Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Minutes of the 193rd Meeting
(Subject to approval of Commission at 194th Meeting)


Emmerson Building
Illinois State Fairgrounds
Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees

At 10:00 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Ross-Shannon, the meeting began.

Chair Ross-Shannon read the roll call.

Members present: Jill Allread, Richard Keating, Mare Payne, Jill Riddell, Lauren Rosenthal, Bruce Ross-Shannon, and John Schwegman.

Members absent: Harry Drucker and Ronald Flemal.

Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, Mary Kay Solecki, and Deborah Stone, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Leslie Sgro, Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Ben Dolbeare, Glen Kruse, Mike Moomey, and John Wilker, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), IDNR; Kathi Davis, Tracy Evans, Don McFall, and Connie Waggoner, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, IDNR; Marcelyn Love, IDNR Public Information Officer; Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board, (ESPB) and Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS); Tom Clay, INPC Consultant and Illinois Audubon Society; Jennifer Filipiak, Lake County Forest Preserve District; Whitney Banning, Dr. Michael Dreslik, and Andrew Kuhns, Illinois Natural History Survey; Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk, representing Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies; Don Gardner, representing Gardner Prairie Restoration; Eric Golden, Landowner Incentive Program; Chris Young, Illinois State Journal Register; Bill McClain, Jim Payne, and George Rose.

Adoption of Agenda

Item 8 will be deferred, and the order of presentation may be altered as needed for the remaining Agenda items.

It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the Agenda be adopted as amended.

Commissioner Riddell stated that she would like to recommend that Joseph Roth be added as an INPC Consultant. She said that Mr. Roth has been a long-term friend of the INPC. Mr. Roth works for CorLands, which is an organization that works closely with the Commission. She felt that Mr. Roth would be a strong voice for conservation and a great asset to the Commission as a consultant. Commissioner Riddell stated that Mr. Roth has been contacted, and he would be honored to serve in this capacity.

It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that Joseph Roth be added as an INPC Consultant.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that the meeting held on Monday afternoon, February 5, 2007, at the IDNR headquarters was very informative. Randy Heidorn gave a presentation on the INPC strategic plan issues. Randy Nyboer gave a presentation on the INPC buffer issues. Bob Szafoni gave a presentation on stewardship, and Kim Roman gave a presentation on the duties of an INPC field staff. He also thanked Mary Kay Solecki for her efforts in reviewing the proposals.

He stated that there were discussions on stewardship issues, and he felt it would become more critical as time passes. He stated that he would like to propose to the Commissioners, as a group, that they ask the staff to begin putting together an action plan that would allow the Commissioners to move the stewardship recommendations agenda forward within the IDNR.

After some discussion, it was decided by consensus that the Commission will direct the staff to put together an agenda for stewardship issues for the Commission to consider.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that the budget will be coming out in the near future, and it is going to be crucial to the Commission’s mission. He would like to raise the possibility that he may be calling on individual Commissioners to help advocate for the budget.

Commissioner Keating stated that the January, 2007 issue of Outdoor Illinois contained several articles on endangered species which were contributed by Commission staff or other people attending this meeting. He felt it was an excellent issue, and he wanted to thank the staff for the input they had on this issue.

Chair Ross-Shannon reported that at the 192nd Meeting of the INPC, held at the Kankakee Elks Club in Aroma Park, legal protection for 14 tracts of land totaling 865 acres was approved by the Commission. The areas 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 $1,923,000 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 the INPCs 192nd Meeting were Edward V. Price Woods Land and Water Reserve, Crawford County; Iroquois Sands Land and Water Reserve, Iroquois County; Angela’s Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Monroe County, Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs Land and Water Reserve, Monroe County; Weiland Woods Land and Water Reserve, Washington County; Emma Vance Woods Nature Preserve, Crawford County; Jean Farwell Woods addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Lake County; McAndrews Glen buffer addition to Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve, McHenry County; and Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve, McLean County. Protection of this land came about because the Commission has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 336 dedicated nature preserves in 81 counties totaling 45,045.659 acres and 140 land and water reserves in 58 counties totaling 38,521.834 acres.

193-3) Approval of the Minutes of the 192nd Meeting, October 24, 2006

Bob Edgin requested a correction be made in the spelling of a word on page six, sixth paragraph, of the minutes. Mr. Edgin pointed out that, as presently shown, the word has a different meaning than what was intended, and he would like to have the spelling changed to “intention.”

It was moved by Payne, seconded by Keating, and carried that the Minutes of the 192nd Meeting, October 24, 2006, be approved as amended.

2007 Meeting Schedule

194th May 1, 9:00 a.m. Giant City State Park, Makanda
195th August 7, 10:00 a.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
196th October 23, 10:00 a.m. Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean

INPC Staff Report

Randy Heidorn presented the INPC staff report, and it is attached as Exhibit A.

Kim Roman updated the Commission on the situation at Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve. Ms. Roman stated that there has been some progress at this site since October, 2006. Approximately three acres of Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve were affected by a neighboring developer that allowed fill material to wash into the Nature Preserve. At the 192nd meeting of the INPC, it was decided to contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office filed a Complaint for Injunction and Civil Penalties, citing four counts of violations of the Natural Areas Preservation Act. Count I was cited as introduction of a material, product, or object to a nature preserve; Count II was cited as destruction of natural objects in a nature preserve; Count III was cited for discarding of rubbish in a nature preserve; and Count IV was cited as intrusion of an unauthorized land use into a nature preserve.

Ms. Roman stated that a meeting was held with representatives of one of the plaintiffs to relate what the INPC would like occur to remedy this intrusion. It was advised that the development company needed to hire a reputable consulting firm. The consulting firm would need to have a certified soils scientist that would develop both short-term and long-term plans to stabilize the property. The site would need to be monitored weekly and/or after every rain event of one-quarter inch or greater. The sediments within the Nature Preserve should be sampled to make sure that it is clean fill. The consultant should also further document the sediment depths throughout the Nature Preserve to be able to assess the impact to the flora during the growing season of 2007. The consultant should also develop an alternatives analysis for the silt. An exotic species control plan should be implemented by April, 2007, and implementation of a regular monitoring plan of vegetation management was requested. Ms. Roman stated that a suitable consulting firm has been hired by the plaintiffs. She stated that she expects this to be an ongoing project, and periodic updates will be given to the Commission.

John Nelson updated the Commission on the situation at Volo Bog Nature Preserve. In 1995, Commission staff and the IDNR were concerned about a proposal for a gravel pit adjacent to Volo Bog Nature Preserve. The Commission and the IDNR developed a Volo Bog protection plan. The protection plan covered the situations of concern, especially hydrology. Over the subsequent years, the owner of the gravel pit did not follow through with the commitments of the signed agreement. Approximately 18 months ago the owner of the gravel pit was contacted, and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office was involved. As a result, a consent order has been issued to the gravel pit company. He stated that this is another example of the Attorney General’s Office enforcing the Natural Areas Preservation Act. There is now a mechanism in place if the mining company does not follow through on the provisions of the protection plan because the company would be in violation of a court order. The Illinois State Water Survey staff will do the monitoring on the site. There are monitoring wells in place, and there is a very strict sampling protocol. The mining company is paying for an outside lab to obtain the samples and to send the results on a quarterly basis. He stated that Virginia Yang, IDNR legal counsel, was instrumental in making this happen.

Ms. Roman stated that there is an Environmental Section at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office that works on these types of issues. Most of the staff in this section are familiar with working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), but working with issues relating to the Natural Areas Preservation Act is new to them.

After some discussion, it was decided that a letter of appreciation would be sent to the Environmental Section at the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

IDNR Staff Report

Glen Kruse presented the following staff report:

Natural Areas Evaluation Committee

The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee (NAEC) met in Springfield on January 9, 2007. Actions approved by the committee included:

Mackinaw River, Ford, McLean, Tazewell, and Woodford counties: approved the addition of freshwater mussels under Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) Category VI. The Mackinaw River was already a Category VI site for a high Biological Stream Characterization rating. This action recognized the stream for its high mussel species richness and moderate to very high recruitment of mussels.

Boloria Meadows, McHenry County: approved a boundary change to include the McAndrews Glen Buffer addition to Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve.

Middlefork Savanna, Lake County: approved a boundary change to include the Jean Farwell Woods Land and Water Reserve and several additions to buffer.

Reed-Turner Woodland: approved a boundary change to include all parts of the Nature Preserve in the INAI.

Sweet Fern Savanna, Kankakee County: approved a boundary change to incorporate additions to Sweet Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve.

Lockport Prairie East, Will County: approved a boundary change to include Dellwood Park West Nature Preserve and buffer and added Category III for INPC status.

Hooper Branch Savanna, Iroquois and Kankakee counties: approved a boundary change to incorporate Iroquois Sands Land and Water Reserve.

ParkLands Foundation Merwin Preserve, McLean County: approved a boundary change to incorporate Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve and added Category III for INPC status.

Renault Herpetological Area, Monroe County: approved a boundary change to incorporate Angela’s Prairie Land and Water Reserve and Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs Land and Water Reserve.

Wieland Woods, Washington County: approved addition of Wieland Woods Land and Water Reserve to the INAI as a Category III site.

Edward V. Price Woods, Crawford County: approved addition of Edward V. Price Woods Land and Water to the INAI as a Category III site.

The NAEC discussed the question of adding federally-designated critical habitat for endangered or threatened species to the INAI. Such areas need not be occupied by the species of concern to qualify as critical habitat (this differs from a Category II site in the current INAI) and does not necessarily exhibit natural quality sufficient to qualify as Category I sites. Committee members will consider appropriate treatment of critical habitat and a recommendation will be made at the next committee meeting on April 3, 2007.

Land Acquisition

The IDNR acquired two tracts using the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) since the 192nd Commission meeting.

The Forbeck Tract at Miller-Anderson Woods State Natural Area in Bureau County was acquired on December 13, 2006. Miller-Anderson Woods is an INAI site that protects high-quality upland forest and provides habitat for one endangered species. The State Natural Area now covers 545 acres, with 340 acres dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

Six acres were acquired and added to Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County on January 9, 2007. This upland area is adjacent to the Leatherleaf Bog Unit on Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve. This purchase will protect the bog from incompatible development in the adjacent upland.

Since the inception of the NAAF in 1989, the fund has been used to purchase 163 tracts of land at 64 different natural areas. A total of over 22,000 acres has been acquired.

Personnel Changes

John Wilker accepted the position of Natural Areas Program Manager and has been working in that capacity since December 16, 2006. Mr. Wilker started his career with the Department as a Natural Heritage Resident and has worked as a District Natural Heritage Biologist in central Illinois for ten years. Mr. Wilker works in the Springfield IDNR headquarters.

Ben Dolbeare has been hired to fill the position of Invasive Species Specialist in the Springfield IDNR office. Mr. Dolbeare has been working on a contractual basis on invasive species issues for approximately a year. Prior to that, he was an instructor for over 30 years at Lincoln Land Community College.

Interviews for the Natural Heritage District Biologist position in Charleston were held on February 5, 2007. ORC is looking forward to adding to the ranks of district biologists for the first time in several years.

Wildlife Preservation Fund

Total contributions to the Wildlife Preservation Fund check-off in 2006 were $200,101. This is a decline of nearly 20% from recent years. It will be necessary to reduce spending from the fund for FY2008 in order to maintain a safe balance. So far this year, $7,558 has been received through the check-off.

Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update

The request for proposals to update the INAI was published in the Illinois Procurement Bulletin on December 18, 2006. A mandatory vendors’ conference was held in Springfield on January 4, 2007. Approximately 16-18 vendors were present at the conference. Proposals are due to the Department no later than February 6, 2007.

Division of Natural Heritage Meeting

All staff of the Division of Natural Heritage, INPC, and the Endangered Species Protection Board met in Rochester, Illinois on January 29 and 30, 2007. Approximately 40 people participated in the first statewide meeting in almost eight years. Topics of discussion included implementation of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, funding and personnel, invasive species control efforts, prescribed fire, and the INAI update. Informal portions of the meeting took on the air of a class reunion, with staff members who had not crossed paths for several years catching up on activities in the field as well as getting updates on family and friends. Hopes are that this meeting will once again become an annual event.

Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report

Randy Nyboer presented the following staff report:

The 2004 Endangered and Threatened Species of Illinois Volume 2: Animals is currently at the printers and will be available soon.

The special issue of Outdoor Illinois, featuring Illinois endangered and threatened species was released in early January, 2007. The issue was dedicated to Carl Becker, the first ESPB Director.

Mr. Nyboer stated that he assisted with the Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Count in January, 2007. He stated that his four routes and two roosts tallied nearly 600 eagles. The Mississippi River was ice free, and the eagles were widespread. The largest concentrations were still near the Lock and Dam complexes.

Mr. Nyboer stated that he attended the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP)/Action Team meeting in Springfield regarding the future activities of the Plan. He also attended the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee meeting in Springfield.

He stated that he is working with the Endangered Species Technical Advisory Committee to update its membership and review the priority of species for recovery to determine how this relates to the IWAP.

The Savanna Army Depot/Lost Mound is part of the Lost Mound/Hanover Bluff/Mississippi Palisades Conservation Opportunity Area identified in the IWAP. The ESPB has been quantifying habitat and species of conservation concern found in this area, and this information has been provided to the Army, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Environmental Protection Agency. This information will influence environmental cleanup, staffing, research, and conservation efforts at the site.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that the registration agreements for today’s land and water reserve presentation are signed and executed by the landowner as required by administrative rule.

McHenry Co. – Jimenez Addition to Black Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Item 8 was deferred.

McLean Co. – Mackinaw River Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 14)

Tom Lerczak presented a proposal to register Mackinaw River Land and Water Reserve. The proposed Mackinaw River Land and Water Reserve, owned by the ParkLands Foundation, is approximately 639.23 acres in size and includes 1.9 miles of the Mackinaw River Natural Area (INAI #788). The site is recognized on the INAI for populations of the state-threatened lippershell mussel (Alasmidonta viridis) and state-threatened spike mussel (Elliptio dilatata), plus a Category VI designation as a high-quality, medium-grade river. Natural communities at this proposed land and water reserve are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division and include native upland and bottomland forests (approximately 35% of the site), tallgrass prairie and pasture (25%), and shrubland or early successional areas (40%). The slippershell mussel and the spike mussel have not been found within the proposed land and water reserve, but the state-threatened Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) and state-threatened cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulean) were documented on the site during the 2006 breeding season. Most of the site has been extensively disturbed from a variety of land uses, including grazing farm animals, cropping, and logging. A sub-surface gas storage agreement with the Northern Illinois Gas Company remains in effect on approximately 146 acres. Also, two small abandoned cabins remain standing on the west end of the property. One shed, used to store equipment for conducting restoration management, is located near the South Gate entrance. Active management has been occurring at this site since the 1970s and has included restoration of a 40-acre tallgrass prairie, control of non-native species, prescribed fire, a yearly deer harvest program, plant community evaluation, and use of livestock grazing to discourage woody encroachment of grassland areas. Access is from two small gravel parking areas, which one day may be enlarged. There is also a three-mile trail system. Hikers must stay on designated trails. Pets, motorized vehicles, bicycles, skateboards, other non-motorized vehicles, camping, and open fires are prohibited. Fishing and canoeing in the Mackinaw River will continue to be allowed. Restoring natural communities at this site will benefit the Mackinaw River Natural Area and provide additional buffer for the adjacent 78-acre Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve. The ParkLands Foundation wishes to ensure the continued protection and proper restoration management of this site by having it registered in perpetuity as a land and water reserve.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Mackinaw River in McLean County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1934)

193-10) Cook Co. – Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 7)

Steven Byers presented a proposal, on behalf of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) for preliminary dedication of Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie as a nature preserve. The FPDCC would like to dedicate 130 of the 192 acres of Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve as the Powderhorn Prairie and Marsh Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve is located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The dune and swale topography of this proposed nature preserve, which once typified the Chicago Lake Plain Section, is composed of a series of six sand dunes interposed with swales. The site was included on the INAI (#1071) for high-quality dry-mesic, wet-mesic sand prairies, and dry-mesic sand savanna arrayed along the dunes, while the swales support high-quality marsh. These natural communities support a number of state-endangered or threatened species; including ten plants, three birds, one mammal, one fish, and one reptile species. Dedication of the 130-acre site honors the commitment of both the INPC and the FPDCC to collaborate to preserve sites of state-wide ecological significance and marks the first time a parcel of land located in the City of Chicago has been dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve.

Commissioner Riddell stated that she is very excited to see the proposal from the FPDCC, and she felt this project was very important. She stated that she worked on the Chicago Nature and Wildlife Plan for the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and there is a lot of good will and intensity around protecting this 4,000-acre Calumet open space reserve. The City of Chicago has made some important steps in that direction with its partners which include the IDNR, the FPDCC, and the Chicago Park District. The Powderhorn has come out on every list, including the Chicago Nature and Wildlife Plan, as one of the most critical areas in terms of the importance of trying to step up the level of protection.

It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie in Cook County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1935)

193-11) Ford Co. – Gardner Prairie Restoration Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 9)

Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of Gardner Prairie Restoration as a nature preserve. Gardner Prairie Restoration, owned by Don Gardner, is an approximately 15-acre prairie restoration that has been restored over the past 32 years by Mr. Gardner. Mr. Gardner wishes to ensure long-term protection of this prairie restoration be designating 12.187 acres of the restoration as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The restored prairie lies in Ford County, on the south edge of Kempton, within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division and is part of the Gardner family farm. Gardner Prairie Restoration is recognized by the INAI (#1497) as a prairie restoration. This site also provides habitat for the state-endangered wildflower queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra). In addition, dickcissel nest here, and bobolink use the prairie. Both birds are species of conservation concern identified in the Illinois Comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan.

Ms. Solecki stated that the Commission has granted final approval for nature preserve dedication for three other prairie restorations. Doris Westfall Prairie Restoration Nature Preserve was dedicated in June, 1998, Brimfield Railroad Restoration Prairie Nature Preserve was dedicated in March, 2002, and Barnhart Prairie Restoration Nature Preserve was dedicated in August, 2005.

Commissioner Payne stated that she has been to the Gardner Prairie Restoration site, and she feels that it is a remarkable area.

It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Gardner Prairie Restoration in Ford County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1936)

192-12) Cook Co. – Buffer Addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 10)

Steven Byers presented a proposal, on behalf of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC), for final approval for dedication of a buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve (INAI #256). The proposed buffer addition is 9.09 acres in size, consisting of two separate parcels. Both the Nature Preserve and the proposed buffer addition are located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in southern Cook County. The proposed addition lies just upstream from the Nature Preserve and includes a continuation of the dolomitic cliff community, which is a hallmark of Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve. Other natural communities include degraded elements of dry-mesic and mesic forest arrayed along soil and moisture gradients. Dedication of the two parcels as a buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve will further protect the headwaters of the Nature Preserve, thereby helping to prevent serious alteration of surface hydrology and stream hydraulics within the canyon. Formal protection of the two parcels honors the commitment of the INPC to work with the FPDCC and CorLands to effect the terms of a purchase agreement. Dedication of this buffer addition will increase the size of Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve from 135 acres to 144.09 acres. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 192nd Meeting in October, 2006 (Resolution #1920).

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1937)

193-13) Cook Co. – Buffer Addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Steven Byers presented a proposal for final dedication of a 0.96-acre buffer addition, owned by the Save the Prairie Society, to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve (INAI #251). Wolf Road Prairie supports high-quality mesic prairie and has been recognized as the largest and best-quality “black soil” prairie located east of the Mississippi River. Both the prairie and the proposed buffer addition are located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The proposed buffer addition is part of a 5-acre lot, referred to as 10 Hickory Lane. The Commission conferred final approval for most of the balance of this lot at its 168th Meeting in August, 2000 (Resolution #547). Dedication of the proposed addition will protect elements of a restored prairie and stream corridor, maintain the existing landscape linkage with the prairie, buffer the prairie from incompatible development, and serve as a model for protection of other lots located adjacent to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. Dedication of this addition will increase the size of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve from 53.9 acres to 54.8 acres. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of the 0.96-acre parcel at the Commission’s 192nd Meeting in October, 2006 (Resolution #1921).

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1938)

193-14) Cook Co. – Buffer Addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for final dedication of two separate lots totaling 0.14 acres as a nature preserve buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. The two lots, fronting 31st Street in Westchester, were part of an 80-acre parcel that received preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve at the Commission’s 111th Meeting in July, 1986 (Resolution #898). The lots were conveyed to the IDNR from The Nature Conservancy in June, 2005. Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve is located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division and has been identified as one of the largest black soil prairies located east of the Mississippi River. The Nature Preserve was included on the INAI (#251) for high-quality mesic prairie. Approval of these two lots will provide formal protection and increase the size of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve from 54.80 acres to 54.94 acres.

It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of a buffer addition to Wolf Road Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1939)

Iroquois Co. – Buffer Addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Presented after Item 15)

Kim Roman presented a proposal for final approval of a buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve. The Friends of the Kankakee, Iroquois Chapter, own two acres adjacent to the existing Hooper Branch Nature Preserve and wishes to dedicate them as a buffer addition. Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve, owned by the IDNR, was dedicated in 1985. The Nature Preserve is 560 acres in size and is located in the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This INAI site (#577) was purchased by the IDNR in 1984 as an addition to its holdings at the Iroquois State Wildlife Area. Known for its high-quality dry and dry-mesic sand savanna and sand flatwoods communities, Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve is one of the best natural areas in the Kankakee Sands region. Hooper Branch Savanna provides habitat for numerous uncommon plants and animals indigenous to sandy regions in Illinois, and it is also known to harbor five state-endangered species: shore St. John’s wort (Hypericum adpressum), Carey’s heartsease (Polygonum careyi), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum) bristly blackberry (Rubus setosus), and primrose violet (Viola primulifolia). The proposed two-acre buffer addition to the existing Nature Preserve currently does not share the same high-quality natural character or habitat; however, it does lend itself towards the completion of good preserve design. Protection of this addition, and its subsequent restoration, will enhance the ecological value of Hooper Branch Savanna. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 192nd Meeting in October, 2006 (Resolution #1922).

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of a buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve in Iroquois County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1940)

193-16) Rock Island Co. – Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 19)

Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal on behalf of Augustana College for final approval for dedication of Josua Lindhal Hill Prairies as a nature preserve. The proposed nature preserve is 20 acres in size, and it is named in honor of the College’s first biology professor. The proposed dedication is part of the field station known as the Collinson Ecological Preserve. The site is located just outside the city limits of Milan and within two miles of the City of Rock Island. The area proposed for dedication includes the entire Milan South Geological INAI site (#490), recognized for having an outstanding natural exposure of Devonian Age limestone and 0.6 acres of grade B loess hill prairie, representative of the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division, overlooking the bluff of Mill Creek. Once dedicated, Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies Nature Preserve will be the first privately owned nature preserve in Rock Island County. It will also be the only loess hill prairie under nature preserve protection along the Mississippi River Bluffs between Grubb Hollow Nature Preserve in Pike County to Sentinel Nature Preserve in Carroll County, a distance of approximately 150 miles. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 188th Meeting in October, 2005 (Resolution #1849).

Dr. Bohdan Dziadyk, Director of Field Stations at Augustana College, addressed the Commission. He stated that the College purchased its first field station in 1991. The first field station is a 420-acre site just south of Dixon, Illinois. The second site is 67 acres known as the Collinson Ecological Preserve. In 1998, 70 acres were donated to the College for the third field station.

He stated that the management plan for this site is being written. He also stated that he would like to incorporate the intention to clear out some of the poplars and other trees and use the seed sources at the two prairies to maintain the area so the two units will no longer be isolated.

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies in Rock Island County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1941)

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Dr. Dziadyk for addressing the Commission, and he stated that it was an honor for the Commission to be associated with such a great institution.

Winnebago Co. – Buffer Addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 15)

John Nelson presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of a 3.58-acre buffer addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Harlem Hills Nature Preserve is owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The Nature Preserve (INAI #918) is the largest and best surviving example of a gravel hill prairie in Illinois. At the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006, the INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication (Resolution #1865) of nine land parcels, totaling 40.41 acres, as an addition and buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. At that time, eight of the parcels were owned by the IDNR, while the ninth was owned by the Natural Land Institute (NLI). At the Commission’s 190th Meeting in May, 2006, the Commission granted final approval for dedication of the eight parcels owned by the IDNR (Resolution #1885), while negotiations were underway for the IDNR to purchase the ninth parcel from the NLI. The IDNR recently acquired the ninth parcel, known as the Wylie Tract, from the NLI and now requests final approval for its dedication as a buffer addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Final dedication of the 3.58-acre Wylie Tract will bring the total acreage of protected land at Harlem Hills Nature Preserve to 94.61 acres and will help protect one of the last remaining hill prairie remnants known to exist in the area.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Keating, and carried, with Ross-Shannon abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of a buffer addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve in Winnebago County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1942)

) Lake Co. – Introduction of the Spotted Salamander to MacArthur Woods Nature
Preserve

Jennifer Filipiak, Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD), presented a proposal for the reintroduction of the spotted salamander to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve. MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve (483 acres), owned and managed by the LCFPD, completely contains the 432-acre MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve. The primary significance of the Nature Preserve is its status as a large, undeveloped natural area, in a region undergoing rapid development and urbanization. MacArthur Woods (INAI #1003) is the largest tract of unfragmented forest within Lake County and contains the globally imperiled northern flatwoods community type along with productive breeding ponds for forest amphibians. A baseline survey of herpetofauna was conducted in 2000 and revealed a low diversity of herpetofauna (Mierzwa 2001), with blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) comprising 86% of animals observed. The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) was present in the site in low numbers in the 1980s, but was not detected in Mierzwa’s study. Between 2001 and 2005, LCFPD completed major restoration work, including drain tile disablement and the selective clearing of the entire woodland of invasive woody species (primarily Rhamnus spp.). In a follow up herpetofaunal survey conducted by LCFPD, only one spotted salamander was observed. In 2003, LCFPD commissioned a study to investigate the response of herpetofauna to the restoration. Researchers have determined that three historic species – spotted salamanders, spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) – are likely extirpated from the site, or present in such low numbers that they are at risk of extirpation. Through follow-up enclosure studies, researchers determined that reintroduction of spotted salamander via translocation of egg masses is a feasible and likely successful management tool to restore the spotted salamander population. LCFPD is requesting approval to initiate reintroduction of spotted salamanders as proposed to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve.

An INPC staff recommendation was given, and it is attached (identified as Exhibit B) for the record.

Ms. Filipiak stated that the LCFPD has no objections to the seven stipulations contained in the INPC staff recommendation regarding this project, and it will comply with all requirements contained in that recommendation.

It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the reintroduction of the spotted salamander to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve, subject to the seven INPC staff stipulations referenced in Exhibit B attached hereto, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1943)

Chair Ross-Shannon congratulated the LCFPD on their stewardship efforts.

193-19) Will Co. – Head-Starting Blanding’s Turtles at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve

Dr. Michael Dreslik, Illinois Natural History Survey, presented a proposal for head-starting Blanding’s turtles at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve (INAI #932), owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, was dedicated in June, 1983. The site is leased and managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC). Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve is a high-quality remnant of dolomite prairie in the Des Plaines River Valley. The site hosts populations of the federally listed lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea), leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa), and Hine's emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana), as well as the state-endangered spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata). Since 1988, only 78 individual state-threatened Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) have been captured at the Nature Preserve. At any one time this translates to a small population size of 43+8 individuals in a near equal ratio to immature and juvenile turtles. Pressures on adults have been severe over the last decade. Six known adult mortalities (14% of the population estimate) have occurred since 2002. Three of these were females, two of which perished on the railroad tracks. Radio-telemetric data has revealed that the Nature Preserve may not provide enough suitable habitats to support the population of Blanding's turtles, as they frequently used unprotected and degraded habitats outside of the Nature Preserve boundary, especially when the Nature Preserve’s resources became limited due to the drought. A preliminary population viability analysis suggests the population is in slow decline and has a 27% probability of extinction in 50 years. A subsequent sensitivity analysis revealed reducing mortality across stage classes would alleviate the decline. A combination of hatchling mortality below approximately 50%, juvenile mortality below approximately 19%, and adult mortality below approximately 2% would halt the trend. Thus, several management strategies must be enacted in tandem to halt and reverse the decline. The FPDWC is discussing step one of a three step process to recovering the Blanding's turtle population at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. Initially as one management option, the FPDWC proposes to head-start all of one year’s natural reproduction, and then monitor a subset of these individuals when released to determine the success of the strategy. This will be coupled with future strategies directed at reducing mortality pressures and ultimately to expanding the critical sedge meadow and cattail marsh habitat. If many of these head-started individuals survive to adulthood, it is anticipated to help to increase the population.

Dr. Dreslik stated that the turtles will be held over the winter to get them to the size of a four year old turtle. The species is a voracious eater, and precautions will be taken with their diet to prevent problems with shell development. The turtles will also be given enough space and flowing water to articulate their limbs while they are growing. This will influence proper development.

The funding for this project will come from the Wildlife Preservation Fund and Will County. State Wildlife Grant funding will also be requested for larger Blanding’s turtle work within the Des Plaines River Valley. Dr. Dreslik stated that The Illinois Toll Authority has said that money can be used on the conservation of the species within the Valley. Post monitoring funding will be requested when the three year cycle approaches.

An INPC staff recommendation was given, and it is attached (identified as Exhibit C) for the record.

It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the head-starting Blanding’s turtles at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1944)
Lunch break was taken from 12:30 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.

193-20) Vegetation Management Guidelines
(Actually presented after Item 16)

Bob Edgin presented a proposal for approval for updated Vegetation Management Guidelines for the control of sweet clovers (Melilotus spp.) and wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) and newly developed guidelines for Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus) and Japanese siltgrass (Microstegium vimineum). A synopsis of each proposed guideline was presented to the Commission. The Management Guidelines give landowners and managers guidance on how to address a land management issue in a nature preserve or land and water reserve. Once approved by the Commission, they become part of the policy guidance used by staff to review and approve management plans. The guidelines were submitted to INPC Consultants and Advisors and to selected natural area land managers for review. Recommended changes were incorporated into the documents.

Chair Ross-Shannon asked for a brief history of the Vegetation Management Guidelines.

Randy Heidorn stated that Mary Kay Solecki coordinated the project in the late 1980s. The Guidelines were compiled by natural heritage biologists and contractual staff. In 1999-2000, the task of updating the guidelines began.

Mr. Edgin stated that the Vegetation Management Guidelines are accessible on the internet, and they are used extensively by the IDNR, forest preserve districts, and volunteer networks. Other states also use the guidelines. Wisconsin and Missouri have taken the Guidelines and put them on their webpage, with a citation that they came from the INPC. The system has also been adopted in Kentucky. He stated that a researcher from Purdue University has cited one of the INPC’s Vegetation Management Guidelines in some of his work.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that he feels that the Vegetation Management Guidelines are an invaluable resource, and he thanked Mr. Edgin for his hard work on this project.

Mr. Edgin stated that the update process has taken approximately seven years. There were originally 27 management guidelines. Now the Guidelines consist of Sections 1-42. The chemical companies are now developing herbicides specifically to deal with the new invasive species, and it is generating a great deal of research.

It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission approves the revised vegetation management guidelines for sweet clovers, wild parsnip, and newly developed guidelines for Japanese hops and Japanese siltgrass, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 193rd Meeting.

(Resolution 1945)

Use of Nature Preserve Buffer in Nature Preserve Design

Randy Nyboer presented a synopsis of a white paper on the use of nature preserve buffer in nature preserve design. The growing need and use of the buffer protection tool to secure the integrity of Illinois Nature Preserves has resulted in the Commission requesting the development of a white paper to clarify the issue of buffers. As a tool, buffers are critical in the development of preserve design. While there are laws and rules associated with buffers, the development of a Buffer Management Guideline will provide the needed guidance to when and where this is an appropriate preserve design tool. As of October, 2006, there were 144 dedicated buffers totaling 4,275 acres in the Illinois Nature Preserves System.

Mr. Nyboer stated that the protection guidelines for the use of buffers will be presented to the Commission at its meeting in May, 2007. The final version of the white paper should also be available at that time.

Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

There was no public comment.

Other Business

There was no other business.

193-24) Adjournment

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Keating, and carried that the meeting be adjourned at 1:52 p.m.

Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702 (217-785-8686)

Link to Governor's pageLink to State of IL Home PageLink to Email ContactsLink to IDNR Site IndexLink to IDNR's FAQs PageLink to Disclaimer