|Illinois Department of Natural Resources|
Minutes of the 194th Meeting
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 9:16 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Ross-Shannon, the meeting began.
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, 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); Scott Ballard, Roger Jansen, Glen Kruse, Bob Lindsay, Leslie Rodman, Jody Shimp, and Bob Szafoni, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), IDNR; Kathi Davis, Tracy Evans, Tom Flattery, Don McFall, and Connie Waggoner, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), IDNR; Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board, (ESPB) and Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS); David Thomas, INHS and INPC Advisor; Mike Chrzastowski, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS); Marilyn Campbell, INPC Consultant; Fran Harty and Karen Tharp, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Jeffrey Linkenheld, Arc Design; Becky McFall, representing Culp Conservancy Woods Land and Water Reserve, Jared Allread, Roger Beadles, Bill Gonterman, and Jim Payne.
Adoption of Agenda
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that Items 14 and 16 may need to be moved as needed to accommodate the presenters.
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the Agenda be adopted as amended.
It was moved by Keating, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the Minutes of the Special Meeting, February 5, 2007, be approved.
It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the Minutes of the 193rd Meeting, February 6, 2007, be approved.
194-4) 2007 Meeting Schedule
195th August 7, 10:00 a.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Scott Ballard and John Schwegman for leading the field trip on April 30, 2007, and he thanked Alan Nicholas, U.S. Forest Service, for his participating in the field trip. He also thanked Judy Faulkner Dempsey for hosting the dinner at her home that evening.
Chair Ross-Shannon reported that at the 193rd Meeting of the INPC, held at the Emmerson Building in Springfield, legal protection for seven tracts of land totaling 680 acres was approved by the Commission. Four areas, totaling 579.4 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 $1,028,000 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 193rd Meeting were Mackinaw River Land and Water Reserve, McLean County; Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, Rock Island County; buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Cook County; and buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve, Iroquois County. Protection of this land came about because the Commission has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 337 dedicated nature preserves in 81 counties totaling 45,081.429 acres and 141 land and water reserves in 58 counties totaling 39,161.064 acres.
INPC Staff Report
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that he would like to recognize Fran Harty’s effort in the prescribed burn legislation.
Ms. Stone stated that Senate Bill (SB) 445 is on third reading with the deadline extended to the end of May, 2007. This Bill amends the Real Estate Transfer Tax law. The Bill was developed in conjunction with a number of affordable housing advocates, as well as a number of open space advocates. The Bill essentially changes the real estate transfer tax by making a graduated tax based on the value of the property. Taxes are reduced for properties under a value of $500,000 to 40 cents for every $500 of value. There is a series of graduated steps from that point with the amount of tax per $500 increasing with the value of the property. Some of the supporters of the Bill estimate that it may generate over an additional $90 million in tax revenue. If that were to be distributed in the same way that is now set forth in the statute, it would mean almost $35 million for the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant program for recreational facilities and almost an additional $15 million annually for the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF). The Bill would also make some changes in the Illinois Affordable Housing Act and require certain types of programming.
Ms. Stone stated that SB 0017 is a shell bill at this point and is on its third reading. It is viewed as the vehicle bill most likely to be used by the Forest Assessment Task Force to address the forest and other non-production conservation land issues, otherwise known as woodland assessment issues. There are open space advocates that are viewing this as an opportunity to create additional categories of incentives for other types of habitat. In the earlier drafts, these types of incentive programs would require IDNR-approved management plans. There would be varying levels of property tax breaks. Since there is no official language to the Bill, it is difficult to discuss. She felt that the Commission should keep in mind that it should remain clear that nature preserves are a separate category which would preserve the extremely high level of property tax break. Also nature preserves should not fall under the requirement for annual management plans unless that was desired. In general, it should be determined if the Bill creates a logical hierarchy of tax breaks.
Ms. Stone stated that Randy Heidorn’s staff report shows that he has assumed the duties of the Assistant Director of the INPC. She stated that Mr. Heidorn has been doing the duties of the Assistant Director and or Director of the INPC for some time. His title has been changed to recognize that, and she wanted to take the opportunity to express her thanks to Mr. Heidorn for his efforts.
Randy Heidorn presented the INPC staff report, and it is attached as Exhibit A.
Mr. Heidorn stated that the issue of erosion control at Illinois Beach Nature Preserve will be an important one to the Commission because it will have to approve the type of control used within the Nature Preserve. He stated that Dr. Mike Chrzastowski, Coastal Geologist with the ISGS, will present a report on the management activities at Illinois Beach State Park.
Dr. Chrzastowski gave a presentation on Illinois Beach State Park (IBSP) erosion control. He stated that the erosion at this site is bad, and it is getting worse. The IDNR has been managing the erosion for some time by putting sand along the shore. Approximately eight years ago the IDNR organized a task force to look at the long term stewardship of IBSP. The task force came to the conclusion that the best thing to do to keep the Park in a natural beach type setting was to dump sand along the north end of IBSP and allow natural wave processes to move that sand along the shore to the south. The amount of sand needed on an annual basis is 80,000 cubic yards, which would cost approximately $1 million dollars each year. He stated that the IDNR cannot afford to spend this amount of money on an annual basis for sand acquisition. There have been several years when the Department put no sand along the shore, and there have been some years when the Department has put some sand along the shore. This resulted in a net loss of land. The situation now is such that the Department has not been able to put any sand along IBSP for the last two or three years, and the natural erosion rate in this area can be as much as ten feet per year. There is no other state park in Illinois that has the dynamics like IBSP, and there is no other land that the INPC has any authority over that is as threatened by natural processes as IBSP.
Dr. Chrzastowski stated that when standing on the shoreline of Lake Michigan and are looking to the northeast, you are looking up 300 miles of water. When the wind is out of the northeast, waves are generated. The waves will move the sand up the beach. This creates a saw tooth pattern, and this is how the sand is moved along the shore. The problem at IBSP is that because of land use changes in Wisconsin, as well as some other natural geologic processes, the waves that are approaching IBSP are not bringing any sand. All of the wave energy that reaches the north end of IBSP has erosion potential. The land is eroded at the north end of the Park, and the sand moves southward. North Point Marina has nothing to do with the erosion problems that occur at IBSP because this is a natural geologic process. IBSP is on a unique parcel of land that is migratory. The parcel of land originated approximately 5,000 years ago up in what is now the Wisconsin shore. It has been moving down the coast, eroding at its north end, accumulating it at the sound end. If one was to project 10,000 years into the future, the land mass that is IBSP would no longer be a distinct coastal feature. It would be smeared out along the Illinois coast, and no longer would we have this one-mile wide sand plain like it is today. Not only is it moving southward, but it is also getting thinner with time.
Dr. Chrzastowski gave each Commissioner a handout covering the discussion notes from an April 10, 2007 meeting. A management decision is going to be needed for IBSP. If beach nourishment cannot be done to satisfy the sediment budget and keep things natural, the other solution is to use some kind of coastal engineering. There is a long list of possibilities of what could be done, and the Department has started to look at the options. The handout lists some of the options. One of things that can be done is to use engineered structures and work with natural processes to control erosion. This is something that is being done all around the world. Dr. Chrzastowski gave a brief description of the pros and cons of the Half-Heart Bay option. Another option being discussed is building a series of hard points.
Dr. Chrzastowski stated that there are three truths that need to be kept in mind: it will take awhile before any management plan is chosen; whatever plan is chosen, it will cost a fair amount of money; and whatever is decided, the Commission will need to approve the management action.
Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Dr. Chrzastowski for his presentation.
Commissioner Drucker asked what impact the Lake level has on the rate of erosion.
Dr. Chrzastowski stated that the Lake level has been below average over the last five to seven years. There are areas where there are wide beaches because of the low Lake level. At the north end of IBSP, there is not a wide beach because there is not enough sand supply. The erosion rates that are being seen now are associated with the low Lake level. If the Lake was to come up to average or above average level, there would be a much more rapid erosion rate. There are different long-term modeling projections of what is going to happen to Lake Michigan as well as the entire Great Lakes system. If the Lake level continues to decline, there will not be an erosion problem at IBSP. IBSP has a north unit and a south unit. One possibility is to look at engineered stabilization solutions for the north unit, then do the necessary beach nourishment sand supply for the south unit. Supplying sand to the south unit alone reduces the total length of shoreline being nourished, and the volume of sand that the Department would have to supply annually diminishes by about half. The problem is deciding if the annual money for the remaining beach nourishment will be guaranteed on a long-term basis.
Marilyn Campbell stated that the visitor rate to IBSP is over a million a year. The Conservation Congress passed a resolution that would allow a user fee to visit the Park. This would generate enough revenue even if the fee was only a $1 per person.
Dr. Chrzastowski stated that the user fee for the visitors coming to IBSP has been discussed.
Scott Ballard asked about the possibility of using breakwaters.
Dr. Chrzastowski stated that breakwaters are another option. The advantage to this would be to diminish the wave action, but the negative side of this control method would be to seriously compromise the clear horizon across Lake Michigan. Another option would be to put them under water to act as a speed bump, but there would still be some wave action that would require some beach nourishment.
IDNR Staff Report
Glen Kruse presented the following staff report:
Natural Areas Evaluation Committee
The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee has not met since the February, 2007 INPC meeting.
The IDNR used the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) to acquire six natural area tracts, totaling 745 acres, since the last report to the Commission.
A 99-acre addition to Hanover Bluff State Natural Area in Jo Daviess County was acquired March 20, 2007. Hanover Bluff is now 800 acres, with a 360-acre nature preserve and a 187-acre land and water reserve.
A 47-acre addition to Castle Rock State Park in Ogle County was acquired March 20, 2007. The addition will buffer and protect some of the steep ravines that drain into George B. Fell Nature Preserve.
A 39-acre addition to Cache River State Natural Area in Pulaski County was acquired March 30, 2007.
A 217-acre addition to Franklin Creek in Lee County was acquired April 13, 2007. The addition provides a State-owned corridor between Franklin Creek State Park and The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands preserve.
A 222-acre addition to Big Grand Pierre State Natural Area in Pope County was acquired on April 30, 2007. Three hundred thirty acres of this natural area in the Shawnee Hills is now owned by the IDNR.
A 121-acre addition to Cache River State Natural Area in Johnson County was also acquired April 30, 2007. This brings the total acreage at Cache River owned by the IDNR to 14,200 acres with 2,290 acres dedicated as nature preserve and 10,300 acres registered as land and water reserve.
Roger Jansen is the new District Heritage Biologist in the District 14 office in Charleston. Mr. Jansen earned his B.S. and M.S. at Eastern Illinois University and was previously employed by the Effingham County Soil and Water Conservation District for eight years. He has also worked at the Douglas-Hart Nature Center and at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area for several summers.
Wildlife Preservation Fund
Proposals for small and large projects to be funded from the Wildlife Preservation Fund in fiscal year (FY) 2008 were accepted through April 1, 2007. Proposals were reviewed and scored by IDNR, INPC, and ESPB staff, who met on April 19, 2007, to develop a list of projects recommended for funding. Those recommendations will be reviewed by a citizens’ committee and then forwarded to Acting Director Flood for final approval. Successful applicants will be notified early in the new fiscal year.
Donations to the Wildlife Preservation Fund through the income tax check-off totaled $104,686 as of April 16, 2007. This is slightly ahead of the amount received by the same date in 2006.
Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update
Three proposals were received for completion of the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) update. The proposals were reviewed for their technical merits by a committee of six people, including representatives of the IDNR, INPC, and ESPB. A second committee evaluated the cost of each proposal and recommended that the contract for the update be awarded to Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) in Springfield. Sub-contractors working with LLCC are: Applied Ecological Services of Brodhead, Wisconsin; Ecological Services of Urbana; Environmental Planning Solutions of Riverton, and the Illinois Natural History Survey. Contract negotiations are continuing.
Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report
Randy Nyboer presented the following staff report:
Mr. Nyboer stated that the next meeting of the ESPB is on May 18, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. at the Will County Forest Preserve District Sugar Creek Administrative Building.
The revised edition for the “Endangered and Threatened Species of Illinois: Status and Distribution, Volume 2 – Animals” has been published and is being distributed.
The proposed State budget shows that the ESPB will get $191,000 for FY 2008. He stated that he would like to thank the Commission for its efforts in getting this line item in the budget. It is hoped that the ESPB will be able to hire an Executive Director.
Mr. Nyboer stated that the Wildlife Action Plan is driving the processes within the ORC, INPC, and ESPB. The conservation opportunity areas (COA) are garnering a lot of attention. He presented a PowerPoint presentation on this subject. He stated that 47 state and federally listed plants, birds, and animals are found at the Savanna Army Depot (SAD). This site was first surveyed in 1908 by Henry Allan Gleason, and it was called the best sand prairie left in Illinois. The SAD is also known for its diversity, size of its prairies, and savanna remnants. Mr. Nyboer stated that 236 species of birds that have been identified at the SAD. In 2004, the National Audubon Society designated the SAD an important bird area with both national and international significance. The COA are scattered around the State. Lost Mound Hanover Bluff Mississippi Palisades Conservation Area is another COA which is loaded with species of greatest conservation concern. Species of greatest conservation concern are animals that have decline in populations, depend on rare, fire-dependent habitats, and are useful as indicators of a healthy community or habitat.
The COA will become more of a focal point, and the staff of the Commission, as well as other staff within the ORC will be working on this.
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.
Macoupin Co. – Culp Conservancy Woods Land and Water Reserve
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal to register Culp Conservancy Woods Land and Water Reserve. The 190.7-acre Culp Conservancy Woods is owned by Ms. Rachel C. Konneker and Ms. Rebecca A. Loehr. The forest at Culp Conservancy Woods ranges from dry-mesic upland woods to wet-mesic bottomland woods along Honey Creek, all of which are characteristic of the Carlinville Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division. No part of Culp Conservancy Woods was listed on the INAI, although a majority of the forest, especially on the bottomlands, is mature. Oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.) are common throughout the site, with several impressive specimens. Culp Conservancy Woods qualifies as a land and water reserve due to the presence of over 100 acres of contiguous forest with a breeding bird community that contains 16 area-sensitive species, as defined by the 1993 Division of Natural Heritage Publication #1. Fallen timber may be removed for personal use. Allowable activities include: picnicking; primitive camping; hunting white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo); mushroom collecting; ATV riding on a single loop trail, cross-country skiing on trails, horseback riding on trails, hiking, birding, nature observation, scientific research, canoeing, fishing, photography, firewood collection, bicycling on trails, and timber management. Threats include invasion by non-native species and land subsidence due to underground mining. The owners wish to register the site in a time-limited agreement for ten years, with automatic renewal unless decided otherwise at the end of a ten-year period.
Mr. Lerczak stated that the coal beneath the property is owned by Exxon-Mobil, and there has been some long-wall mining done in recent years which has resulted in some subsidence of the area. There is also a single loop trail which may be moved slightly to reduce erosion. A timber management plan has been written, and it was incorporated into the three-year management schedule for the site. The timber management plan includes cropped tree release techniques to encourage quality hardwoods. There has been timber harvest at this site for many years, and it has been done in a very environmentally sensitive way. There will not be any timber harvest on the floodplain area. Any timber harvesting at this site will require consultation with the INPC staff and the forester.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Culp Conservancy Woods in Macoupin County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Becky McFall and asked that she convey the thanks of the Commission to her family.
194-9) McHenry Co. – Jiminez Addition to Black Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve
John Nelson presented a proposal to register the Jimenez addition to Black Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve. The proposed addition is a 2.98-acre tract of land owned by Pedro and Guadelupe Jimenez, and it is within the Black Crown Marsh INAI site (#1503) located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division along the McHenry-Lake County border. Black Crown Marsh is ecologically significant due to the diversity and high number of rare, threatened, and endangered birds that have been documented to use the wetland basin and surrounding uplands for foraging, breeding, and nesting. The wetland was classified in 1997 as a Category II INAI site for providing suitable habitat for nine state-threatened or endangered birds. The proposed addition represents another important step forward in providing long-term protection to the 405-acre Black Crown Marsh INAI site. Since a significant portion of the wetland basin remains under private ownership, the commitment of private landowners to this protection effort is critical to achieving success. This registration agreement is a result of a consent decree from a court case involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Jimenez Landscaping Corporation relating to a wetland violation.
Mr. Nelson acknowledged Brad Semel, District Heritage Biologist with the IDNR, for his diligent work at this site.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of the Jimenez addition to Black Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve in McHenry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
194-10) Vermilion Co. – Georgetown Addition to Little Vermilion River Land and Water
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal on behalf of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to register the 159.19-acre Georgetown addition to Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve. The addition is composed of bottomland and upland forests, fields and young reforestation areas. It lies approximately 0.25 mile south of Georgetown and 10.5 miles south of Danville in the Vermilion River Section of the Wabash Border Natural Division. This site is proposed as an addition to the 942-acre Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve, which is located 2.2 miles to the east (downstream) and is within the Harry “Babe” Woodyard State Natural Area. Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve was registered as a land and water reserve by the IDNR in 1998 (Resolution #1411), and two subsequent additions were made to the Land and Water Reserve (Resolutions #1569 and #1799). This tract surrounds, buffers, and augments Carl Fliermans’ River Nature Preserve, which protects an approximately 1.2-mile long segment of the Little Vermilion River. This segment of the Little Vermilion River is home to two state-endangered fish, the bigeye chub (Hybopsis amblops) and bigeye shiner (Notropis boops), and two state-threatened mussels, the slippershell (Alasmidonta viridis) and the little spectacle case (Villosa lienosa). The Little Vermilion River is a biologically significant stream recognized by the INAI (#1140), and it provides habitat for numerous species in greatest need of conservation, as identified in the Illinois Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan, including four mussels and six fish. Registration of the Georgetown addition will provide increased buffer for the River and the rare fish and mussels within it. In addition, restoration and protection of lands within this addition to Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve will decrease forest fragmentation, provide greater habitat for forest-interior birds, and supply additional watershed protection to the River. Allowable uses for this site would be hiking, nature observance, research, hunting and trapping, installation and maintenance of two parking lots along the road, maintenance of a barn on the north side, and the creation of a hiking trail.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of the Georgetown addition to Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve in Vermilion County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
194-11) Cook Co. – Addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the City of Markham for preliminary dedication of an approximately 31.937-acre addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve. The proposed addition is located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division and consists of 111 lots and platted, but not built upon, roads. With regard to the ownership of the lots: 28 lots are owned by TNC, and 83 lots are owned by the City of Markham (74 of which are encumbered by the Stein conservation easement). The one lot owned by the Markham Park District and the eight scattered lots remaining in private ownership are not included in this proposal. The proposed addition is located adjacent to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve and lies embedded within the boundaries for both the INAI site (#400) and the National Registry of Natural Landmarks designated by the U.S. National Park Service. Elements of high-quality mesic sand prairie, wet-mesic prairie, and sedge meadow occur within the proposed addition and support a population of the state-listed plant. Dedication of this addition is consistent with the recommendations of an approved Master Plan for this site, good preserve design considerations, and elements of the Illinois Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan and Strategy. Dedication of the proposed addition (31.937) acres will increase the size of Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve from 125.826 to 157.763 acres.
Fran Harty, TNC, stated that dedication of this site this is a fitting way to honor the late Dr. Robert Betz. Dr. Betz passed away at the age of 84 on April 5, 2007.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Riddell, with Drucker abstaining, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
194-12) Monroe Co. – Addition to Storment Hauss Nature Preserve, Dedication
Debbie Newman presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of an addition to Storment Hauss Nature Preserve. The proposed addition to Storment Hauss Nature Preserve, located along the boundary of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division and the Mt. Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division, is a total of 10 acres in three separate parcels. This site is owned by David Storment. The three parcels, comprised of Conservation Reserve Program fields whose contract has expired, will square off the boundaries of the existing Nature Preserve. The fields are comprised of native prairie and non-native pasture grasses and native tree plantings. Storment Hauss Nature Preserve, also owned by Mr. Storment, is a 64.5-acre parcel that includes the entire 55-acre Storment Hauss Woods INAI site (#1617). The site is listed on the INAI with a Category I designation for high-quality upland forest and a Category VI designation for the presence of animal hibernacula. Storment Hauss Nature Preserve was given final approval for dedication on March 1, 2002 (Resolution #1641).
Ms. Newman stated that Mr. Storment reserves the right to carry a firearm across the proposed addition.
It was moved by Keating, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Storment Hauss Nature Preserve in Monroe County, as described in the proposal under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
Chair Ross-Shannon asked that Ms. Newman relay the thanks of the Commission to Mr. Storment.
192-13) Ogle Co. – Addition to Pine Rock Nature Preserve, Dedication
John Nelson presented a proposal on behalf of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for preliminary approval for dedication of a 10.91-acre addition to Pine Rock Nature Preserve. Pine Rock Nature Preserve contains wet-mesic prairie, dry sand prairie, dry sand savanna, and sandstone cliff communities. A prominent outcrop of the St. Peter Sandstone is one of the notable features of the site. Pine Rock was dedicated in 1966 and was the 16th nature preserve in Illinois. The original dedication comprises 58.8 acres owned by the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities and held and managed by Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. TNC has long been the lead environmental advocate for the site through its land protection program. The site name was derived from the St. Peter sandstone monolith which rises 50 feet high above the relict prairie and the jack pine (Pinus banksiana) trees which historically grew on site (1877) but have since vanished. Approval of this addition will help protect and restore the natural resource features found within the existing nature preserve, as well as adding significant acreage of relict high-quality oak savanna, wet-mesic prairie, and dry sand prairie natural communities to Pine Rock Nature Preserve.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for an addition to Pine Rock Nature Preserve in Ogle County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
Lunch break was taken from 12:00 p.m. – 12:41 p.m.
Winnebago Co. – Stone Bridge Reserve Land and Water Reserve, Proposal to Cross
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that he will recuse himself from this Agenda item due to a professional conflict of interest. Commissioner Riddell assumed the meeting leadership role for this matter.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that the Village of Roscoe is north of Rockford, adjacent to Interstate 90. The Roscoe-Rockton area is part of the rapidly developing area of Rockford. The McCurry Road trunk sewer follows the creek up to a terminus point at Edith Lane. There is a light industrial area near the existing terminus. There is also a commercial segment along McCurry Road. In the 1990s the RRWRD prepared what they considered to be their reasonable limits of the McCurry Road basin which terminated at Interstate 90. The Stone Bridge Trail is a former railroad right-of-way and has been converted to a gravel path. There is no sewer line servicing the industrial area. The proposed sewer route would run along the Illinois 251 frontage road, cross through some vacant fields, cross the Stone Bridge Trail, then turn and head north to the McCurry Road terminus. At that point it would be extended down McCurry Road. The Warrner Brake site is an environmental concern and has been listed as a superfund site. The tack that Arc Design has taken with the RRWRD is to cross the Stone Bridge Trail and parallel on the east side, as opposed to trying to run a sewer line through an environmentally disturbed area. Future projects would then take the trunk sewer east out toward the Tollway.
He stated that his involvement with the project came in 2006. The RRWRD has been working on the trunk sewer extension since the 1990s. The segment he is working on is a 24-inch diameter sewer. Several alternatives were researched. There were cost considerations with running up the entire length of the frontage road to get to McCurry Road. They are trying to stay in the center of the basin to preserve the natural flow, minimize the depth of the sewer, and keep the cost down by avoiding unnecessary over length runs to get to the main trunk sewer. The initial proposal was to come down Edith Lane, then cross. That route was a logistical nightmare because of the industrial park activity and the dead end street. A decision to switch to the frontage road was made because there are ways to work around the traffic and go through a vacant field to end up at the same point. The sewer line runs down the middle of the street of the proposed subdivision as a matter of convenience with the adjacent engineer and developer working on the proposed subdivision project. Arc Design worked with that engineering firm to develop a best fit alignment for the trunk sewer that would also serve their needs for the proposed subdivision.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that he has met with John Nelson and representatives of the NLI and the IDNR. The NLI was somewhat open to Option 1 which was to do an open cut to cross the trail. If they proceed with the open cut, an excavator will be brought in to dig a large trench that is approximately 20 feet deep. It will require Arc Design to restore the path to its existing condition and restore the grasslands on either side, possibly upgrading some of the existing plant features when doing the restoration work.
Option 2, which is what Arc Design would like to do, would be to install a jack and bore casing pipe completely underneath the trail which would result in zero disturbance on the Stone Bridge Trail itself. This method would cost more money, but there would be zero impact on the property. Because it is a sandy condition, a fairly flat slope is needed. For every two feet away from the trail, it has to go down one foot. The top of the hole will be started outside of the limits of the property and go down from there. The disturbance will be on the farm fields on either side.
He stated that he is asking for an official acknowledgement that Arc Design can proceed with obtaining the easement from Roscoe Township. Mr. Linkenheld stated that he did speak with the Township Commissioner, and the Township Commissioner has advised him that he is agreeable to allowing the sewer crossing as long as he gets the sign-off from the three groups that control the overlaying conservation easements. Mr. Linkenheld stated that he will be going to the NLI board meeting in June, 2007, and application has already been made to the IDNR for its approval.
John Nelson stated that Stone Bridge Reserve Land and Water Reserve qualifying features were remnant railroad prairies along the right-of-way. He stated that these prairies have been under active management since 1995, when the NLI acquired the abandoned railroad right-of-way. The Land and Water Reserve, owned by Roscoe Township, is 3.25 miles in length, which is a long linear feature through a rapidly urbanizing area. The NLI still retains a conservation easement across the property, in addition to the conservation easement in the form of a land and water reserve held by the INPC and the IDNR.
Mr. Nelson stated that on April 4, 2007, he met with representatives of the RRWRD, the Village of Roscoe, and the IDNR consultation program. Because the project involves a sanitary sewer line, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is also involved. There are two representatives from the IDNR who are reviewing this project through an open consultation. Recommendations have not yet been made to the Village of Roscoe. He stated that there are two main issues that the Commission should focus on for this request. One is the method of the pipeline installation. The April 4, 2007 meeting was not held at the site, so he was not exactly sure where this crossing was proposed. The crossing is actually a concern. There are remnant prairies in that location. Subsequent discussions with staff of the NLI indicate that there is a concern with the crossing at the proposed location. The directional drill method would be the preferred method of installation because that would avoid impacts to the surface. In the staff recommendation that was distributed to the Commissioners, it was noted that Section 310. Public Notice says that “…Before any agency or entity of State or local government may undertake an action that will disrupt natural vegetation or natural communities on a registered area, there must be a finding by the Commission at a meeting and by the Department that the action is in the public interest.” By doing the directional drill, Arc Design can avoid the need for a finding of public interest because they would not be technically disrupting any natural vegetation. The second issue is the bigger picture of the service area that the sanitary sewer line would service. Mr. Nelson stated that after it came to light that the sewer line would service a very large, high-density residential development right along the Stone Bridge Reserve Land and Water Reserve, he looked to see if a buffer had been planned between the new proposed land use and the existing Land and Water Reserve. The developer has already obtained preliminary approval for this high density development without any buffer afforded to the Land and Water Reserve. Without a buffer, this essentially would eliminate the ability of the landowner, the NLI, or the Commission to do any controlled burns on that site. Without that type of management, these prairies will eventually die over time. With home lots butting right up against the common property line, there will be a direct impact from the dumping of yard waste. Approximately 13 homes are proposed along that area with commercial development on one side, and a retirement community close by. The type of fencing used would also be of concern. On the north side of this development is commercial zoning. Through proper planning, a 30-40 foot wide buffer is being platted between the residential development and the commercial development. He would recommend that the buffer between the residential development and the Land and Water Reserve should be at least as wide as the buffer being afforded between the residential development and a commercial enterprise. There is a living system of prairies along this right-of-way, and it could be argued that the buffer should be even bigger than it is for a commercial development.
Mr. Nelson stated that staff is recommending that the Commission not approve the request for the sewer line crossing at this time. Staff is still in an information gathering mode as this project came to the staff’s attention a month ago. He stated that it was his opinion that if the sanitary sewer easement is approved now, there would be no leverage whatsoever with the Village of Roscoe and the RRWRD to change the residential development plat. There are discussions that are currently ongoing that would hopefully lead to some type of buffer. Written correspondence from the landowner of this Land and Water Reserve regarding their views on this project is needed, and correspondence is needed from the NLI.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that he can appreciate Mr. Nelson’s opinion and recommendation, and he can sympathize with the Commission’s concerns about the residential development. He stated that he knows that the residential development has been approved by the Village of Roscoe on a tentative plat basis, and the people working on the project are proceeding forward under the guise that they will get the Village of Roscoe approval on a final plat as long as they match what has been approved on the tentative plat. Since the meeting on April 4, 2007, there has been some movement. Mr. Linkenheld stated that as of April 30, 2007, he was advised by the developer of the residential area that the developer had met with representatives of the NLI. Mr. Linkenheld stated that he was told that a compromise was reached between the NLI and the developer. It was agreed that the developer would provide a ten-foot buffer with a permanent chain link fence along the entire run of the property. This would circumvent the possibility of having different types of fencing materials. He stated that he would suggest that the Commission approve some sort of resolution with a contingency that would provide a minimum ten-foot buffer with a permanent fence structure. He stated that he had a conversation with the Township Commissioner, and he was told that the Township is waiting for the residential developer to transfer some property at a different location to the Township, and as long as the environmental groups come to an agreement, the Township would sign off on the easement.
Commissioner Drucker thanked Mr. Linkenheld for his presentation, and he stated that it is clear that Arc Design is under a time constraint. He stated that the Commission needs to have more information from its professional advisors so that the Commissioners can fully understand the proposal. He stated that it was his hope that this will not be perceived by the Village of Roscoe, the RRWRD, or the developer as stonewalling on the Commission’s part.
Commissioner Drucker stated that the Commission also needs to understand where its authority ends. He would like to know if the Commission is entitled to take into consideration the nature of the land use that is going to be served by this sewer extension. If this was a sewer line going underneath a farm field, would the Commission handle the approval passage differently than if it is serving a land use that it knows, from common experience, will have a deleterious affect on the conservation targets that are being protected unless a proper buffer is provided for.
Randy Heidorn stated that under the rules established for the land and water reserves, placing a sewer line or doing any kind of mining or earthmoving is prohibited unless the specific action within a land and water reserve is compatible with the management plan. The question in this case is whether or not the placement of this sewer line is compatible with the plan which does allow the consideration of adjacent land use changes that may result.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that development follows public utilities. If this project was brought before the Commission a year ago, without the impending development of the adjacent property, it may have been a different discussion. It is difficult to separate the sewer line crossing request from the adjacent residential development.
Commissioner Keating stated that the immediate interest of the Commission is to see that the sewer line goes under the Land and Water Reserve in such a manner that causes no disturbance. He asked if the question of a buffer between the Land and Water Reserve and the residential development is an issue that needs to be taken up with the developer. He stated that he feels it is a separate issue because it involves different property owners and different governmental agencies.
Mr. Heidorn stated that on the surface they seem to be two different activities, but they are linked together because one directly supports the other. The language in the rules is clear in terms that the use has to be compatible with the long-term management. The absence of a buffer between the Land and Water Reserve and the residential development will impact the Commission’s ability to manage the area.
Commissioner Riddell asked how deep the lots are that go along the Stone Bridge Trail.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that, according to the map, the lots are 140 feet deep. He stated that it was his professional opinion that anything more than 20 feet for a buffer would severely impact the use of those lots.
Commissioner Riddell stated that an average Chicago city lot is approximately 125 feet.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that in the Rockford area the average lot size for a development like this would be approximately 80 feet wide and 130-140 feet deep.
Commissioner Riddell stated that it was her understanding that there were alternative, but more expensive, routes for the sewer line extension.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that the line could be routed down McCurry Road; then under the road. The result would be that the development happens anyway, everyone gets upset, there is still no buffer, and the project is more expensive.
Commissioner Riddell stated that she was trying to put everything into perspective because even if the Commission refuses to approve the project today, it would not necessarily preclude the development.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that if the Commission refuses to grant approval, it would only result in making the trunk sewer more expensive and increase the cost for all the users upstream. He did not feel that the development would stop because of the Commission’s refusal to approve the sewer line crossing. He stated that people are sitting on land that they want to develop, and they will move forward even at a higher cost.
Mr. Nelson stated that he hoped that Mr. Linkenheld did not feel that the Commission is trying to stop the sewer line extension. The intent here is that there should be good planning so land which has legal protection status will be protected. In this case, the Land and Water Reserve has not been taken into consideration as far as this service area goes. Part of the Commission’s responsibility is to look at what that service area is and how it could impact the Land and Water Reserve.
Commissioner Flemal stated that he would like Arc Design to commit to the jack and bore method of installing the sewer line crossing. He would also like to see the actual specifics of the NLI’s negotiation of the ten-foot buffer and how that is set up before making any decision.
Mr. Linkenheld stated that he could easily commit to the jack and bore method.
After much discussion, it was decided to table this issue. Mr. Linkenheld was asked to bring this matter back to the Commission at its 195th Meeting on August 7, 2007.
Commissioner Drucker stated that Mr. Linkenheld should relay to his constituents that the Commission does not want to be an obstructionist, but it is about planning and getting all the information before making a decision.
Commissioner Riddell turned the meeting over to Chair Ross-Shannon for continuation of the agenda.
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for approval for updated Vegetation Management Guidelines for the control of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), teasels (Dipsacus spp.), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.). 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.
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Drucker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the revised vegetation management guidelines for Kentucky bluegrass, teasels, garlic mustard, and bush honeysuckles, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
Mr. Edgin stated that there are four more vegetation management guidelines that need to be updated, and there is one new vegetation management guideline that is being written.
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that the amount of work that Mr. Edgin has done on this project is impressive, and his presentations are always impressive.
194-16) Natural Areas Acquisition Fund Fiscal Year 2008 Stewardship Proposals
Bob Szafoni presented a PowerPoint presentation regarding the FY 2008 Stewardship Proposals. He stated that NAAF is funded by the Real Estate Transfer Tax. Fifteen percent of the dollars collected from this tax goes to natural areas acquisition. The introduced FY 2008 capital budget has $9.5 million allocated for the NAAF. Five percent of this allocation will go to stewardship defense which is coordinated by Randy Heidorn and Kelly Neal. Ten percent of that money will go to stewardship, and the remainder to natural areas land acquisition which is coordinated by Tom Flattery, Don McFall, and Connie Waggoner.
From the stewardship component of $950,000, $5,000 will go to support the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) and $180,000 to support discretionary stewardship projects. That money is distributed to Natural Heritage Regional Administrators and to the INPC staff to meet needs that develop at the last minute. The other 80% of the stewardship project goes to a list of site-specific projects that were listed in the handout given to the Commissioners. There are 100 projects on the list that the Commission has been asked to approve. The list contains more projects because the amount proposed for appropriation this year is significantly more than in past years. Seventy-five of the proposed projects would take place on IDNR sites and twenty-five on private lands. If the distribution of the types of activities is any indication, exotic and invasive species continue to remain the greatest threat to natural areas throughout the State. Eighty-one of the projects address exotic and invasive species. Another 19 projects are to plant forest or prairie vegetation, provide support for prescribed burning, or deal with other site integrity issues such as fencing and boundary surveys. Forty-one of the projects being proposed are being used as match for non-State dollars. Most of this is federal money that is being pulled in by having the Natural Areas Stewardship money available as match (approximately $330,000). The money is coming primarily from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a public lands initiative and the landowner incentive program for a hill prairie restoration coordinated by Diane Tecic, IDNR’s Region IV Administrator. Some money is also coming from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Commissioner Allread asked how many projects did not make the proposed stewardship list.
Mr. Szafoni stated that there were an additional 25 projects submitted that did not make the list because of the lack of funding. He stated that the non-funded list was also attached to the proposed project list and was labeled as “List 2.” If there were funds remaining after completing the projects on the approved list, attention would then be turned to the projects listed on the non-funded list as long as another critical need did not develop elsewhere.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the Fiscal Year 2008 Natural Areas Acquisition Fund stewardship proposals as presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
194-17) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
Bill Gonterman stated that the Commission should be proud of its efforts regarding protection of the bluffs and hill prairies.
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that the Commission appreciates Mr. Gonterman’s efforts and leadership in this area.
Debbie Newman stated that Judy Faulkner Dempsey and Mr. Gonterman did the very first hill prairie protection in 1996.
Tracy Evans stated the nature preserves management guidelines have been linked to the C2000 website.
194-18) Natural Areas Acquisition Fund Fiscal Year 2008 Land Acquisition Proposals
The Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with review and recommendation of land acquisition projects by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC). The acquisition plan for Fiscal Year 2008 includes acquisition of 22 tracts of land within 18 natural areas. All of the proposed parcels 1) are identified on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, or 2) buffer a nature preserve or land and water reserve owned by the IDNR, or 3) provide habitat for endangered or threatened species of animals or plants. The proposed acquisitions total 3,700 acres and will cost approximately $18,600,000.
As of April 3, 2007, the State budget had not been approved. The amount budgeted for natural area acquisition with the NAAF is $8,075,000. The INPC is asked to review and approve a longer list than there is funding for because matching money will be sought to stretch NAAF dollars and negotiations with some landowners will not be successful.
Brief descriptions of the natural areas proposed for acquisition follow. The areas are not listed in priority order.
STEMLER CAVE WOODS is an old growth forest remnant located on a sinkhole plain in southwestern Illinois, near the entrance to Stemler Cave. Two endangered species occur here. The IDNR owns 195 acres here, including 120 acres dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed. Stemler Cave Woods is in the Sink Hole Plain conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
BLACK CROWN MARSH is a large wetland less than a quarter of a mile east of Moraine Hills State Park in northeastern Illinois. The marsh provides habitat for seven endangered or threatened species of wetland dependent birds. The IDNR owns 338 acres here, including 156 acres registered as a land and water reserve. Acquisition of three additional tracts is proposed. Black Crown Marsh is in the Lake - McHenry Wetland Complex conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
CACHE RIVER, located in the coastal plain of southern Illinois, is a large area of bottomland forest, upland forest, bald cypress and tupelo swamps, sandstone bluffs, and limestone glades. Twenty-eight endangered or threatened species of plants or animals occur here, including Mississippi kite, big eared bat, cypress minnow, and willow oak. The area has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. The IDNR has acquired more than 5,600 acres at Cache River using the NAAF. The IDNR owns a total of 14,000 acres here, including 12,650 acres dedicated as nature preserve or land and water reserve. Acquisition of one additional tract is proposed. Cache River is in the Cache River - Cypress Creek conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
CARLYLE LAKE is a state fish and wildlife area that contains one of Illinois’ largest populations of a rapidly declining reptile. The proposed acquisition would protect additional habitat and help assure the long term survival of this animal in Illinois.
FERNE CLYFFE is located in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. This large acquisition will buffer Cedar/Draper’s Bluff Land and Water Reserve and nearly link it to Ferne Clyffe State Park, creating a 3000-acre protected block of forest, bluffs, streams, old fields and glades.
FLAG POND is located in the bottomlands of the Little Wabash River in the Wabash Border Natural Division of southeastern Illinois. The pond has well developed zones of vegetation with buttonbush around the edges, swamp loosestrife in deeper water, followed by a zone of smartweed, and finally open water with yellow pond lily. This type of wetland is a rare natural community type in the southern part of the State that is not well represented in the nature preserve system. The wetland provides habitat for a rare reptile.
FRANKLIN CREEK is a diverse area of upland and ravine forest, permanent stream, large springs and bedrock outcroppings in the Rock River valley. An endangered plant species occurs here. The IDNR owns 880 acres here, including 197 acres dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of two additional tracts is proposed. Franklin Creek is in the Nachusa - Franklin Creek - Castle Rock - Lowden Miller conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
KNOBELOCH WOODS is an outstanding example of the original upland forest of southwestern Illinois and is dedicated as a nature preserve. The proposed addition will buffer the 35-acre nature preserve from surrounding incompatible development and improve public access to the site.
LOVETT’S POND is a high-quality pond community in the lower Mississippi River bottomlands in southern Illinois. The pond provides habitat for copper-bellied water snake, a species declining throughout its range. The IDNR owns 90 acres here, all of it dedicated as a nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed.
MANITO PRAIRIE is an outstanding example of a gravel hill prairie on the low bluff of the Illinois River valley. The prairie provides habitat for three endangered or threatened species. The IDNR currently owns 21 acres here with 19 acres dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed.
MARSHALL STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE AREA in central Illinois, along the Illinois River, contains a high-quality hill prairie registered as a land and water reserve. Part of the prairie is on adjacent private land. The proposed acquisition would add the remainder of the prairie to the IDNR ownership and buffer the existing land and water reserve.
MOMENCE WETLANDS, located in northeastern Illinois, is a large bottomland forest on both sides of the Kankakee River east of Kankakee. This natural area provides habitat for five endangered or threatened species. The IDNR owns 767 acres here, including 590 acres dedicated as nature preserve or registered as land and water reserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed. Momence Wetlands is in the Kankakee Sands conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
TRAIL OF TEARS STATE FOREST is located in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. The IDNR owns 5,100 acres here, including 222 acres dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed. Trail of Tears is in the LaRue - Pine Hills - Western Shawnee - Trail of Tears conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
VOLO BOG, in northeastern Illinois, is a large, diverse area with high-quality bog communities. Twenty-three endangered or threatened plant species occur here, including tamarack, yellow birch, blueberry, cranberry, and orchids. Volo Bog is the best illustration of classic bog succession in Illinois. The area has been designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. The IDNR owns 1,200 acres here, including 500 acres dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed. Volo Bog is in the Lake - McHenry Wetland Complex conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
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 nominated National Natural Landmark. It is being protected through a partnership between the IDNR and the Cook County Forest Preserve District. The IDNR owns 42 acres here, most of it dedicated as nature preserve. Acquisition of an additional tract is proposed to buffer the west side of the prairie from incompatible development. Protecting Wolf Road Prairie advances several objectives recommended in the Green Cities Campaign of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
BRUSHY SLOUGH is located at the confluence of the Little Wabash and Wabash River in southeastern Illinois. It is a large tract with more than a mile frontage on the Wabash River. It contains several bottomland ponds, old oxbows, and extensive floodplain forest. Brushy Slough provides habitat for five endangered or threatened species. Acquisition of one tract is proposed. The Wabash River is the largest unchannelized river east of the Rocky Mountains. Brushy Slough is in the Wabash River conservation opportunity area of Illinois’ Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Schwegman, 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 purposes of discussing 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 2:10 p.m.
The meeting was called back to order at 2:28 p.m. by Chair Ross-Shannon.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the Fiscal Year 2008 Natural Areas Acquisition Fund land acquisition list, as presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 194th Meeting.
194-19) Other Business
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that five sets of minutes from closed meetings of the Commission were included in the Commissioners’ packets. The meeting dates were August 7, 2001, August 6, 2002, August 3, 2004, August 2, 2005, and May 2, 2006. These 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.” He asked for a motion to determine whether or not the minutes from each meeting should be kept closed.
It was moved by Allread, 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, August 6, 2002, August 3, 2004, August 2, 2005, and May 2, 2006, meetings will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The closed session minutes from the August 2, 2005 meeting will be amended by adding Commissioner Keating’s name to the list of those who were present at that closed session.
Commissioner Riddell stated that at the February 5, 2007 meeting, Randy Heidorn gave a PowerPoint presentation on the status of the INPC’s Strategic Plan. There was some discussion at that time about what the process should be about updating the Strategic Plan. She stated that she participated in a conference call with Randy Heidorn and Deborah Stone to discuss the Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is an internal document that guides the everyday activities of the staff based upon the five year goals of the Commission. Since the time of the implementation of the Strategic Plan, there has not been an enormous amount of change which would alter the existing document. The thought now is that the Commission is about to encounter new information (the INAI update) that could potentially change the Strategic Plan. The INAI update will take approximately two years to be completed. The recommendation that came out of the conference call would be to table the discussion of the Strategic Plan for the time being and consider revising it at a later time. It was also recommended that there be a six week period where staff, Commissioners, and other key individuals could have input on this issue. Commissioner Riddell asked that comments on this issue be directed to Deborah Stone.
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that staff is under pressure to do a lot of work, and things need to be prioritized. He stated that he felt that the present Strategic Plan was a good road map.
Chair Ross-Shannon stated that elections for officers are held in August. In the past, the Chair has been authorized to appoint a nominating committee. He stated that he would like to have a motion to authorize the Chair to form such a committee to prepare a slate of nominations for the Commission officers, advisors, and consultants.
It was moved by Flemal, seconded by Allread, and carried to authorize the Chair to form a nominating committee to prepare a slate of nominations for officers, advisors, and consultants of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to be presented at the August, 7, 2007 meeting.
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission