August 6, 1996
John White, Preservation of Prairies on Railroad Rights-of-Way.... 8
Gordon Goodman, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance... 9
Cook Co. -- Santa Fe Prairie, Dedication... 10
Kane Co. -- Brewster Creek Fen, Dedication... 11
Jackson Co. -- Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie, Dedication... 12
Kankakee Co. -- Bourbonnais Geological Area, Dedication... 13
Madison Co. -- Addition of Toadwood Scrubs
as Buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication... 14
Will Co. -- Goodenow Grove, Dedication... 15
Will Co. -- Addition of Nature Preserve and
Nature Preserve Buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication... 16
Cook Co. -- Proposal to Permit Orienteering within Illinois Nature Preserves... 17
Heron Pond/Little Black Slough Nature Preserve Erosion Control Project: Status Report ... 18
Adoption of Agenda... 2
Approval of Minutes of 151st Meeting... 3
Next Meeting Schedule... 4
INPC Staff Report... 5
IDNR Staff Report... 6
Public Comment Period... 7
Election of Officers- INPC Nominating Committee Report... 19
Election of Consultants... 20
Other Business... 21
MINUTES OF 152nd MEETING
(Subject to approval of Commission at 153rd Meeting)
Discovery Center Holding Theater
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, Illinois Tuesday, August 6, 1996 -- 10:00 a.m.
152-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:10 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Vice-Chairman Schmitt, the meeting began.
Members present: Gerald Adelmann, Guy Fraker, Don Pierce, John Schmitt, Michael Schneiderman, Francis Farwell II, and Victoria Ranney.
Members absent: Thomas Donnelley II and Judith Spasovich.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Steve Byers, Judith Faulkner, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Karen Tish, Brian Reilly, and Angella Moorehouse, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Patti Malmborg, who will begin working for INPC on August 16, 1996; Robert F. Betz, INPC Consultant; Valerie Spale, Save the Prairie Society and INPC Consultant; Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; Carl Becker, Bill Glass, Chris Dinesen, Amy Ragusa, Division of Natural Heritage, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Susan Dees, George Rose, Barb Traeger, Steve Coffinbargar, William Barbel, Rocco Zucchero, David Niemann, and Michelle Mahoney, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Gordon Goodman and Jane E. Amorosi, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance; Rich Gaylord, Chicago Area Orienteering Club; Jean Farwell, The Nature Conservancy Trustee; William Borden, DuPage Environmental Awareness Center and Illinois Environmental Council; Marti J. Sladek, DuPage Environmental Awareness Center; Neil McDermott, The Nature Conservancy-Volunteer Stewardship Network; Laura Jasiek, Brookfield Zoo; Jim Marzuki and Jon Mendelson, Thorn Creek Woods; Judy Dolan Mendelson, Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (IESPB); George Johnson, Illinois Native Plant Society; Greg Starr and Karen Stasky, Stewards for Santa Fe Prairie; Stan Johnson, Illinois-Michigan Canal Civic Center Authority; Eunice Franke and Hollie Faulkner, two of the owners of Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie; John White, Ecological Services; Michael Moore and Kate Kramer, Illinois Natural History Survey; Steve Chervery, Bourbonnais Township Park District and David Monk, Educational Resources in Environmental Science.
In the absence of Chairman Donnelley, Vice-Chairman Schmitt welcomed those attending.
152-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by Farwell, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting be adopted.
152-3) Approval of Minutes of 151st Meeting, May 7, 1996
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Fraker and carried that the minutes of the 151st Meeting be approved.
152-4) Next Meeting Schedule
Carolyn Grosboll reported that the 153rd meeting will be October 29, 1996 at Funks Grove Nature Preserve, near McLean, Illinois beginning at 10:00 a.m.
152-5) INPC Staff Report
Carolyn introduced two new Natural Areas Preservation Specialists (NAPS), Brian Reilly and Angella Moorehouse. Brian Reilly began work on July 16, 1996 in Area 3, located in north central Illinois. His office is at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie near Joliet. Before joining the Commission, Brian was the Land Preservation Director for the Natural Land Institute. Angella Moorehouse began working for the Commission on August 1, 1996 in Area 4, located in west central Illinois. Angella's office is at Argyle Lake State Park, near Macomb. She worked this past year as a resident for the Division of Forestry at the Mason State Tree Nursery in Topeka.
Carolyn gave an update on other vacancies and new positions with the Commission. She reported that Debbie Scott Newman has accepted the Area 7 position. Debbie will begin on August 16, 1996. Her office will be in Randolph County in southwest Illinois. Debbie was a Private Lands Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources for 10 years before taking some time off to help write a habitat guidebook for landowners. Interviews were held July 22-24 for the Area 5 and Area 8 positions as well as for the part-time Threats Coordinator in northeastern Illinois and the part-time Stewardship Project Manager in Springfield. Executive approval has been given for the NAPS positions and the part-time Threats Coordinator. Carolyn introduced Patti Malmborg as the Threats Coordinator for northeastern Illinois. Patti will begin August 16, 1996 and her office will be in East Dundee, Illinois. Patti worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) in Champaign for several years before a brief move to Wisconsin.
Bob Edgin, a current resident with the Division of Natural Heritage, will begin work as the Area 8 NAPS on August 16, 1996. His office will be in Fairfield, Illinois.
Tom Lerczak, currently a research scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, will begin working in Area 5 on September 1, 1996. His office will be at the Mason Tree Nursery near Topeka, Illinois. Carolyn distributed a map outlining each NAPS area along with their addresses, phone and fax numbers.
Carolyn also reported that the Governor signed the Department's budget in mid-June. The Commission asked for $462,200 and that was the amount authorized. Last fiscal year, INPC received $430,300. This fiscal year, a 7.4% increase was realized to cover cost of living expenses and a contract to complete the Biennial Report that is due in 1997. This amount does not reflect the four new full-time positions and the two new part-time positions. The money to support those positions is still in the Division of Natural Heritage's budget.
Carolyn lastly reported that the vacant part-time Office Associate position for the Springfield office has been reestablished in the McHenry County office to provide some much needed support for Steve Byers in Area 2.
Don McFall reported that a process of training the new INPC staff has begun. The four veterans in the field: John Alesandrini, Mary Kay Solecki, Steve Byers and Judy Faulkner will help in getting the five new people started. Veterans will introduce the new staff to the preserve landowners, teach them landowner contact techniques, and help them with procedures within the natural areas guidelines.
Don highlighted some staff accomplishments since the last meeting. In northern Illinois Steve Byers presented a paper on Twenty Years of Fen Stewardship in Illinois at the 17th annual meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists. In east central Illinois Mary Kay Solecki saw to its completion, the donation of 3l acres of high-quality forested land to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) at Walnut Point State Park. Don reported that in southern Illinois Judy Faulkner completed a hydrologic restoration project at Lost Creek Prairie near the Kaskaskia River. This has been a two-year project at a Natural Heritage Landmark site. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding. Don stated this was one of the first examples of how INPC has brought federal resources to Natural Heritage Landmark owners.
Don reported that Brian Reilly set up his office at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and has begun visiting the preserves and meeting the landowners. Don stated that Angella Moorehouse has set up her office at Argyle Lake State Park, west of Macomb, and has also begun visiting the preserves and meeting the landowners.
Randy Heidorn reported that 219 special use permits were issued to date this year as compared with 179 issued for all of last year. Randy noted that we are seeing an increase in people being aware of the need for a permit and an increase in people doing research in the nature preserves. He stated there are 140 master plans, 74 of which are fully up-to-date and that number is increasing. Randy reported that several nature preserves owners who have not previously had formal master plans, but now have signed a general master plan. The general master plan authorizes very basic management guidelines such as surveillance, posting of signs, and general maintenance.
Randy reported that one year ago, a wetland restoration project adjacent to Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve was approved in principle by the Commission. The purpose of this project was to restore the habitat for the Hine's emerald dragonfly in Will County. Randy reported that the project is scheduled to be conducted by the Toll Highway Authority as part of a mitigation plan for wetlands impacted by the I-355 extension south. The project is in its final design phases and construction should begin within the next six months. Randy reported that the project involves placing culverts on a railroad that runs along the nature preserve to insure that water can flow from one side to the other. Reporting on another issue at the same site, Randy reported that Commonwealth Edison, the rail line's owner, had placed some creosote ties in the railroad tracks. This was a concern because it was feared the creosote would seep into the nature preserve and damage the habitat for the dragonfly. Commonwealth Edison has agreed to remove the creosote ties. All future ties in this sensitive area will be steel.
Randy updated the Commissioners on the biocontrol of purple loosestrife. This year's goal was to produce and release 60,000 of the Galerucella beetles. However, the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) could produce 120,000 of the insects, so the number of beetles released was at least double that of the 60,000 goal. The total release for all other states was to be roughly 50,000 beetles. Randy reported that in Illinois most of the beetles have been released in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Randy indicated that it may take five to seven years to recognize a result from the release of the beetles.
Randy updated the Commissioners on rock climbing activities at Sentinel Nature Preserve. Randy reminded Commissioners that the Commission had previously authorized limited rock climbing at Sentinel Nature Preserve in northwestern Illinois. Randy reported that volunteers have built all of the information kiosks and there is a positive attitude between the rock climbers and the site staff. The site staff has developed a new trail plan that is currently under review.
Randy reported that at Beall Woods Nature Preserve the endangered plant Bloodleaf found near a low water crossing construction site appears to have been moved successfully, as authorized at a previous meeting. Randy reported that the plants seem to be surviving. The construction is continuing.
Lastly, Randy informed the Commissioners about the status of Lyme disease in Illinois. Randy reported that John Bouseman of the INHS gave him this information. The taxonomy of the tick that causes Lyme disease has been changed. Researchers have determined that the deer tick, which Lyme disease researchers have described as the main carrier, is not a new species, but is the previously described black-legged tick. The good thing about this determination is that many records on locations of the black-legged tick occur in Illinois. This tick has been found in 50 counties in Illinois. The predominant areas for the tick in Illinois are at Castle Rock State Park which includes George B. Fell Nature Preserve located along the Rock River in Ogle County. The tick is also well established in the upper Illinois River area, in Will and Kankakee Counties. It is found in large numbers in the bluff areas of Monroe County; however, the spirochete bacteria that causes Lyme disease are not found in the Monroe County ticks. The National Institute of Health and Center for Disease Control is very interested in that unique phenomenon and is not sure why that has occurred.
152-6) IDNR Staff Report
Carl Becker reported that since the last Commission meeting, IDNR used Natural Areas Acquisition funds to option a large natural area tract in Jo Daviess County. They are getting a 962-acre addition to Apple River Canyon State Park. This tract contains more than two miles of frontage on the Apple River in the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois. Dolomite cliffs rise above the river in several places. White pine and Canada yew occur on these cliffs and five endangered species of plants. In addition, a high quality dry prairie occurs on this tract. This tract is one of the gap list sites because no dry prairie has been protected in the Driftless Natural region of Illinois. This is the third tract protected at the Apple River Canyon using Natural Areas Acquisition funds.
A 10-acre addition to Redwing Slough State Natural Area in Lake County was acquired since the last meeting. Redwing Slough provides breeding habitat for six species of endangered or threatened wetland dependent birds. Redwing Slough is now 710 acres in size.
Carl said that Vice-Chairman John Schmitt helped facilitate both of these acquisitions and asked him to explain his role in the projects.
Schmitt explained that he serves as Executive Director of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, which is a fund raising arm for IDNR. The Foundation was created as a result of the first Conservation Congress.
The Conservation Foundation assisted the IDNR with the funding of land acquisition at Apple River Canyon and Redwing Slough. In the first case, the Wild Turkey Federation was interested in helping the Department acquire two pieces of property that the Department was interested in and signed a long-term agreement for $20,000 a year for 10 years to the Foundation. This money was combined with other funds to acquire the Apple River Canyon tract.
In the second case, the Illinois Conservation Foundation worked with the Attorney General's office as part of an enforcement case in Lake County with Abbott Laboratories. Abbott Laboratories made a gift of $200,000 to the Foundation, and specified that the money was to be used by the IDNR to acquire land at Redwing Slough.
Carl stated that these two acquisitions bring the total to 44 natural area sites acquired with the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. Since 1991, 7,400 acres have been acquired with this fund. The prices paid are as small as $300 per acre and as high as $110,000 per acre. The average cost has been $1,000 per acre.
Carl reported that the Division of Natural Heritage has filled three District Heritage Biologist positions that were vacant and have interviewed candidates for eight new positions.
Lastly, Carl reminded the Commissioners that the 23rd Annual Natural Areas Conference, the 15th North American Prairie Conference, and the Indiana Dunes Conference will be held October 23-26, 1996 in St. Charles, Illinois at Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center. Carl reported that there will be 2 days of six concurrent sessions held on various topics as papers and posters. A Plenary Session will be held Wednesday morning, October 23, 1996. Governor Edgar and Secretary of the Interior Babbitt have been invited to speak. Jim Lyons, of the U. S. Department of Agriculture has accepted an invitation to speak. Carl mentioned that Commissioner Ranney will be speaking at the conference as well.
Commissioner Adelmann asked Carl about the status of the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. Commissioner Adelmann noted some concern in the past that some of the monies were used to pay for staff rather than land acquisition. He asked Carl for the number of dollars generated to the fund and for a breakdown of how the money is spent.
Carl stated that the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund's appropriation to the Division this year was $5.3 million. Of that, $2 million is for acquisition and about $500,000 for stewardship projects.
Commissioner Adelmann asked how the funds compared with the previous year's breakdown, similar or less acquisition money. Carl said that acquisition money this year was less than last year. Last year's money was approximately $2.7 million, which included stewardship as well.
152-7) Public Comment Period (three minutes per person)
Marti Sladek commended the Commission for its work with the Downers Grove Park District to protect Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve.
Jane Amorosi commented on the beauty of oak savannas and that this type of community was prevalent in the presettlement Chicago area. Ms. Amorosi urged the Commission to do more to restore areas to oak savannas.
Chairman Schmitt asked staff to report to the Commission at its next meeting on what is currently being done to restore areas that had been oak savannas.
Commissioner Adelmann commented that The Nature Conservancy had spearheaded a partnership that the Commission is part of along with about 32 other institutions called Chicago Wilderness. Chicago Wilderness is focused on the metropolitan Chicago area to restore both prairies and savannas.
152-8) Preservation of Prairies on Railroad Rights-of-Way
John White of Ecological Services in Urbana reported that he had been working on a railroad prairie near Champaign when he learned that a telephone cable would soon be run through the prairie. John stated that Vern LaGesse found what he believed to be an endangered moth on the prairie. The moth lives on the rattlesnake master plant. After consulting with Consolidated Communications of Mattoon, Illinois, they agreed to bury the cable in a location that avoided any impacts to the prairie. Consolidated Communication's contractor, Electricom, was also very cooperative as was Illinois Central Railroad.
Pictures were shown of the prairie and of the equipment installing the cable.
Mr. White reported that ultimately, Consolidated Communications, with the permission of Illinois Central Railroad, agreed to go around the prairies once they were found and marked.
Out of the eight sites flagged between Paxton and Chicago, eight and one-half acres of high-quality prairie and eight acres of very high-quality grade A prairie have been avoided because of this cooperation. The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, which provided a contract for $3,500 for Ecological Services to conduct surveys ahead of the work crew, made part of this work possible.
Mr. White reported that overall, railroad prairies are about one-quarter acre in size. They are very narrow and in a linear strip. Mr. White believes that these areas are viable since some of them have lasted more than 140 years without anyone taking care of them. The fact that they do exist is good evidence that they can persist.
Mr. White reported that the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory(INAI) did not list most of the sites along railroads. Many INAI sites have been degraded through the years. Mr. White suggested that railroad prairies be reevaluated and that the owners be contacted so that they can be protected.
Mr. White asked that the Commission send a letter to Consolidated Communications thanking them for their actions. He also discussed the need for a program to be more active in protecting railroad prairies.
Dave Monk of Educational Resources in Environmental Science also spoke to the Commission reiterating what Mr. White had said.
Commissioner Adelmann said that he had an opportunity before the meeting to speak with Susan Dees of IDOT, who expressed an interest in exploring the option of a new program where IDOT crews would be notified of rights-of-way that should not be impacted by herbicides.
Susan Dees commented that one of her duties at IDOT is to deal with contractual herbicide programs along guardrails and medians. Ms. Dees said that IDOT did not have access to a list of prairies that are not on the INAI. Ms. Dees stated that if such non-inventory, high quality areas could be identified, such a program would be workable.
After much discussion on what action would be taken, Commissioner Adelmann suggested letters of commendation be written to Consolidated Communications, Electricom and the Illinois Central Railroad. Mr. White expressed a desire for dedication of the right-of-ways.
Carolyn provided that in order for property to be eligible for Nature Preserve dedication, one thing that is looked at is whether or not the property is on the INAI. Carolyn also stated that meeting the INAI criteria may be difficult for some railroad prairies because of their size limitation. To be eligible for the INAI, a railroad prairie has to be one acre of grade B prairie or a quarter of an acre of grade A prairie. However, Carolyn indicated that there is a specific section in the Register of Land and Water Reserves that states that segments of degraded but restorable railroad prairie at least one mile in length or equivalent to grade C under the INAI grading criteria are eligible for the Register. Carolyn stated that the Register might be a program that could be used to protect these areas. Instead of creating a new program, some railroad companies or owners of a railroad should be contacted about the Register of Land & Water Reserves since there is more flexibility on the types of activity that can occur on registered areas.
Commissioner Ranney asked if we have any idea of how many of the 11,000 miles of railroad tracks have prairies next to them. John White indicated that the information is not up-to-date nor accurate.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that after listening to the description of the problem he still did not have a clear picture of what the Commission was being asked to do to help the situation. It was agreed that a letter should be sent to Consolidated Communications, its contractor Electricom, and the Illinois Central Railroad explaining that the Commission passed a resolution commending their efforts at protecting the prairie and that a press release should follow explaining the Commission's action.
It was moved by Pierce, seconded by Farwell and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission commends and recognizes the efforts of Consolidated Communications, its contractor Electricom, and the Illinois Central Railroad for their efforts in protecting rare and fragile natural prairie while burying a fiberoptic cable through central and northern Illinois.
152-9) Gordon Goodman, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance
Mr. Goodman explained that he had two items he wished the Commission to consider. Mr. Gordon first provided an update on the situation involving property located adjacent to Lyman Woods natural area in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Mr. Goodman reminded the Commissioners that the property has been approved for a townhouse development.
Mr. Goodman also reported that the community approved a referendum in March of 1996 to authorize the Downers Grove Park District to sell $3 million in bonds for the purchase of the property. Also, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (FPDDC) approved the expenditure of $3 million of FPDDC money bringing the public agency money to $6 million.
The FPDDC recommended that $3 million be spent on acquiring 33.3 acres of property, the entire Town and Country holding. Downers Grove Park District has had negotiations on this matter through the Conservation Foundation of DuPage County. The Foundation has negotiated with the owner, Town and Country Homes, and clearly purchasing 28 acres may be possible.
Mr. Goodman reported that the Downers Grove Park District has applied for an Open Space Lands Acquisition & Development (OSLAD) grant that will provide $400,000 of new money for the project.
Mr. Goodman reported that other monies were needed to complete the whole purchase and that the Alliance is working on that.
Mr. Goodman stated that due to certain commitments made through the IDNR's consultation process, more time has been given to work on getting the money for the purchase.
Mr. Goodman expressed concern that the OSLAD awards are announced after January and that in this situation that may be too late.
Carolyn interjected that she had talked with the OSLAD grant office within IDNR and had learned that the process and announcement dates will be earlier this year. They will hold hearings September 24 and 25, 1996. Carolyn indicated that at the hearing, the applicant has three minutes to speak for the project and then, those opposed may speak for three minutes. The announcement of awards will be made in October of 1996.
Mr. Goodman considered this very good news and thanked Carolyn and the Commission.
Mr. Goodman reported that the Village of Downers Grove must still approve the final plat of the subdivision before they issue any building permits. The developer is currently working with the Village staff. A public hearing will likely be held in October, 1996.
A discussion followed between the Commissioners and Mr. Goodman on the appropriate supportive action to take at this point. Mr. Goodman requested the Commission to write a letter of support for the OSLAD Grant. Commissioner Schmitt expressed concern over advising another state agency on how to spend acquisition monies and that such action may set a precedent that would have to be followed for all OSLAD petitioners. The other Commissioners agreed.
Mr. Goodman also requested that the Commission write a letter to Town and Country Homes. The Commissioners directed staff to write a letter to Town and Country Homes reaffirming the Commission's interest in supporting the acquisition of the property.
152-10) Cook County -- Santa Fe Prairie, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal to dedicate Santa Fe Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Santa Fe Prairie encompasses Grade A mesic gravel and dry-mesic gravel prairie identified on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI). They originally identified only three mesic gravel prairies during the INAI. Of those three, Santa Fe Prairie and Chicago Ridge Prairie survive and were identified as "Gap List" sites. The third prairie has been destroyed. Santa Fe Prairie, perched atop a gravel bar formed by the meltwaters of glacial Lake Chicago, is the only surviving Illinois prairie that supports both high-quality mesic gravel and dry-mesic gravel prairie. Wet prairie and marsh also occur at Santa Fe Prairie. Collectively, 225 native plant species are recorded from Santa Fe Prairie.
There has been a long and colorful history of scientist, citizen, and corporate interest in protecting this prairie; that includes perhaps the birthplace of the prairie conservation movement in Illinois. Dr. Robert Betz is quoted as saying, "That first visit (to Santa Fe Prairie) with Floyd Swink was what made me decide to dedicate the next 35 years of my life to prairies." Recently, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, formerly the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company, showed their support for preservation of Santa Fe Prairie by agreeing to provide the match for an OSLAD/LWCF Application. The property would be conveyed to the Illinois-Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Civic Center Authority, which proposes to dedicate approximately 10.84 acres of Santa Fe Prairie as an Illinois Nature Preserve.
The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company has promised to protect the prairie and requested that the name remain the Santa Fe Prairie.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Adelmann and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for dedication of 10.84 acres of Santa Fe Prairie as a nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
52-11) Kane County -- Brewster Creek Fen, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a report for preliminary approval for dedication of Brewster Creek Fen, a nine-acre site that includes two different wetland communities (sedge meadow and seep) and one upland plant community consisting of dry-mesic forest. The INAI Committee deferred adding Brewster Creek Fen to the INAI because of uncertainty whether the wetlands at this site should be called fen, sedge meadow, or seep. Although there are many similarities between the wetlands found at Brewster Creek Fen and fen wetlands; Commission staff, and Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, believe the wetlands consist of both sedge meadows and seeps. Since management was initiated at Brewster Creek Fen in 1993, 199 native plant species have been recorded from the site. An assessment of the Brewster Creek Fen revealed a Natural Quality Index of 59.48. To put this value in perspective, Swink and Wilhelm report ". . . areas registering in the 50's and higher are extremely rare and of paramount importance; they represent less than 0.5% of the land area in the Chicago region." Furthermore, the state-threatened weak-stemmed wood sedge (Carex laxiculmis) occurs at Brewster Creek Fen. The proposed Brewster Creek Fen is owned by Mr. Tom Pettey, who has been supportive of preservation and management of Brewster Creek Fen.
It was moved by Farwell, seconded by Pierce and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for dedication of Brewster Creek Fen as a nature preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-12) Jackson County -- Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie, Dedication
Judy Faulkner presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of the Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie. The proposed Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve contains 4.14 acres of dry-mesic prairie near DeSoto in Jackson County, Illinois. The proposed preserve is part of the DeSoto Railroad Prairie INAI site, containing dry-mesic, mesic and wet-mesic prairie, which is adjacent to the Illinois Central Railroad and is approximately one mile in length. The land was recently purchased for preservation purposes by Judy Faulkner and her son David; parents, Ed and Eunice Franke; and two brothers and sisters-in-law, Rich and Charlon Franke and Don and Kathy Franke. Ed and Eunice have given their children and grandchildren the legacy of a sincere interest in and deep respect for nature. The dedication is the family's way of passing that legacy on to its future generations.
Since the granting of preliminary approval on May 7, 1996, Ed Franke, Judy's father, died unexpectedly on July 8, 1996. The family is dedicating the preserve today in memory of Ed Franke, husband, father, and grandfather. Without his leadership and support, the Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie would not be preserved.
The prairie is one of only two remaining high quality prairies in the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and is highly recommended for dedication.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Ranney and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of Faulkner-Franke Pioneer Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-13) Kankakee County -- Bourbonnais Geological Area, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of a portion of the Bourbonnais Geological Area as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The Bourbonnais Geological Area was included on the INAI as a Category IV geologic area for the outstanding natural exposure of Silurian Racine Reef dolomite. Other exceptional features noted by the INAI include a high-quality dolomite cliff and a terrestrial cave community. The Silurian Racine Reef formed between 405 and 425 million years ago from deposition of marine fauna. Although northeastern Illinois is underlain by Silurian dolomite, natural exposures of this bedrock are rare and occur only where torrential melt waters from retreating glaciers eroded away glacial till. Bourbonnais Geological Area was granted preliminary approval for dedication as depicted in Item 10 on the Agenda of the Commission's 147th Meeting (Resolution #1269). The boundary of the proposed preserve has been modified, however, in the Instrument of Dedication to accurately reflect ownership by the Bourbonnais Township Park District.
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Fraker and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of a portion of the Bourbonnais Geological Area as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-14) Madison County -- Addition of Toadwood Scrubs as Buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication
Judy Faulkner presented a proposal for final dedication of the Toadwood Scrubs addition as buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve. The proposed Toadwood Scrubs addition contains approximately five acres, primarily consisting of wet-mesic floodplain forest, near Cahokia Creek in Madison County, Illinois. Toadwood Scrubs belongs to John and Kay Kendall who reside just east of the proposed addition. The Kendall property lies adjacent to Bohm Woods, an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) site containing two nature preserves. Although Toadwood Scrubs is not a part of the Bohm Woods Inventory site, it is ecologically and hydrologically connected to Bohm Woods, and would provide an important buffer for the existing nature preserve. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the proposed Toadwood Scrubs be dedicated as an addition of buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve.
Toadwood Scrubs was given preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve at the 149th Meeting (Resolution 1290). Because two and one-half acres are not of nature preserve quality, reiteration of preliminary approval was granted at the Commission's 151st meeting to dedicate all five acres as buffer (Resolution #1312).
It was moved by Farwell, seconded by Fraker and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of an addition of Toadwood Scrubs as buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve in Madison County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-15) Will County -- Goodenow Grove, Dedication
On behalf of the Forest Preserve District of Will County, Steve Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of eight portions of Goodenow Grove and Plum Grove Forest Preserves as the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve encompasses much of the INAI site called Goodenow Grove (INAI #452) and will consist of approximately 282.59 acres as nature preserve and 258.63 acres as nature preserve buffer. Approximately 360 native plant species, 131 species of avifauna, and 46 species of herptofauna have been recorded from 12 natural plant communities and three cultural communities found within the proposed preserve. Among those species include nine state-listed endangered and threatened species, including the spotted coral root orchid (Corallorhiza maculata), ear-leafed foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata), Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii), sharp-shinned hawk (A. striatus), black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), brown creeper (Certhia familiaris), veery (Catharus fuscenscens), eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus), and Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandi). The proposed Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve was granted preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 151st Meeting (Resolution 1313).
Steve reported to the Commissioners that after they had granted preliminary approval for dedication of this parcel, the Illinois Department of Transportation contacted him with concerns about whether or not enough right-of-way was provided to accommodate an additional widening of Illinois Route 394 should a South Suburban Airport be built. Steve provided that IDOT indicated they may need an additional 20-30 meters of right-of-way for widening of Illinois Route 394 in the event the airport is built. Further, Steve conveyed that IDOT will be forced to look at alternatives if the Commission dedicates this parcel as proposed. Steve also reported that he had spoken with the Forest Preserve District of Will County and had received word from its Director, Mike Pasteris, that it is the District's wish that the Commission give final approval for dedication as proposed.
Carolyn added that according to correspondence provided by David Niemann of IDOT and IDOT's consultants, HDR, the additional right-of-way will be needed if a South Suburban Airport is built at the proposed Peotone site. Carolyn also reported that IDOT's correspondence states that the Department does not have the traffic projections for the year 2020 available and therefore is unable to provide a definitive proposed cross section for this portion of Illinois Route 394. Further, Carolyn reported that enough right-of-way is currently proposed and accommodated for in the dedication proposal to allow for a general widening of the current 4-lanes of Illinois Route 394. Representatives from IDOT were asked if Carolyn's comments were accurate and the Commission was informed that they were.
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Ranney and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of portions of Goodenow Grove and Plum Grove Forest Preserves as the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-16) Will County -- Addition of Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to dedicate 239 acres as an addition to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve. The addition includes 206.7 acres as nature preserve and 32.5 acres as nature preserve buffer. This addition will increase the size of Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve from approximately 561.6 acres to 800.6 acres. This preserve is owned in part by the Village of Park Forest, Village of University Park, Forest Preserve District of Will County, and the IDNR. The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission conferred reiteration of preliminary approval for this addition at the Commission's 151st Meeting (Resolution #1314). Reiteration provided for dedication of 214 acres as nature preserve rather than nature preserve buffer and for dedication of an additional 25 acres as nature preserve buffer.
It was moved by Ranney, seconded by Farwell and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for dedication of an addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 152nd Meeting.
152-17) Proposal to Permit Orienteering within Illinois Nature Preserves in Cook County
Randy Heidorn reported on the request of the Chicago Area Orienteering Club (CAOC) to sponsor events in part within Illinois Nature Preserves within Cook County. These educational/sporting events usually involve between 30-98 participants. Participants travel to a series of fixed locations by map and compass. These events are timed. The CAOC has proposed many measures to reduce the impacts of the events. The "Regulation of Public Use of Illinois Dedicated Nature Preserves" prohibits sporting events within nature preserves. However, the "Rules for Management of Illinois Nature Preserves" allow the Commission to approve uses not otherwise allowed within a nature preserve, if the use will have no negative impact on the resources of the nature preserve.
Randy introduced Rich Gaylord of CAOC who detailed the activities of the club including their respect of the areas in which they participate. Mr. Gaylord indicated that the areas are only used once or twice a year in different locations with minimal impact. They consider orienteering educational and instructional. Mr. Gaylord also mentioned the collection of trash in the areas as they participate in their activities.
Vice-Chairman Schmitt stated that he understood the number of participants would not be large. Mr. Gaylord responded that the numbers vary, but would probably be around 75.
Valerie Spale, a Commission Consultant, asked why orienteering would take place in nature preserves rather than in other forest preserves that are so plentiful. Ms. Spale indicated that she views the orienteering in the same way as other sporting activities that are objectional.
Randy recommended a couple of ways that the orienteering could be handled. He stated that orienteering is recognized as an educational activity that has a sporting aspect to it. Randy indicated that the rules for public use of the nature preserves specifically prohibit sporting events. Randy agreed that orienteering is probably not appropriate for every nature preserve; however, it could be allowed on a case by case basis in preserves where impacts could be minimized. As an example, Randy stated that in a wetland area, orienteering would not be appropriate; however, in large areas that have a higher level of disturbance, it could be conducted without causing a disturbance. Randy recommended that the Commission authorize staff to issue permits, for orienteering with landowner permission on a case by case basis. Randy further recommended that the impacts be monitored.
Vice-Chairman Schmitt asked for a consensus of the Commissioners in issuing the permits as recommended by Randy.
Marilyn Campbell, a Commission Consultant, stated that this recommendation must be considered very carefully since it might open a crack in the door to allow other unwanted activities. Ms. Campbell urged the Commissioners to look at the Commission's objective of protecting natural areas.
Commissioner Adelmann expressed concern for allowing orienteering and setting a precedent for other similar activities. Commissioner Adelmann also indicated that other forest preserves in the area could be used for orienteering that are not dedicated as nature preserves.
Other concerns of setting precedence were voiced. The chances of stepping off the trails and the danger of the trampling to plants and animals were expressed.
Commissioner Schneiderman indicated that he is a member of the CAOC. He said the degradation of the area in question is great. Commissioner Schneiderman stated that the Cook County areas show many signs of disturbance: camping, hiking, campfires, mountain bikers, trash, etc. He recommended regulation instead of exclusion.
Commissioner Ranney stated that a case by case permit would put the responsibility on the staff, and staff is not likely to allow irresponsible groups to have access to the nature preserves.
Commissioner Farwell asked whether the permit would be for each organization or for each event. Randy responded that the permit would be issued for each event.
Commissioner Farwell recommended that the Commission authorize staff to issue permits for orienteering activities subject to landowner approval, on a case by case basis for a trial period. Commissioner Farwell also indicated that the permit should have restrictions such as those indicated in the letter from Rachel Asley, President of CAOC, marked as item 17 in the Agenda for the 152nd meeting.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Farwell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted (Commissioner Schneiderman abstained and Commissioner Adelmann voted no):
The Commission authorizes staff to issue permits for orienteering events in Cook County, subject to landowner approval, on a case by case basis with restrictions on the permit as necessary to protect the resources of the nature preserve. This authorization is for a trial period of time with reporting required by staff on a quarterly basis.
152-18)Heron Pond/Little Black Slough Nature Preserve
Erosion Control Project: Status Report
Randy Heidorn reported on the control of erosion at Heron Pond Nature Preserve. Randy indicated that the approach has been revised since the Commission last met. The new approach would be to maintain the natural levee between Heron Pond and the Cache River by reenforcing some of the banks. This approach has not been totally reviewed and approved by the IDNR, Office of Water Resources staff. Randy reported that the 17 inches of rain that fell in the Chicago area and the flooding near Alton prevented the receipt of a full report since IDNR staff has been very busy at those sites. Randy indicated he will present another update at the next Commission meeting. Commissioner Fraker indicated his disappointment in not having a proposal before the Commission, given the seriousness of the problem.
152-19) Election of Officers - INPC Nominating Committee Report
Commissioner Adelmann presented a slate of officers on behalf of the Nominating Committee. Tom Donnelley was recommended for continuation as Chairman, Vicky Ranney as Vice-Chairman, and Don Pierce to continue as Secretary.
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Farwell, and carried that the following Commissioners be elected as officers of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission: Tom Donnelley, Chairman; Vicky Ranney, Vice-Chairman; and Don Pierce, Secretary.
152-20) Election of Consultants
Carolyn Grosboll recommended reelection of INPC's current consultants except Bill Jacobs who has moved out of the state and is no longer eligible to be a consultant and Dr. James Brown who asked that he be taken off the list. The remaining consultants to be elected are Dr. Robert F. Betz, Bruce Boyd, Marilyn Campbell, Kenneth V. Fiske, Dr. Alfred C. Koelling, Albert S. Pyott, Dr. Kenneth Robertson, and Valerie Spale.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ranney, and carried that the following be reelected as consultants to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission: Dr. Robert F. Betz, Bruce Boyd, Marilyn Campbell, Kenneth V. Fiske, Dr. Alfred C. Koelling, Albert S. Pyott, Dr. Kenneth Robertson, and Valerie Spale.
152-21) Other Business
No other business was discussed.
It was moved by Adelmann, seconded by Farwell and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 1:40 p.m.