
Ms. Newman stated that the Commission was made aware of this project late in the process, reducing its ability to respond effectively.
Commissioner Riddell stated that she is concerned that Ameren may see the INPC as being potentially the least form of resistance. She said that she would like to see the Commission being the path of most resistance.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if Ameren was going to buy the property for the pathway.
Ms. Newman stated that Ameren is planning on obtaining transmission line easements along the power line pathway.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that since the cemetery does not have to be moved because of the proposed route, the possibility of obtaining permission to run the power lines over the cemetery may be more easily obtained.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission directs staff to continue negotiations with
Ameren IP to achieve the best possible route for the power line to protect
the various conservation interests in the area.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked how long the process will take once Ameren refiles on May 9, 2006.
Mr. Heidorn stated that the ICC is still in the scheduling process for the issue. The plan was to resubmit the proposal on May 9, 2006. It may be the end of July or first of August, 2006, before a decision is made.
Commissioner Flemal recommended that the Commission express that it has an interest in the resolution of placement of the power line. Even if the Commission does not seek to intervene now, it can go on record to urge all necessary efforts to insure the proper resolution of this matter, including intervention if it was so determined that it would affect the end result.
Mr. Heidorn stated that Mr. Yonkauski is not representing the IDNR in the sense of being an attorney for the IDNR or the INPC. A representative from the Attorney Generals Office would be the only one that could intervene in this matter before the ICC.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission is on record that the placement of the Ameren IP power line is an important issue, and the preservation of the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory sites is critical to the mission of the Commission. The Commission believes that the potential impacts of the Ameren proposals need to be addressed and mitigated to the degree that the natural impact is minimized. The Commission requests the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to take whatever action necessary to provide the information, including intervention, in the matter presently before the Illinois Commerce Commission.
190-21) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
There was no public comment.
190-22) Natural Areas Acquisition Fund Fiscal Year 2007 Land Acquisition Proposals
The Nature Preserves Commission reviews the capital expenditure
of the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) and provides a recommendation
to the Director of the IDNR. The capital portion of the NAAF for Fiscal Year
(FY) 2007 is estimated at $6 million to be divided as follows: land acquisition
- $5.31 million; stewardship - $590,000, and defense - $100,000.
The recommendations for FY 2007 include 37 tracts of land within 25 natural areas. All parcels proposed for acquisition are identified on the INAI or buffer an INAI site. Thirty one of the natural areas provide habitat for endangered or threatened species, 25 of the tracts are adjacent to or buffer an existing nature preserve or land and water reserve.
The proposed acquisitions total 6,300 acres and would cost approximately $22 million to acquire. With incidental and relocation costs, the total expenditure from the NAAF would be approximately $24 million. The cost of the natural area tracts is higher than the projected land acquisition budget for FY 2007 from the NAAF. The longer list gives the IDNR the flexibility to work with willing sellers to acquire as many of the tracts as possible. The IDNR will use grants, bargain sales, and partner contributions to maximize the acreage acquired with the NAAF. Descriptions of the natural area tracts proposed for acquisition are:
MISSISSIPPI PALISADES is a large block of forest on the bluff above the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois. The forest supports breeding populations of birds that require large forest blocks including cerulean warbler, a threatened species. The IDNR owns 2,400 acres here and has dedicated 48 acres as a nature preserve. The proposed additions will add forested tracts to the park assuring they remain forested and are not developed.
WOLF ROAD PRAIRIE, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, is a rare remnant of the original tallgrass prairie of Illinois. The prairie provides habitat for three endangered species. Wolf Road Prairie is a dedicated nature preserve and a nominated National Natural Landmark. The prairie is being protected and restored through a partnership between the IDNR and the Cook County Forest Preserve District. This five-acre addition will buffer the west side of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve from incompatible development.
SHAFFER HOLLOW HILL PRAIRIE is a loess hill prairie in west central Illinois included on the INAI. The proposed acquisition includes all of the Shaffer Hollow hill prairie and enough surrounding forest land to adequately buffer the prairie from adjacent incompatible use. This is a new conservation project, not an addition to an existing site.
RICE HOLLOW is located on a spectacular stretch of bluffs at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. It is located less than two miles downstream from Pere Marquette State Park. The tract proposed for acquisition includes a large block of forest, nearly a mile of bluff and hill prairie included on the INAI.
HANOVER BLUFF, in the Driftless Area of Jo Daviess County, is a 450 acre natural area. It is located on a high dolomite ridge that forms a valley wall above the Mississippi River. It includes a 352-acre nature preserve that has six native plant communities: sand hill prairie, dry dolomite prairie, dolomite cliff, dry mesic and mesic upland forest, and seep springs. Hanover Bluff provides habitat for 11 state-endangered or threatened species. Expanding the site will provide additional habitat for the rare species and complement the area’s preserve design.
CACHE RIVER, in Johnson and Pulaski counties, is one of Illinois’ premier natural areas. It is a large, diverse area of bottomland forest, swamps, upland forest, hill prairie, bedrock glades, cliffs, and successional fields. Thirty endangered or threatened species of plants and animals occur here. Protected within the 14,000 acres owned by the IDNR is Illinois’ best example of a bald cypress - tupelo swamp. The proposed additions will protect additional upland forest and bottomland habitat and play an instrumental role in hydrologic restoration options for the Cache River natural area..
ILLINOIS BEACH is one of the largest and most diverse natural areas in Illinois. Two nature preserves, covering more than 1,600 acres, are protected at Illinois Beach State Park. The proposed acquisition is a small wetland directly adjacent to one of the nature preserves.
REDWING SLOUGH, in Lake County, is one of the largest remaining wetlands in northeastern Illinois. The marsh provides habitat for a large variety of wetland wildlife, including six species of endangered or threatened wetland dependent birds. The IDNR currently owns 996 acres at the site, much of it registered as a land and water reserve. The proposed acquisition will protect additional habitat and buffer the wetland. It will be restored to native vegetation and managed for wetland species.
STARVED ROCK is one of Illinois’ best known natural areas with a series of deep sandstone canyons and extensive wooded bluffs above the Illinois River in LaSalle County. Seventeen endangered or threatened species occur here. The IDNR owns 2,800 acres at Starved Rock State Park, including a 590-acre dedicated nature preserve. The proposed acquisitions will help complete the park and nature preserve.
SHELLBARK BOTTOMS, located along the Embarras River in southeastern Illinois, includes a large bottomland forest and oxbow sloughs. This tract provides habitat for two endangered or threatened species. Shellbark Bottoms is directly adjacent to a 2,000-acre tract enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program, creating a significance wetland at the confluence of the Embarras and Wabash rivers.
FRANKLIN CREEK natural area contains upland and bottomland forest, prairie openings and seeps along Franklin Creek in the Rock River Hill Country of northern Illinois. The IDNR owns 663 acres here, of which 197 acres are dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed acquisitions will buffer the natural area and protect more of the forest.
PRAIRIE RIDGE State Natural Area in Marion and Jasper counties is made up of several blocks of grassland habitat. The natural area supports breeding populations of seven species of declining state-listed grassland birds, including the critically endangered greater prairie chicken. Other grassland birds here include northen harrier, upland sandpiper, Henslow’s sparrow, short eared owl, and loggerhead shrike. The IDNR owns more than 3,400 acres at Prairie Ridge, of which a 566 acres are dedicated as a nature preserve and 2,615 acres registered as a land and water reserve. The proposed acquisition will expand habitat for the grassland birds.
CLEAR LAKE ROOKERY is located in bottomland forest adjacent to a backwater lake in the Illinois River valley. This large rookery supports breeding pairs of three species of herons and egrets, including the black-crowned night heron, an endangered species.
BLACK CROWN MARSH is a 236-acre wetland less than a quarter mile east of Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County. The marsh provides habitat for eight endangered or threatened species of wetland dependent birds. The project is a partnership with several conservation groups, including the Lake County Forest Preserve District, CorLands, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (through LAWCON funding). Currently, the IDNR owns 186 acres here. Acquiring additional lands will benefit the birds nesting at the site, while protecting the marsh’s drainage basin.
MORAINE HILLS is a 1,889-acre state park containing five wetlands included on the INAI. Currently, 294 acres are dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed acquisition is a pastured upland that would provide buffer to the Leatherleaf Bog unit of Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve.
ALLERTON PARK is a large and diverse natural area owned by the University of Illinois and registered by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. Allerton Park contains one of the largest blocks of forest in central Illinois with six miles of Sangamon River frontage and occurrences of five endangered or threatened species. Recognizing the importance of the site, the IDNR is acquiring lands adjacent to the park to buffer the natural area and expand its forests and prairie through restoration. The proposed acquisition will buffer the northern part of the park and protect its watershed from incompatible development.
ROUND POND is an outstanding example of the original cypress - tupelo swamp of the Coastal Plain Natural Division of Illinois. Two endangered or threatened species occur at Round Pond.
CHESTNUT HILLS is a diverse natural area on the bluff above the Ohio River in southern Illinois. Four endangered or threatened species occur here. The IDNR currently owns 257 acres here, most of it dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed addition will provide additional habitat for the rare species, protect the heads of the ravines that run through the nature preserve, and improve public access to the site.
FAWKS EAGLE REFUGE is located on the bluffs above the Mississippi River near Rock Island in northwestern Illinois. The wooded ravines support one of the largest concentrations of wintering bald eagles in the Midwest. The IDNR owns 223 acres at the site, most of it dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed acquisition will protect more forest and the heads of the ravines that run through the nature preserve.
STEMLER CAVE WOODS is an old growth forest remnant located on a sinkhole plain near the entrance to Stemler Cave in the karst area of southwestern Illinois. The IDNR currently owns 195 acres at the site, most of it dedicated as a nature preserve. Two endangered species occur in the cave at this natural area. The surrounding area is rapidly developing. The additions will protect additional forest and many more sinkholes.
KNOBELOCH WOODS is an outstanding example of the original upland forest of south western Illinois and is dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed addition will buffer the 35-acre nature preserve from surrounding incompatible devolvement and improve access to the site for visitors.
JACKSON SLOUGH WOODS, located on a low terrace above the Kaskaskia River in south central Illinois, is an outstanding example of a rare community type known as a flatwoods. The site provides habitat for an endangered plant species. The IDNR owns 77 acres here, all of it a dedicated nature preserve.
CYPRESS POND is a 477-acre swamp bisected by the Johnson-Union county line. The site contains one of the largest cypress - tupelo swamps in the State. The bird-voiced tree frog, a threatened species, occurs here. The IDNR owns 1,047 acres here and has registered 310 acres as a land and water reserve.
TRAIL OF TEARS State Forest is a 5,100-acre forest block owned by the IDNR. It is directly adjacent to two federal wilderness areas covering more than 10,600 acres. The State Forest and the federal wilderness areas make up the largest protected block of forest in Illinois. The proposed acquisition will add more forested acreage to the protected block. Currently, 222 acres of Trail of Tears State Forest is a dedicated nature preserve. The State Forest provides habitat for a threatened mammal species.
WASHINGTON COUNTY Conservation Area is a 1,400-acre site owned by the IDNR. It contains Posen Woods Nature Preserve, a 40-acre southern flatwoods. The proposed acquisition is directly adjacent to the Nature Preserve. It will buffer the flatwoods and allow it to be expanded through restoration.
Note: These tracts are not listed in priority order. The list
may be modified by the IDNR with review by the Director of the INPC pursuant
to INPC Resolution #1486 as opportunities arise, provided the tract is included
on the INAI or buffers an INAI site.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Payne, and carried that the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission go into closed session, pursuant to Section 2(c)(5) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act [5ILCS 120/2(c)(5)] for the purposes of discussing the purchase or lease of real property for the use of a public body. Section 2(c)(5) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act provides that a public body may go into closed session to discuss, “the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, including meetings held for the purpose of discussing whether a particular parcel should be acquired.” A unanimous roll-call vote was taken. Closed session started at 2:00 p.m.
The meeting was called back to order at 2:20 p.m.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the fiscal year 2007 Natural Areas Acquisition Fund land acquisition list as presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 190th Meeting.
190-23) Other Business
Chair Drucker stated that a set of minutes from the August 7, 2001, August 6, 2002, August 3, 2004, and August 2, 2005, closed meetings of the Commission were included in the Commissioners’ packets. The meetings were closed in accordance with the Open Meetings Act to discuss the purchase of real property. Section 2.06 of the Open Meetings Act provides that public bodies, “shall periodically, but no less than semi-annually, meet to review minutes of all closed sessions. At such meetings, a determination shall be made and reported in an open session that: 1) the need for confidentiality still exists as to all or part of those minutes, or 2) that the minutes or portions thereof no longer require confidential treatment and are available for public inspection.” Chair Drucker asked for a motion to determine whether or not the minutes from these meetings should be kept closed.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that
the following resolution be adopted:
In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the August 7, 2001, meeting will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Payne, and carried that
the following resolution be adopted:
In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the August 6, 2002, meeting will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the August 3, 2004, meeting will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the August 2, 2005, meeting will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that the closed meeting minutes from 2001 to 2005 contain references to properties that are still under negotiations or consideration for acquisition by the IDNR.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Allread, and unanimously
approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:25 p.m.
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702