ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION AGENDA

Minutes of the 190th Meeting
Ballard Nature Center
5253 East U.S. Highway 40
Altamont, Illinois 62411

May 2, 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 189th Meeting, February 7, 2006

Item 4: 2006 Meeting Schedule

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*: Piatt Co. – Jasmine Hollow Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Jasmine Hollow, owned by James and Mare Payne, is a 143.77-acre natural area along the Sangamon River southwest of Allerton Park and Monticello in Piatt County. This area, located in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, protects a 0.85 mile segment of the Sangamon River, a river recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a biologically significant stream (#1449). The Sangamon River provides important habitat for a relatively high diversity of mussels including the state threatened slippershell (Alasmidonta viridis). Jasmine Hollow also protects upland and bottomland forest. This site is one of nine protected natural areas that, taken together, preserve over 8.5 miles of the Sangamon River and over 3,100 acres of forest and other natural land along the Sangamon River corridor in Piatt and Champaign counties. Jasmine Hollow provides an important habitat corridor link to these protected natural lands. The Illinois Department of Conservation’s C2000 program enabled protection of this site by providing a grant to register the area as a land and water reserve.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Mary Kay Solecki Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 9:* Piatt Co. – Shady Rest Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Shady Rest is an approximately 28-acre natural area located along the Sangamon River north of the City of Monticello in Piatt County in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This natural area protects an approximately 0.25-mile segment of the Sangamon River. This river is recognized by the INAI as a biologically significant stream (#1449) with outstanding aquatic resources, especially fresh-water mussels, for the river’s entire length in Piatt and Champaign counties. The Sangamon River provides important habitat for a relatively high diversity of mussels including the state threatened slippershell (Alasmidonta viridis). Freshwater mussels are considered to be the most endangered group of species in North America. Shady Rest also protects bottomland forest and upland forest. This site is one of nine protected natural areas that, taken together, preserve over 8.5 miles of the Sangamon River and over 3,100 acres of forest and other natural land along the Sangamon River corridor in Piatt and Champaign counties. The Clean Energy Community Foundation made protection of this site possible by providing a grant to the Piatt County Forest Preserve District to acquire this site.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Mary Kay Solecki Registration Approval
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 10:* Lake Co. – Jean Farwell Woods Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

Mr. John Lillard and Mr. Frank Farwell wish to present three parcels of land for formal protection as the Jean Farwell Woods Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. Mr. Farwell wishes to present one parcel of 5.0 acres, while Mr. Lillard wishes to present two parcels totaling 15.584 acres. The three parcels, located in the Morinal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division, lie adjacent, or nearly so, to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve (INAI #1245). Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve encompasses elements of seven natural plant communities. Of these, elements of mesic savanna extend into and transition to dry-mesic forest within the proposed Jean Farwell Woods Addition. Of the three parcels, two (Lillard parcel #2, 3.162 acres and Farwell parcel, 5.0 acres) are being restored as a natural community while the third parcel (Lillard parcel #1, 12.692 acres) currently supports grazing by a few family-owned horses stabled nearby. Grazing on designated nature preserve buffer without provisions for closure of this reserved use, as described in a pre-existing conservation easement referenced in the proposal, is precedent-setting for the INPC. The conservation easement stipulates the nearby stable may not be used for commercial purposes and lists a number of prohibited uses that maintain both the current character and surface hydrology of Lillard parcel #1. The easement does provide that should the owner no longer wish to maintain horses on Lillard parcel #1, the parcel will be restored as a natural community. The proposal for dedication of the three parcels of land as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the recommendations described in the proposal for dedication of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve to protect additional lands, is consistent with tenets of good preserve design, does buffer Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve from incompatible land uses, and is consistent with the definition of buffer as provided by State statute. Upon determination that the three parcels meet the criteria for dedication as nature preserve buffer, separate Instruments of Dedication for consideration by the INPC will be prepared for each land owner. Dedication of the Jean Farwell Woods buffer addition, consisting of three separate parcels, will increase the size of Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve from 581.8 to 602.384 acres.

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

Item 11:* Randolph Co. – Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve, Dedication

The proposed Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve comprises about one half of the Swayne Hollow INAI site (#827). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) wishes to dedicate the 88 acres in their ownership as an Illinois nature preserve. Swayne Hollow is located in the Central Section of the Ozark Natural Division. Swayne Hollow is included on the INAI as a Category II site for threatened and endangered species; a site that contains relict plant species; and as an exceptional feature due to the presence of an undisturbed sandstone cliff community. The significance of Swayne Hollow is primarily due to the presence of the federally threatened small whorled pogonia orchid (Isotria medeoloides). This is the only known population of the plant in Illinois. The plant has been dormant since 1991, but extended dormancy is characteristic for this species. The relict plant species that occur at Swayne Hollow include shining clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum), ground pine (Lycopodium flabelliforme), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), all occurring on the north-facing grade A sandstone cliff community. The state threatened yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera flava) also occurs on the sandstone cliff community.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Judy Faulkner Dempsey Preliminary Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 12:* 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 INAI as a grade C best of its kind marsh (#418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The staff of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission recommends preliminary approval of the 88-acre parcel as an Illinois nature preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1857).

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Bob Edgin Final Approval for Dedication
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 INAI as a Category VI - high mussel diversity stream (#1514). It is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1861).

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

Item 14:* DuPage Co. – Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve at the West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve, Dedication

The City of West Chicago and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County seek final approval for dedication of a jointly-owned portion of West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve as the Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve. The proposed Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve, located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division, is 120.3 acres in size and encompasses high-quality mesic prairie, wet-mesic prairie, freshwater marsh, mesic silt loam savanna, and wet prairie natural communities identified on the INAI site (#505) as West Chicago Prairie. The Nature Preserves Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of 126 acres of West Chicago Prairie at its 87th Meeting in January, 1982 (Resolution #619). Since that time, the prairie which was discovered by Richard Truitt, Mayor of the City of West Chicago, was managed for many years by Melvern "Mel" Hoff. Surveys by Bowles and Jones entitled "Twenty-five year trends of change in prairie and wetland natural areas in the Chicago region of northeastern Illinois" show that the native richness index for this site increased between 1976 and 2001 which attests to the management effort led by Mr. Hoff and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steve Byers Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission
Leslie Berns
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County


Item 15:* 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 INAI (#54) for its high-quality, dry sand savanna, and it also provides habitat for a State-threatened butterfly. It lies within the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This site is one of the best examples of a black oak sand savanna in all of Illinois. TNC has prioritized this site for conservation efforts and has been acquiring additional tracts of land in the immediate surroundings of Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. The Illinois Chapter of TNC has recently acquired a 20-acre tract of the INAI site and wishes to dedicate it as an addition to the existing nature preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1862).

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

Item 16:* Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Skokie River Nature Preserve, Dedication

Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA) seeks final approval for dedication of an approximately 1-acre addition to Skokie River Nature Preserve, increasing the size of this nature preserve to 136.99 acres. Skokie River Nature Preserve (INAI #658) encompasses a mosaic of wetlands, mesic prairies, and dry-mesic forest arrayed along subtle elevation, moisture, and soil gradients within the Skokie River valley. The Nature Preserve is located in Lake County in the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Embedded within Skokie River Nature Preserve are two high-quality prairies, McLaughlin Prairie and Shaw Prairie, that were recognized by the INAI. Eleven tracts of land, including the proposed addition (often referred to as the DeBiase Tract), were recently conveyed to the LFOLA by TNC. Of those eleven tracts of land, all except the proposed addition have been formally dedicated as part of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. The conveyance specifically directed the LFOLA to "...take all actions necessary to dedicate the DeBiase Tract as a Illinois State Nature Preserve..." Initial consideration of the ecological significance of this preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission dates back to the Commission’s 60th Meeting in October, 1976, when the Commission approved "...in principle, dedication of suitable portions of the Lake Forest Open Lands areas as a nature preserve." It was not until 1992 at the Commission’s 136th Meeting (Resolution #1142), however, that the Commission conferred final approval for 100 acres as Skokie River Nature Preserve. Since then, the Commission has conferred final approval for seven additional tracts of land totaling 36 acres. The proposed addition of prairie encompasses a small portion of Skokie River INAI site and its designation as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the provisions of earlier proposals for dedication that call for linkages to "...be expanded through dedication of adjacent lands as buffer and improved by natural community restoration." The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1863).

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Steve Byers Final Approval for Dedication
Nature Preserves Commission
Item 17:* Lake Co. – Herrmann Wildflower Farm Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve, Dedication

Ms. Edna Herrmann respectfully requests final approval for dedication of 9.35 acres of the Herrmann Wildflower Farm as an addition of butter to the Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 154th Meeting in February, 1997 (Resolution #1339). The site is referred to as Herrmann’s Woods on the INAI (#664), and is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Illinois Morainal Natural Division. The ecological value of the proposed Herrmann Wildflower Farm buffer addition (water quality benefits) was detailed in a report entitled Buffer Zone Planning and Management in the Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area. Despite the fact that the proposed addition is disjunct from Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve, the Commission conferred preliminary approval as nature preserve buffer because of the ecological values ascribed to this parcel in that report and because of the presence of high-quality dry-mesic forest. Dedication of this parcel will honor the long-standing interest of Edna and her parents to protect the woods and will increase the size of the Edward L. Ryerson Nature Preserve from 278.9 acres to 288.25 acres.

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

Item 18:* 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 IDNR because of its unique natural and archaeological resources. The existing 592-acre Nature Preserve is recognized for its habitats for state-listed species, outstanding wildlife habitats, unique geological exposures, and cultural significance. The IDNR wishes to dedicate 108 acres of its holdings as buffer to the Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer shares some of the same qualities as the original Nature Preserve and is included on the INAI (#1077) for its wildlife habitat features as a winter roost site for a State and federally threatened bird. The dedication of this parcel as Nature Preserve buffer will ensure long-term protection of its resources and help complete preserve design for Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1864).

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

Item 19:* Winnebago Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication

The IDNR proposes to dedicate eight land parcels as addition and buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Presently, Harlem Hills Nature Preserve is 54.2 acres. The Nature Preserve has been owned and managed by the IDNR since 1972, with the exception of a 1.8-acre private land addition by Dr. Barbara M. Atwood in 1996. The gravel prairies at Harlem Hills represent the last of their kind in the Winnebago Section of the Northeast Morainal Natural Division. The total acreage of dry-mesic gravel prairie in Illinois is 51.7 acres. The Harlem Hills INAI site (#918) contains 35 of those acres or 67.7 percent of all remaining gravel prairies within the State. The proposed nature preserve addition includes the remainder of the unprotected INAI site and includes one state listed plant not known from the existing Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. It is the recommendation of INPC and IDNR staff that parcels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , and 8, comprising 28.83 acres, be dedicated as addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve and that parcels 9 and 10, comprising 7.4 acres, be dedicated as buffer to same. These additions will help protect unique natural communities, two State endangered plants - downy yellow painted cup (Castilleja sessiliflora) and redroot (Ceanothus herbaceus) and provide potential habitat for a State-threatened butterfly. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 189th Meeting in February, 2006 (Resolution #1865).

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

Item 20: Monroe and Randolph Counties – Update on Ameren IP Prairie State Interconnector Power Line Project

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Randy Heidorn Decision on INPC Involvement
Nature Preserves Commission

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

Item 22: Natural Areas Acquisition Fund Fiscal Year 2007 Land Acquisition Proposals

The Nature Preserves Commission reviews the capital expenditure of the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) and provides a recommendation to the Director of the IDNR. The capital portion of the NAAF for FY 2007 is estimated at $6 million to be divided as follows: land acquisition - $5.9 million; stewardship - $590,000, and defense - $100,000.

REPORT ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Don McFall Approval of Land Acquisition Proposals
IDNR Office of Realty and Environmental Planning

Item 23: Other Business

Item 24: Adjournment


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