ILLINOIS NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION AGENDA
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVENTH MEETING

Macon County Conservation District
Rock Springs Center
3939 Nearing Lane
Decatur, IL 62521

October 29, 2002 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 176th Meeting, August 6, 2002

Item 4: Next Meeting Schedule

4 February, 10:00 a.m. - Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
6 May, 10:00 a.m. - Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford
5 August, 9:00 a.m. - Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield
28 October, 10:00 a.m. - Pere Marquette State Park Lodge, Grafton

Item 5: INPC Staff Report

REPORT
Carolyn Grosboll, Don McFall, and Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

Item 6: IDNR Staff Report

REPORT
Glen Kruse
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation

Item 7:* Douglas Co. – Upper Embarras Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Upper Embarras Woods Land and Water Reserve, owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), is a 100-acre forest located within Walnut Point State Park. This site contains mature old second growth forest that is part of Walnut Point Natural Area recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as an outstanding remnant of presettlement forest (#39). This forest is adjacent to the west boundary of Upper Embarras Woods Nature Preserve, which protects the east part of the INAI site. The proposed land and water reserve, in conjunction with the adjacent Nature Preserve, is part of the largest remaining forest tract along the Embarras River, from the headwaters south of Champaign-Urbana to Charleston, Illinois, a distance of over 80 river miles. The proposed land and water reserve, together with the Nature Preserve, comprise 165 acres of forest habitat that supports forest-interior bird species that are sensitive to fragmentation and require large blocks of forest to breed. The proposed land and water reserve is also immediately adjacent to the Embarras River, a river recognized by the INAI as a biologically significant stream that provides important habitat for at least five species of state-threatened or endangered mussels. Protecting the forest of the proposed land and water reserve in its natural condition contributes to the high natural quality of the river by reducing runoff and sediments entering the river. The proposed land and water reserve functions as a buffer for the river.

REPORT
Eric Smith
District Heritage Biologist
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation, Region III

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 8:* Effingham Co. – Rock Cave Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Rock Cave Land and Water Reserve is a 57-acre site owned by the IDNR containing upland forest and sandstone cliff natural communities. The name Rock Cave is a colloquialism for a shelter cave that has been eroded from soft sandstone bedrock. This feature is a part of the larger Rock Cave Natural Area that consists of 448 acres of upland and ravine forest, sandstone outcrops, rock formations, and perennial and intermittent streams. The area is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and includes the headwaters of Cedar Creek. The area is recognized by the INAI (#355) for its grade A sandstone cliff community and populations of the state-threatened fibrous-rooted sedge (Carex communis) and blazing star (Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii). There are a number of unusual species among the approximately 350 plant species known from the area, including Harvey’s buttercup (Ranunculus harveyi), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), pinesap (Monotropa hypopithys), bird foot violet (Viola pedata), and poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata). The area also has a rich display of spring wildflowers and a disjunct population of American beech (Fagus grandifolia). Seventy-nine acres of the natural area were dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve by the IDNR in 1983. Two privately-owned adjoining tracts, the 20-acre Wade Heiser Woods and the 30-acre Wald Freiden, have been enrolled in the Natural Heritage Landmark Program.

REPORT
Terry Esker
District Heritage Biologist
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation, Region V

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 9:* Hancock Co. – Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve, owned by the IDNR, includes 33 acres of dry-mesic upland forest and mesic upland forest with scattered ridges of loess hill prairie and savanna, representative of the Galesburg Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division. The proposed reserve includes nearly one-half of the larger 62-acre INAI site (#155) known as Cecil White Prairie. Cecil White Prairie was owned by Cecil and Eleanor White from Tennessee, Illinois, from 1954 until 1998, when they donated the property to the IDNR. The site is recognized by the INAI as a Category I, for having one acre of high-quality (grade B) loess hill prairie. The site contains significant archeological resources in the form of a Late Woodland Mortuary Mound complex.

REPORT
Angella Moorehouse
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 10:* Johnson Co. – Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve includes 2,672.50 acres in Johnson County in extreme southern Illinois. The area is owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Included within the proposed land and water reserve is 2,268 acres enrolled in the Cache River Special Wetland Reserve Program. The area has been restored to wetland habitat through the IDNR’s C2000 Program. Six hundred thousand dollars has been invested in the restoration. Prior to the purchase by TNC, the entire site was a vegetable farm. Historically the area was dominated by low, wet, bottomland hardwood forest and swamps. The area is located in the Bottomlands Section of the Coastal Plain Natural Division. Grassy Slough has long been considered an important tract for preservation because of its strategic location. The tract separates the Little Black Slough Unit of the Cache River State Natural Area (CRSNA) (7,764 acres) from the Lower Cache River Unit of the CRSNA (6,342 acres). With registration of Grassy Slough, the results will be an unfragmented 16,779-acre riparian corridor within conservation ownership with 15,250 acres protected under INPC programs. An equally important outcome of preservation of Grassy Slough is that this is the site of the future reconnection of the Upper and Lower segments of the Cache River. This reconnection will be the key to restoring the structure and function of the river to a self-sustaining equilibrium and will help preserve a rich diversity of wetlands, forested swamps, and bottomland hardwood forests, which include over 100 species listed as threatened or endangered in the State of Illinois.

REPORT
Mark Guetersloh
District Heritage Biologist
IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation, Region V

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 11:* Knox Co. – Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve consists of about 10 acres, including approximately 2 acres of wetlands surrounded by an 8-acre woodland buffer. The wetlands are fed by seeps which discharge water from various sources at the base of a north facing slope. The site contains approximately 0.2 acres of grade B sedge meadow and 0.1 acre of grade B seep. It has been nominated for inclusion into the INAI as a Category I, having high-quality sedge meadow and seep communities. The proposed land and water reserve is part of a 240-acre farm owned by Ellen Gibbons of Peoria Heights, Illinois. This farm has been owned by her family since 1860. If registration is approved, this site would be the first area in Knox County to be protected under the Illinois Nature Preserves System and would be the first high-quality sedge meadow and seep community to be protected within the Galesburg Section of the Western Forest-Prairie Natural Division of Illinois.

REPORT
Angella Moorehouse
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 12:* St. Clair Co. – Columbia Quarry-Dupo Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Columbia Quarry-Dupo Prairie Land and Water Reserve is located on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River floodplain. It is a 6.2-acre site containing one acre of grade A loess hill prairie, five acres of grade C dry and dry-mesic upland forest, and grade A limestone cliff community representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The proposed land and water reserve includes all of the Dupo Prairie INAI site (#237). Columbia Quarry Company owns the proposed land and water reserve and also owns parts of four other INAI sites. The Dupo Prairie site, along with another of their sites (Sugar Loaf Prairie) being presented today for registration, is the first formal protection activity by Columbia Quarry and demonstrates their willingness to work with the INPC and IDNR on protection of these important areas. Columbia Quarry Company is proposing to register the land for 10 years, with automatic renewal.

REPORT
Debbie Newman
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 13:* St. Clair Co. – Columbia Quarry-Sugar Loaf Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The proposed Columbia Quarry-Sugar Loaf Prairie Land and Water Reserve is located on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River floodplain. It is a 62.5-acre site containing one acre of grade A loess hill prairie, 61 acres of grade C dry and dry-mesic upland forest, and grade A limestone cliff representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The proposed land and water reserve includes a portion of the 19-acre Sugar Loaf Prairie INAI site (#238), including the grade A hill prairie which afforded the site its INAI designation. Columbia Quarry Company owns the proposed land and water reserve and also owns parts of four other INAI sites. Columbia Quarry Company is proposing to register the land for 10 years, with automatic renewal.

REPORT
Debbie Newman
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Registration Approval

Item 14:* Cook Co. – Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Burnham Prairie, owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, is an INAI site (#98) located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This unique site is recognized for its dry-mesic prairie, wet-mesic prairie, wet prairie, and savanna communities. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County recently acquired 78.5 acres of this site and wishes to protect it in perpetuity by dedicating it as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The District will manage the proposed Nature Preserve for its outstanding natural heritage resources, while facilitating compatible public use.

REPORT
Kim Roman
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Preliminary Approval for Dedication

Item 15:* Cook Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

The Nature Conservancy is seeking preliminary approval for a 1.74-acre nature preserve buffer addition to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve. This additional acreage will increase the size of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve to 81.84 acres. Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is one of four prairies located in Cook County which are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Sundrop Prairie Nature Preserve, and Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve. Indian Boundary Prairies are part of a surviving remnant of a vast prairie that once extended along Lake Michigan in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. Aside from the collective importance of this archipelago of prairies, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve supports over 200 plant species, including the state-listed eared false foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata). In addition, Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is home to several prairie restricted butterflies including the two-spotted skipper (Euphyes bimacula) and black dash (Euphyes conspicua). One of the most outstanding features of Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve is the 10 acres of high-quality mesic prairie. Paintbrush Prairie was not recognized by the initial INAI; however, ongoing management coupled with botanic studies have revealed exceptional species richness and the site was added to the INAI in December, 2000 (#1563).Sixty acres of Paintbrush Prairie were conferred preliminary approval at the Commission’s 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1248). At the Commission’s 148th Meeting in August, 1995 (Resolution # 1281), preliminary approval was granted for dedication of a key 8-acre addition. In October, 1998, a 10.1-acre addition was conferred preliminary approval at the Commission’s 161st Meeting (Resolution #1445). The 60-acre tract and 8-acre addition were granted final approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the Commission’s 162nd Meeting in February, 1999 (Resolution #1465). In August, 1999, at the Commission’s 164th Meeting, final approval for dedication was granted for the 10.1-acre addition and 2-acre buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve (Resolution #1498).

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Preliminary Approval for Dedication

Item 16:* Tazewell Co. – McCoy Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

McCoy Woods, owned by the Gould Family Trust and the Hancock Realty Partners, is a 28.7-acre site included within the 47-acre McCoy Woods Natural Area (INAI #132), recognized on the INAI for a 15-acre, grade A, wet floodplain forest and a 7-acre, grade B, mesic upland forest. The proposed nature preserve includes grade A and B forests; about three acres of grade C, upland forest; and a one-half mile reach of the gravel-cobble-bottomed Mackinaw River approximately 20 miles downstream from the Mackinaw River Natural Area (INAI #788). The proposed nature preserve supports forest and stream natural communities representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division and has been identified as an INAI Gap site. A “Gap site” is a natural area that contains a type of natural community that is not protected in any of the existing nature preserves or land and water reserves. The intact, undisturbed, grade A, floodplain forest supports large canopy trees such as swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), and cottonwood (Populus deltoides), which all likely have limited recruitment due to a highly-shaded understory. Large sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and silver maple (Acer saccharinum) canopy trees are also present. The mesic upland woods, located on steep north-facing bluff sides, supports red oak (Quercus rubra), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), and basswood (Tilia americana). The owners wish to have McCoy Woods protected in perpetuity and properly managed in order to perpetuate existing natural communities.

REPORT
Tom Lerczak
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Preliminary Approval for Dedication

Item 17:* Lake Co. – R & J Halkovich Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

At the Commission’s 175th Meeting in May, 2002, the R & J Halkovich Addition to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve received preliminary approval for dedication as nature preserve buffer (Resolution #1648). Robert and Janice Halkovich are now seeking final approval to dedicate 3.5 acres of land located immediately east of and across St. Mary’s Road from MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve as nature preserve buffer. MacArthur Woods is a 504-acre forest preserve owned and managed by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve represents a portion of the extensive woodland habitat that once extended along the eastern edge of the Des Plaines River and is representative of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. MacArthur Woods was recognized by the INAI (#78) because of high-quality forest communities. State-listed bird species known from the site include the Brown Creeper (Certhia familiaris) and Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). In addition, state-listed plant species at MacArthur Woods include the dog violet (Viola conspera), purple-fringed orchid (Platanthera psycodes), dwarf raspberry (Rubus pubescens), marsh speedwell (Veronica scutellata), and tubercled orchid (Habenaria flava). In June, 1981, 446 acres of MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve were dedicated as the MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve on behalf of the Lake County Forest Preserve District (Resolution #590). Dedication of the R & J Halkovich addition will buffer MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve from incompatible land use and development along its eastern boundary and protect a surface water linkage with the nature preserve. Dedication of the R & J Halkovich addition may also serve as an impetus for other landowners to protect the current open-space character of land that extends along St. Mary’s Road.

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 18:* Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

Lake Forest Open Lands Association is seeking final approval for dedication of 82.8 acres as nature preserve buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. Middlefork Savanna has frequently been described as the best surviving mesic or “black soil” savanna in Illinois, and is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Middlefork Savanna was recognized by the INAI (#1245) for its high-quality mesic savanna community. This community type is among the most rare in Illinois. The Nature Conservancy has described black soil savannas (or fine-textured-soil savannas) as “critically imperiled globally.” Other surviving natural communities include mesic and wet prairie, sedge meadow, and marsh. One federally-listed plant species, the Eastern prairie-fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) and four state-listed species have been recorded at the site: golden sedge (Carex aurea), marsh speedwell (Veronica scutellata), and pale vetchling (Lathyrus ochroleucus). The Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is a state-threatened reptile reported from the site. Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve is approximately 499 acres in size and is owned by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of 581.8 acres of Middlefork Savanna at its 175th Meeting (Resolution #1649) in May, 2002. Lake County Forest Preserve District received final approval for dedication of 375 acres as nature preserve and 124 acres as nature preserve buffer at the Commission’s 176th Meeting in August, 2002 (Resolution #1670).

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 19:* Marshall Co. – Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

Oak Bluff Savanna, owned by Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang, is a 5-acre site included within the 15.2-acre Oak Bluff Prairie Natural Area (INAI #1559), recognized on the INAI for a 1.5-acre dry-mesic savanna. The proposed nature preserve supports plant communities (prairie, savanna, forest) representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. White oaks (Quercus alba) are the largest and most obvious trees within the high-quality savanna, which supports small thickets of hazelnut (Corylus americana) and oak grubs. Flowers include yellow stargrass (Hypoxis hirsuta), Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum), and the state-threatened Hill’s thistle (Cirsium hillii). Bur oak (Q. macrocarpa) and chinquapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii) are also present. The proposed nature preserve includes a one-acre grade C dry-mesic savanna, approximately two acres of grade C woods, plus a 0.5-acre prairie restoration on former agricultural fields, seeded exclusively from high-quality remnants within the natural area. Restoration management continues to improve the quality of this site. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 176th Meeting (Resolution #1668) in August, 2002.

REPORT
Tom Lerczak
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 20:* McHenry Co. – Amberin Ash Ridge Nature Preserve, Dedication

Ms. Deborah Staley is seeking final approval for dedication of Amberin Ash Ridge, a 9.8-acre tract of mesic upland forest and seep natural communities, as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Amberin Ash Ridge is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. The site was previously presented to the Commission and granted preliminary approval for dedication as nature preserve buffer to Boone Creek Fen Nature Preserve at the Commission’s 157th Meeting in October, 1997 (Resolution #1379) and approved for final dedication at the Commission’s 175th Meeting, May, 2002 (Resolution #1656). Since that time, the boundary for Boone Creek Fen and Seep INAI site has been expanded to include the entire Amberin Ash Ridge addition. Boone Creek Fen and Seep is a complex of wetland and upland communities included on the INAI (#1015) for high-quality sedge meadow and graminoid fen plant communities. The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the 176th Meeting in August, 2002 (Resolution #1669).

REPORT
Steven Byers
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Final Approval for Dedication

Item 21: Lake Co. – Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation

REPORT
Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

 

Item 22:* Vegetation Management Guidelines

The Management Guidelines give land owners and managers guidance on how to handle 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. Updated Vegetation Management Guidelines for the control of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and new guidelines for sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) are presented for approval. Methods of control for these species include various applications and combinations of prescribed fire, cutting and spot treatments of herbicide depending on site specific conditions and management goals. The revision was drafted by Debbie Newman. The new guideline was written by Mark Phipps and Kelly Victory. Both guidelines were edited by Mary Kay Solecki and Randy Heidorn. 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.

REPORT
Randy Heidorn
Nature Preserves Commission

ACTION TO BE CONSIDERED
Approval of Guidelines

Item 23: Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

Item 24: Other Business

Item 25: Adjournment

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