ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION AGENDA
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINTH MEETING

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Building
Springfield, Illinois

February 7, 2006 10:00 A.M.

*Documentary Material Enclosed

Item 1: Call to Order, Roll Call, and Introduction of Attendees

Item 2:* Adoption of Agenda

Item 3:* Approval of Minutes of the 188th Meeting, October 18, 2005

Item 4*: 2006 Meeting Schedule

2 May, 10:00 a.m. - Ballard Nature Center, Altamont
1 August, 9:00 a.m. - McHenry County Conservation District, Woodstock
24 October, 10:00 a.m. - Nature Center, Bourbonnais Park District

Item 5: INPC Staff Report

REPORT
Randy Heidorn and John Nelson
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 6: IDNR Staff Report

REPORT
Glen Kruse
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation

Item 7: Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report

REPORT
Randy Nyboer
Endangered Species Protection Board Manager

Item 8:* Clinton Co. – Lost Creek Marsh Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Lost Creek Marsh Land and Water Reserve, owned by Bonnie Nehrt and John W. Schulte, is a 74.5-acre parcel that includes marsh and floodplain forest communities. The site was identified by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory as a Grade C best of its kind marsh (INAI# 418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. Allowable uses include natural community restoration, hunting, fishing, trapping, nature observation and study, and scientific research with prior approval from the land owner and approval of special use permits, if necessary. All-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) will be allowed for management purposes only. No commercial timber harvests will be allowed within the reserve. Registration will be through perpetuity.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Bob Edgin Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 9:* Clinton Co.– Lost Creek Marsh Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed Lost Creek Marsh Nature Preserve, owned by Bonnie Nehrt and John W. Schulte, is an 88-acre parcel that includes marsh, floodplain forest, upland forest and Lost Creek. The site was identified by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory as a Grade C best of its kind marsh (INAI# 418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission recommends preliminary approval of the 88-acre parcel as an Illinois nature preserve.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Bob Edgin Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 10:* Jackson Co. – Circle B Ranch Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Circle B Ranch Land and Water Reserve, owned by Robert, Sara and Michael Brkljach, is a forested natural area located in the Greater Shawnee Hills Section of the Shawnee Natural Division. It is significant because it is a large block of forest (102 acres) that contains habitat for a State-threatened reptile. Circle B Ranch is on State Highway 3, a well-traveled road in Jackson County, located 9 miles west of Murphysboro, Illinois. The timber had not been harvested here for over 20 years and the forest is a mature oak-hickory forest interspersed with a series of sandstone cliffs, all thirty to fifty feet high.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Judy Dempsey Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 11:* Jackson and Randolph Counties – Degognia Canyon Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Degognia Canyon Land and Water Reserve is a natural area owned by Russell Clendenin that contains forest and glade communities located in the Central Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The Central Section is characterized by sandstone outcrops and an Ozarkian floral element. The area is significant because it is a large block of forest and glade complex (121.6, acres). The forest is a mature oak-hickory forest with a 100-foot high sandstone cliff forming an impressive canyon. The site contains habitat for a State-threatened reptile and a high quality sandstone glade community.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Judy Dempsey Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission
Item 12:* Jo Daviess Co. – Wapello Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The Archaeological Conservancy, established in 1980 and based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the nation’s best remaining archaeological sites. The Conservancy seeks to register 78.74 acres to be known as the Wapello Land and Water Reserve. The proposed reserve is located immediately south of the town of Hanover in Jo Daviess County and within the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division of Illinois. The area proposed for registration includes one-half mile of the eastern portion of the Apple River and is located within the central portion of the Apple River Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Site (INAI# 1647). The Apple River INAI site includes approximately 5.3 total stream miles and is recognized as a Category II site for the presence and specific suitable habitat for at least one state threatened mussel and for evidence of breeding for a State-threatened bird and as a Category VI site for an unusual concentration of invertebrates (mussel beds supporting 18 live species of native mussels). The site also contains significant archaeological values having the only known ceremonial platform mound remaining within the Apple River Valley. The site is unique in that it contains a settlement of a mixing of peoples of the Terminal Late Woodland and Mississippian cultures.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Angella Moorehouse Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 13:* Clinton Co. – Schulte Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed Schulte Woods Nature Preserve, owned by John W. Schulte, is a 35.15-acre parcel that includes floodplain forest, upland forest and a nearly one-quarter mile segment of the Kaskaskia River INAI site. The segment of the Kaskaskia River from Route 50 to its confluence with Shoal Creek, including the portion within the proposed preserve, was identified by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory as a Category VI - high mussel diversity stream (INAI# 1514). It is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission recommends preliminary approval of the 35.15-acre parcel as an Illinois nature preserve.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Bob Edgin Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 14:* Kankakee Co. – Addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

In August of 2005, Pembroke Savanna was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. This 65-acre site, owned by the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is recognized on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI# 54) for its high-quality, dry sand savanna, and it also provides habitat for a State-threatened butterfly. It lies within the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This site is one of the best examples of a black oak sand savanna in all of Illinois. The Nature Conservancy has prioritized this site for conservation efforts and has been acquiring additional tracts of land in the immediate surroundings of Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. The Illinois Chapter of TNC has recently acquired a 20-acre tract of the INAI site and wishes to dedicate it as an addition to the existing nature preserve.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Kim Roman Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 15:* Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Skokie River Nature Preserve, Dedication

Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA) seeks preliminary approval for dedication of a 1-acre addition to Skokie River Nature Preserve, increasing the size of this nature preserve to 137 acres. Skokie River Nature Preserve (INAI# 658) encompasses a mosaic of wetlands, mesic prairies, and dry-mesic forest arrayed along subtle elevation, moisture, and soil gradients within the Skokie River valley. This nature preserve is located in Lake County in the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Embedded within Skokie River Nature Preserve are two high-quality prairies, McLaughlin Prairie and Shaw Prairie, that were recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. Eleven tracts of land, including the proposed addition (often referred to as the DeBiase Tract), were recently conveyed to the LFOLA by The Nature Conservancy. Of those eleven tracts of land, all except the proposed addition have been formally dedicated as part of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. The conveyance specifically directed the LFOLA to "...take all actions necessary to dedicate the DeBiase Tract as a Illinois State Nature Preserve...". Initial consideration of the ecological significance of this preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission dates back to the Commission’s 60th Meeting in October 1976 when the Commission approved "...in principle, dedication of suitable portions of the Lake Forest Open Lands areas as a nature preserve." It was not until 1992 at the Commission’s 136th Meeting (Resolution# 1142), however, that the Commission conferred final approval for 100 acres as Skokie River Nature Preserve. Since then, the Commission has conferred final approval for seven additional tracts of land totaling 36 acres. The proposed addition of prairie encompasses a small portion of Skokie River INAI site and its designation as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the provisions of earlier proposals for dedication that call for linkages to "...be expanded through dedication of adjacent lands as buffer and improved by natural community restoration."

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steve Byers Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 16:* LaSalle Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserve, Dedication

Starved Rock Nature Preserve is one of the first Illinois state parks and Illinois nature preserves. This preserve, which lies within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, was dedicated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) because of its unique natural and archaeological resources. The existing 592-acre Nature Preserve is recognized for its habitats for state-listed species, outstanding wildlife habitats, unique geological exposures, and cultural significance. The IDNR wishes to dedicate 108 acres of its holdings as buffer to the Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer shares some of the same qualities as the original Nature Preserve and is included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI# 1077) for its wildlife habitat features as a winter roost site for a State and federally threatened bird. The dedication of this parcel as Nature Preserve buffer will ensure long-term protection of its resources and help complete preserve design for Starved Rock Nature Preserve.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Kim Roman Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 17:* Winnebago Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Natural Land Institute propose to dedicate 9 land parcels as addition and buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Presently, Harlem Hills Nature Preserve is 54.2 acres. The preserve has been owned and managed by the IDNR since 1972, with the exception of a 1.8-acre private land addition by Dr. Barbara M. Atwood in 1996. The gravel prairies at Harlem Hills represent the last of their kind in the Winnebago Section of the Northeast Morainal Natural Division. The total acreage of dry-mesic gravel prairie in Illinois is 51.7 acres. The Harlem Hills INAI site contains 35.0 of those acres or 67.7 percent of all remaining gravel prairies within the state. The proposed nature preserve addition includes the remainder of the unprotected INAI site and includes one state listed plant not known from the existing Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. It is the recommendation of INPC and IDNR staff that parcels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , and 8, comprising 28.83 acres, be dedicated as addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve and that parcels 9, 10, and 11, comprising 11.58 acres, be dedicated as buffer to same. These additions will help protect unique natural communities, 2 state endangered plants - downy yellow painted cup (Castilleja sessiliflora) and redroot (Ceanothus herbaceus) and provide potential habitat for a State-threatened butterfly.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
John Nelson Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 18:* Lake Co. – Old Mills Flatwood Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Village of Lincolnshire requests final approval for dedication of the 31-acre Old Mill Flatwoods as a nature preserve buffer addition to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve. The proposed addition is part of a 55-acre tract recently annexed into the Village of Lincolnshire that provides for development of the Old Mill Woods subdivision. The Old Mill Flatwoods addition is located adjacent to Florsheim Park within the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in Lake County. Florsheim Park Nature Preserve was included on the INAI for extant sedge meadow, mesic prairie, dry-mesic forest and northern flatwoods natural communities that support four state-listed plant species (INAI# 1500), including the federally listed eastern prairie fringed orchid (Plantanthera leucophaea). The dry-mesic forest and northern flatwoods extend into the proposed addition. This proposal provides for siting, constructing, and operation of a storm water detention basin designed to improve water quality. Protection of the natural resources at this location represents a real success story beginning with the gift of Florsheim Park to the Village of Lincolnshire. This 40-acre site received final approval for dedication at the Commission’s 151st Meeting in May, 1996 (Resolution# 1315). In 1999, the Village acquired North Park and subsequently chose to formally protect a portion of the park (38 acres) as an addition to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve (171st Meeting in May, 2001; Resolution# 1570). The 31-acre Old Mill Flatwoods addition received preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 187th Meeting in August, 2005 (Resolution# 1835). Upon final approval of this addition by the Commission, the amount of land formally protected as part of Florsheim Park Nature Preserve will increase from 78 to 109 acres.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steve Byers Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 19:* Kendall Co. - Maramech Woods Nature Preserve - Request to use Nature Preserve Buffer for Road Drainage Purposes

The junction of Griswold Springs Road and Fox River Road, adjacent to Maramech Woods Nature Preserve, is a dangerous intersection with a history of accidents and a recent fatality. The Kendall County Highway Department, with the support of the Nature Preserve’s landowner (Kendall County Forest Preserve District) proposes to improve its safety. All alternatives were explored, and the only feasible option involves re-grading and vegetating swales just outside the existing road right-of-way within dedicated buffer. No hard surface or new right-of-way is proposed. While the proposal will involve earth-moving within the dedicated buffer, it will actually improve the condition of the swale, which is currently a constant source of weeds and siltation within the higher quality Nature Preserve. The Kendall County Highway Department and Forest Preserve District are seeking approval from the Commission to move forward with its plans.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Fran Klaas Approval of Plan
Kendall County Highway Department
Jason Petit
Kendall County Forest Preserve District
Kim Roman
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 20: Hancock Co. – Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve - Proposal to use a Portion of the Land and Water Reserve for Road Right-of-Way for Expansion of IL Rt. 136 to 4 Lanes

The Cecil White Prairie is a 33-acre tract in eastern Hancock County donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) by Cecil and Eleanor White of Tennessee, Illinois, in 1998. The donation included a significant portion of the 62-acre Cecil White Prairie INAI site (INAI #155) recognized for having 1 acre of high quality loess hill prairie. The entire site given to IDNR was registered as the Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve in October, 2002 with the qualifying features being a high quality loess hill prairie community and significant archeological resources. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) proposes to use a portion of the Land and Water Reserve for road right-of-way for expansion of Ill. Route 136 to 4 lanes. IDOT has been working with INPC and IDNR staff to develop a solution to allow use of a minimal portion of the reserve for road construction (drainage ditch improvement) and temporary and permanent right-of-way easement while providing the means to protect and improve the condition of the significant natural features.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Angella Moorehouse Approval of Plan and Finding that Action
Nature Preserves Commission is in Public Interest
Dennis O'Connell
Department of Transportation

Item 21: Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

Item 22: Other Business

Item 23: Adjournment