163-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:20 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Ranney, the meeting began.
Carolyn Grosboll, Director of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) introduced Greg Behm, Site Superintendent, Volo Bog State Natural Area.
Greg stated that he has been the Site Superintendent at Volo Bog State Natural Area for 13 years. He has been with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) for almost 25 years. Greg welcomed everyone to Volo Bog State Natural Area.
Chair Ranney stated that INPC Secretary, Commissioner Pierce, was unable to attend today's meeting and, pursuant to 2 Illinois Administration Code 2150.220(d), she was appointing Commissioner Fraker as temporary Secretary.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Jonathan Ellis, Guy Fraker, Joyce O'Keefe, Victoria Ranney, and Michael Schneiderman.
Members absent: Dianne Burton, Lorin Nevling, and Don Pierce.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Loretta Arient, Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Angella Moorehouse, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Brian Reilly, Mary Kay Solecki, and Barbara Ver Steeg, INPC; Randall Collins, and Tim Hickmann, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), IDNR; Patti Malmborg, Anne Mankowski, Randy Nyboer, and Michelle Simone, Division of Natural Heritage, IDNR; Kim Roman, Division of Natural Resource Review and Coordination, IDNR; Ken Fiske, INPC Consultant; John Clemetsen and Darlene Fiske, Endangered Species Protection Board; Susan Dees and George Rose, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; David Miller, Illinois Audubon Society; David Clutter and Jill Kennay, Natural Land Institute(NLI); Ed Stirling, NLI and INPC Consultant; Ed Martin and Rita Martin, Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance; Casey Bukro, Chicago Tribune; Valerie Spale, Save the Prairie Society and INPC Consultant; Greg Behm, Volo Bog State Natural Area, IDNR; Richard Peters, John Arient, and Robin Rhodes, Moraine Hills State Park, IDNR; Dwight Magalis and Susie Schreiber, Waukegan Harbor Citizen's Advisory Group; Darrell May and Newton Finn, representing Brooklands Wood Land and Water Reserve; George and Nancy Maze, representing Maze Woods Land and Water Reserve; Joyce Webber, representing Webber Wildlife Refuge Land and Water Reserve; Bruce Boyd, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and INPC Consultant; Al Westerman, Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD); and Jerry Dempsey.
163-2) Adoption of Agenda
Carolyn Grosboll reported two changes to the 163rd Meeting Agenda. Item 17, Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve, will be deferred until August 3, 1999, in order to make a correction in the legal description. Item 21, Addition of Buffer to Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, will be deferred until August 3, 1999, at the request of the landowner.
Commissioner Schneiderman suggested that for the benefit of those people at the meeting who are in attendance because of a particular item on the Agenda, that those particular items should be advanced for their convenience.
Chair Ranney stated that Items 9,10, 11, and 20 will be presented after Item 7.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the Agenda be adopted as amended.
163-3) Approval of Minutes of Special Meeting, February 1, 1999, Approval of Minutes of 162nd Meeting, February 2, 1999, and Approval of Minutes of Special Meeting, February 17, 1999
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that the minutes of the Special Meeting on February 17, 1999, do not accurately reflect the tone of the discussion of the meeting, however, he will vote to approve the Minutes as written.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the Minutes of the Special Meeting, February 1, 1999, Minutes of the 162nd INPC Meeting February 2,1999, and Minutes of the Special Meeting, February 17, 1999, be approved.
163-4) Next Meeting Schedule
Carolyn Grosboll reported that the INPC's 164th Meeting will be held August 3, 1999, at the Vermilion County Conservation District, Westville, Illinois, at 9:00 a.m.
163-5) INPC Staff Report
Carolyn Grosboll reported that Commissioner Penny Beattie resigned from the Commission effective February 8, 1999. Dianne Burton's term expired in June, 1998, and the terms of Don Pierce, Lorin Nevling, and Joyce O'Keefe will expire in June, 1999. Dianne Burton, Lorin Nevling, and Joyce O'Keefe are eligible to serve another three-year term, and their reappointment has been recommended to the Governor's office by the Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Director of the Illinois State Museum as provided by State statute. Don Pierce has already served two terms, therefore he is not eligible for reappointment to another three-year term. A name has been recommended to replace him, and a name has also been recommended to serve the remainder of Penny Beattie's term which expires in June, 2001. Carolyn stated that she would keep the Commission advised as the appointment process continues.
Carolyn stated that Patti Malmborg is now the Natural Areas Project Manager for the Division of Natural Heritage. She resigned from the Commission effective April 16, 1999, to join the Division of Natural Heritage. Patti's duties will include, among other things, coordinating the development of nature preserve dedications and land and water reserve registrations on behalf of the Department. Carolyn stated that the Commission is sorry to see Patti leave the Commission, but a close working relationship will continue.
Carolyn updated the Commission regarding Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. With the help of the Attorney General's office, a confidentiality agreement beteween INPC, IDNR, and Material Service Corporation (MSC) was signed March 4, 1999. Shortly thereafter, copies of MSC's hydrological report were received. The report was submitted to the Illinois State Geological Survey and the Illinois State Water Survey for review. A preliminary review and evaluation of the report has been completed. A meeting was held the last week of April between the Surveys, MSC's consultants, representatives of MSC, IDNR, and INPC to discuss the Surveys' initial review. No conclusions have been derived at this time. In accordance with the confidentiality agreement, once the peer review and evaluation process is done, INPC and IDNR will then be free to discuss the contents of the report. Carolyn reported that currently no mining is occurring at Lake in the Hills Fen.
Commissioner O'Keefe asked when the review of the hydrological report will be completed.
Carolyn stated that it was hoped that the review will be finished within 90 days. Some questions arose at the meeting last week that caused the Surveys to go back and review portions of the report again.
Carolyn stated that she had several items to report regarding Lusk Creek Canyon located in the Shawnee National Forest as they relate to equestrian use that is occurring there. At the Commission's last meeting a resolution was passed requesting staff to send a letter to Robert Jacobs, the Regional Forester in Milwaukee, to ask the Forest Service to close Lusk Creek Canyon in light of the report from the National Park Service of damage that was occurring there. This letter was sent and generated much interest in the press, including an editorial by the Southern Illinoisan, which stated that the Commission was doing the right thing by asking that Lusk Creek Canyon be closed immediately.
On March 17, 1999, Carolyn received a response from the Regional Forester. The letter stated that the Shawnee National Forest was currently in the process of designating trails through two natural areas that had trail corridors designated through them at the time the Forest Management Plan was developed. Those areas are Jackson Hollow and Double Branch Hole. The letter stated that once the process is complete for those two areas, the Forest Service will begin to look at designating trails through natural areas at Lusk Creek Canyon and Garden of the Gods which also have trail corridors through them in accordance with the Plan. The letter also stated that "by completing efforts currently in progress on the two trail corridors, their work on closing all of the Natural Areas will be facilitated."
On March 30, 1999, Carolyn received a letter from Senator Durbin who was copied on the letter to Robert Jacobs. Senator Durbin was sympathetic to the need to preserve and protect our public lands. He stated that he would be in contact with the Regional Forester on this issue. He also stated that he would urge the Regional Forester to work with the Commission to see that these areas are protected.
Carolyn stated that another significant item to report was the release of an IDNR surveillance report by Jody Shimp of the Division of Natural Heritage. The report is significant because it provides photographs, as well as a detailed narrative, of the damage that is occurring at Lusk Creek Canyon. Each Commissioner was given a copy of the report for their review.
Carolyn reported that Michael Gallagher, the Regional Landmarks Program Manager for the National Park Service, and the person who put together the report on the damage at Lusk Creek Canyon on behalf of the Natural Park Service, has asked that his initial report be revised. This came about after he was contacted by equestrian interests regarding the contents of the report. The report was modified to state that there was "possible" degradation of water quality rather than a definitive statement that water quality degradation was occurring there. Also a sentence that reported the trampling or destruction of rare, threatened, and endangered species was removed. There is now a general reference to vegetation degradation. The amended report also states that the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the IDNR have not completed a plan to prevent further damage or restore the impacted area, however, they are working with the users toward that goal.
Carolyn reported that she has been contacted by Bob Becker who represents the Illinois Federation of Outdoor Resources (IFOR). He is trying to facilitate a meeting between the equestrian interests, the local congressman, local legislators, IDNR, and INPC to discuss whether a compromise can be reached. That meeting will be held on Thursday, May 6, 1999. Carolyn reported that she, Don McFall, and Judy Faulkner Dempsey will be attending this meeting. Kirby Cottrell and Carl Becker will be attending on behalf of the IDNR.
At the last meeting of the IDNR's Natural Resources Advisory Board, the issue of equestrian use on the Shawnee was discussed. The meeting was held in Southern Illinois, and several equestrian interests had an opportunity to provide public comment on this issue. It is significant to note that in Director Manning's opening remarks, he emphasized that the Department is and has been on record as supporting the current Shawnee Forest Management Plan. He stated that the Plan allows most of the Forest to be open to equestrians. This includes approximately 250,000 acres or 95% of the Forest. He went on to state that there are some sensitive areas that the Plan does not allow equestrian use of, and he specifically mentioned the natural areas that the Commission has been concerned about. Director Manning stated that it is important that these natural areas are protected, not just for our generation, but for future generations. Carolyn stated that she would continue to keep the Commission updated on this issue.
Carolyn stated that she recently learned that Senate Bill 1087, which is Governor Ryan's initiative creating the Open Land Trust Act, may be passed out of the Legislature sometime this week. The Commission is pleased to see this happen. This Bill provides 40 million dollars for four years for land acquisition. This money will not be for recreational land. It will be for open space and natural areas.
Commissioner Fraker stated that Carolyn Grosboll submitted a very nice guest commentary column for the Bloomington Pantagraph. This newspaper has a circulation of 52,000. He stated that the commentary was very well received. He also stated that Carolyn is speaking at the Bloomington Rotary Club on May 20, 1999. He congratulated Carolyn on the positive publicity for the Commission.
Don McFall updated the Commission on the activities of the field staff since the last Commission Meeting. He stated that the conditions this spring were very good for prescribed burning. The staff lead or assisted in over 60 prescribed burns throughout the State on prairie, wetland, and woodland preserves. Randy Heidorn will provide more details on prescribed burning in his report.
Don reported that there were three new Natural Heritage Landmarks (NHL) enrolled since the last Commission meeting. Mary Kay Solecki negotiated Ruesink's Woods NHL in Champaign County. This new landmark is a one-half acre wooded site along the Sangamon River. It contains a population of Sangamon phlox which is an endangered species. The owners are Bill and Lucinda Ruesink of Mahomet. Tom Lerczak negotiated Hog Chute Crossing NHL in Piatt County. This new landmark is a 7-acre tract containing a one-half mile reach of the Sangamon River. This is a very good quality stream containing populations of declining mussels. The owner is Jane Peterson of Monticello. Bob Edgin negotiated Wade Heiser Woods NHL in Effingham County. This is a 26-acre tract directly adjacent to Rock Cave Nature Preserve. It contains more of the sandstone bluffs and upland forest that are present in Rock Cave Nature Preserve.
Steven Byers secured a $17,000 grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Conservation Fund for restoration and management of fen nature preserves in northeastern Illinois.
Brian Reilly assisted in writing a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant for $900,000 to be used to acquire property within the Black Crown Marsh Natural Area in McHenry County. Illinois Audubon is also assisting in that effort.
Patti Malmborg successfully negotiated the acquisition of 25 acres adjacent to Exner Marsh Nature Preserve in McHenry County. This property will go to the McHenry County Conservation District. She was instrumental in negotiating this as part of mitigation for a new subdivision.
Angella Moorehouse and Debbie Newman have prepared management schedules for dedicated nature preserves.
Don reported that most of the INPC staff attended IDNR's Ecosystem Partnership Conference in Springfield on March 6, 1999. Attending this conference helps staff stay involved and be part of the Conservation 2000 (C2000) program. We recognize the landscape scale view that C2000 emphasizes and realize the program's benefit to the Commission.
Steven Byers, Patti Malmborg, and Brian Reilly represented the Commission at the "Wild in Chicago" event sponsored by Chicago Wilderness. This event was held at the Field Museum in March, 1999.
Judy Faulkner continued to work with the USFS on the issue of damage to natural areas in the Shawnee National Forest by equestrian use. She also negotiated an important agreement with a private owner of a cave in Jackson County that harbors the endangered Indiana bat. She has worked with that owner to allow IDNR to place a gate on the cave which will protect those animals. On a more personal note, Don announced that Judy was married April 4, 1999, to Jerry Dempsey, and on behalf of the Commission, he wished them both the best.
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on the prescribed burning done this past spring. The staff was involved in 65 burns this spring. John Alesandrini was involved in five burns, covering 15 acres. Steven Byers was involved in six burns, four of which he was the burn leader, totaling approximately 200 acres. Brian Reilly was involved in five burns, one of which he was the burn leader. Angella Moorehouse was involved in 20 burns in her area. Tom Lerczak was involved in seven burns, and he was the burn leader on one, totaling 1,400 acres. Randy stated that he worked with Tom during one of the burns. Debbie Newman was involved in three burns, totaling 60 acres. Bob Edgin was involved in 19 burns, five of which he was the burn leader, totaling 610 acres.
Barbara Ver Steeg has had a very active spring processing Special Use Permits. She has issued 288 permits to 92 persons at 149 nature preserves. Last year 246 permits were issued to 74 persons at 127 sites. There has been a continued growth in the permit applications to the Commission.
Randy reported that he had reviewed proposed dredging projects at the Cache River Land and Water Reserve with Mark Guetersloh, IDNR's District Heritage Biologist (DHB) and Jim Waycuilis, Site Superintendent at the Cache River State Natural Area. The project is located in the upper reaches of the lower Cache River. A sandbar in that reach blocks the capability of reconnecting the upper and the lower Cache River, which is the ultimate goal of many people in that region. The dredging will allow IDNR to remove a portion of that sandbar. Randy Heidorn, Mark Guetersloh, and Jim Waycuilis identified places to side-cast the dredge spoils away from the water elm which is an endangered species in that area.
Randy stated that while visiting the Cache River, he had the opportunity to view the gabion project at Heron Pond in a high water condition. Erosion is still occurring down stream of the gabion wall. The IDNR staff will be working on this to determine a solution to prevent the loss of the wall. It is not an emergency situation at this point, but the downstream portion needs to be protected. One approach to solve this problem is the establishment of grade control structures made up of a set of small weirs along that stretch of the Cache River. This approach would restore the riffle and pool conditions that were historically in that area and reduce the down cutting that is occurring. The gabion project was primarily designed to deal with the seepage from Heron Pond which was causing the bank to slump. It was felt that the in-stream erosion was not a major concern. Based on what is occurring now, there is still a problem with in-stream erosion. Randy stated that he would keep the Commission updated on any new developments.
Detailed plans are being developed for the Babe Woodyard State Natural Area, which includes the Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve. The registration proposal included plans for primitive campgrounds, handicapped accessible trails, and other hiking trails. Randy has been working closely with Bob Szafoni, the DHB, other IDNR staff, and the Capital Development Board to assure that these projects are built in the way most compatible with the Land and Water Reserve. Chair Ranney gave an update on the properties protected at INPC's 162nd Meeting. The Commission protected six tracts of land, totaling 670 acres. Five of those tracts were owned by private individuals or not-for-profit conservation groups, totaling 95 acres with an estimated value of 1.5 million dollars. That land was permanently preserved without acquisition of the land by the State. These areas included the 10-acre Marjorie J. Brines White Oak Woods Land and Water Reserve in Wabash County, the 5.1-acre Addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, the 68-acre Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, the 11-acre Lower Fox River-Wedron Palisades Nature Preserve in LaSalle County, and the 1.26-acre Addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve in Marshall County. These areas were protected because there are nine Commission staff in the field working with private landowners.
Chair Ranney requested staff to report at future meetings how much acreage the Commission has protected, not only under private ownership, but also under government ownership. She also requested a report on how much acreage is protected of the total Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) acreage identified in the 1970's.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if the acreage numbers include the land and water reserve registrations.
Carolyn Grosboll responded that the numbers do reflect the land and water reserve registrations.
163-6) IDNR Staff Report
Carolyn Grosboll introduced Randy Nyboer, Region I Administrator for the Division of Natural Heritage.
Randy Nyboer stated that, as previously mentioned by Carolyn Grosboll, Patti Malmborg began working for the Division of Natural Heritage as of April 16, 1999. She is an Advanced Specialist for the Natural Areas Program in Springfield. Patti will be working with the INAI sites. She will also be working on preserve designs for newly acquired and existing IDNR natural areas.
The Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) acquired two tracts of black oak sand savanna, totaling 66 acres, at the Iroquois County Conservation Area. The NAAF was used to acquire an 11-acre tract with an option on an additional 55-acre tract.
Randy reported that there were three Open Space Initiatives on the ballot for the April 13, 1999, election in northeastern Illinois. All three passed with rather resounding results in Lake, Will, and Kane counties. The voters in Lake County approved 55 million dollars for the purchase of open space. That money will also be used for natural areas acquisition, management, restoration, and educational programs. In Kane County, the voters approved a 70 million dollar referendum for the purchase of open space land. In Will County, the voters also approved a 70 million dollar referendum for open space. These results are impressive in that a total of 195 million dollars was approved by the voters in northeastern Illinois for open space acquisition. These voters value their open space, and hopefully the money will go a long way to preserve some of the natural areas in that area.
Marilyn Campbell asked if Randy Nyboer was aware that there is a pending Senate Bill which would prevent Will County from purchasing any more land for their Forest Preserve District. She stated that she received an e-mail message on the Bill yesterday, and that she contacted her State Senator to vote no on the Bill. The Bill will impact approximately five or six counties, including Will County.
Randy Nyboer stated he was not aware of this Bill.
Ken Fiske reported that in McHenry County there were two park districts which passed multi-million dollar land acquisition funding referenda.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that the Senate Bill mentioned by Marilyn Campbell is a complicated bill. She stated that the Bill essentially is not to prevent the Will County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD) from buying land, but to prevent them from using eminent domain to acquire property. It also ties their hands in other ways and requires them to consult with municipalities. Commissioner O'Keefe stated that the Bill is not as draconian as first thought, and that the Bill has been amended several times. The Legislator who recently amended the Bill to add the provisions mentioned by Marilyn maintains that there is already enough open space in Will County. Commissioner O'Keefe stated that this belief is peculiar since the voters recently approved the referendum for 70 million dollars to purchase more open space. Further, it seems to be a case of a Legislator not listening to the broader constituency, although it is true that this Legislator's district did not support the 70 million dollar referendum.
Commissioner Ellis asked the name of the Legislator.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that it was Representative Mary Kay O'Brien.
Randy Nyboer stated that normally Carl Becker would have provided an update on the Teaming with Wildlife Initiative, however, Randy was not going to do that today. Carl will give this update at the next Commission meeting.
163-7) IDNR, Office of Resource Conservation Special Fund Unit Report
Tim Hickmann stated that Brian Reilly worked on a proposal for a NAWCA grant to acquire land in the Black Crown Marsh Natural Area. The partners in the project are the IDNR, Illinois Audubon Society, the Village of Lakemoor, McHenry County Conservation District, The Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited, and INPC. The ORC Federal Aid/Special Funds Unit was responsible for securing the match from IDNR. ORC was able to identify 1.1 million dollars toward the match. This program is unique in that it allows for matching dollars to be retroactive back two years. If there has been a significant acquisition, the funds can be complemented through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Proposal. This proposal is a two to one match which gives additional points toward the actual scoring for that grant.
There is a second NAWCA grant proposal for the Cache River area in Johnson County that was submitted by TNC. The Department is also a partner in that proposal. It bridges two natural areas that are already in either State or Federal ownership. IDNR has pledged $325,000. ORC was able to go to the C2000 program and identify some moneys that are used in that area by the conservation partnerships through the C2000 program. The grant request is for $740,000. ORC has identified almost 5 million dollars in matching funds. The partners in this proposal are TNC, IDNR, Citizens to Save the Cache, American Forest, private corporations, private individuals, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers is on line for an approximate 3 million dollar enhancement program if this land comes into the proper ownership.
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan recently went through an update of its vision, and each joint venture was asked to put together a new implementation plan. An updated implementation plan was just adopted by our joint venture which includes the upper Mississippi River areas and the Great Lakes Region. There are ten states and several bird conservation organizations involved. The updated plan was just published, and Tim offered to obtain copies for anyone interested. There are three basic objectives. One is a production objective for waterfowl. The other is a mid-migrational habitat objective to preserve and enhance wetland areas. The third new objective is the non-game objective. There is a great emphasis on integration and partnerships in all of the various programs that are implemented by the national entities and the State. The Plan will be discussed next week at a board meeting of the joint venture at Pere Marquette Lodge. Tim reported that this meeting is open to the public.
At the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in Georgia last fall, a group of conservation organization representatives met and decided to put together a more comprehensive look at how these programs were implemented on an international basis. Several of the representatives met in Puebla, Mexico in November and again in December in Memphis, Tennessee. They developed a proposed framework for ecologically-based planning for cooperative bird conservation in the United States. A publication was just released, and Tim distributed copies of the executive summary from the publication. The vision of the coalition is a "regionally based, biologically driven, landscape-oriented partnerships delivering the full spectrum of bird conservation across the entirety of the North American continent", a vision of "simultaneous, on-the-ground delivery of conservation for both game and nongame birds." The joint venture has been asked to serve in the role of being the host organization or coalition to try to put this plan together. Tim stated this role was very exciting. The framework should provide a partnership-based coalition for consolidating some of the efforts that are ongoing.
At the Special Meeting of the INPC on February 17, 1999, procedures were discussed for Commission and IDNR approval of the NAAF land acquisition proposals. As the advisory body for the NAAF, the Commission will review the list and make recommendations to the IDNR Director regarding approval of the list. The Department's and ORC's overall goal of establishing the Federal Aid/Special Funds Unit was to have the ability to look at projects in a more consolidated fashion, to look for opportunities to leverage existing State dollars, to acquire new Federal funds such as the North American Wetlands grants, and to look at existing State programs for opportunities to team up and provide joint projects where project objectives will allow. ORC developed an office policy that requires the field staff and program managers to have Regional sign-off for all projects applying for special State funds. Procedures and guidelines for Federal programs have been in place for some time. There are many State funding sources, some of which are smaller than others. One source is the NAAF. Each fund will be administered by the different divisions or disciplines within ORC that deal with issues related to a particular fund, but it is important to make sure that there is a central point of reference within the Department, for those grant proceeds that will be coming to the Department, whether it be land, equipment, or other commodities. The office felt it was important to have an approval process in place so that future maintenance, future administrative costs, and other associated costs would have Department support. This process has been established for ORC, and Kirby Cottrell has asked Tim to develop a similar procedure for other disciplines and divisions that may not have previously had that coordinating effort. In doing so, we pulled in the NAAF, the Wildlife Preservation Fund, and a few other funds and created the Special Funds Unit. ORC sat down with the Commission staff and developed a process for approving proposed acquisitions using money from the NAAF. This process involves several steps including a step for the Commission's approval and recommendation to IDNR's Director. The process begins by targets of opportunities being identified by staff throughout the year, which is no different than what is occurring now. We would then ask the staff to secure Regional sign-off. The annual plan of work meeting where IDNR's regional biologists and land managers, planners, and engineers meet to develop a target list of activities for the year could be a place where sign-off is done. Once Regional sign-off is completed, the Director of the Commission and the Division Chief of Natural Heritage will look at the list, prioritize it, then bring the list to ORC to see if there are opportunities to match those preferred areas with other projects that might be ongoing or developing with the use of other special funds. ORC will compare the lists and see if there are opportunities to either leverage the projects against federal dollars or to team up with other State projects with common interests. The list would then be provided to ORC's Office Director for concurrence by July 15. Those projects that are concurred with would then come to the Commission at its August meeting. The list at this stage would include projects where there is an opportunity to secure additional funds or make joint projects from other State programs. The Commission would take action on that list at their August meeting and provide their recommendations to the Director for his approval. Upon the Director's approval, the Division of Realty would begin work on securing the properties. The time frames identified in this approval process coincide with some of the other special fund procedures that are in place, as well as the overall ORC process to ensure that the ORC Special Funds Unit has time to look at the list to see if there are opportunities to put projects together.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked Tim if this procedure was essentially the same procedure that was discussed at the Special Meeting held on February 17, 1999, or were there any material changes.
Tim stated that after talking with Carolyn Grosboll, some of the target dates have been changed, otherwise, the proposal is essentially the same.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that language may be missing from this procedure, but may not need to be decided on today, stating that the INPC recognizes that after the Commission makes its recommendations, circumstances may change and that priorities may have to be shuffled. At the Special Meeting on February 17, 1999, it was agreed that a provision was needed in the Commission's recommendation to allow for some kind of delegation to someone to deal with those kinds of situations. He did not know if that provision belongs in the procedure itself or somewhere else.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that at the bottom of the list that would be submitted to the Commission, there could be some general statement that if opportunities arise within certain parameters, that the Director of the Commission would have the authority to alter the prioritization of the list.
Tim Hickmann stated that Carolyn's suggestion is reflected in the Minutes of the Special Meeting on February 17, 1999.
Commissioner Schneiderman concurred, however, he wanted to be sure it was reflected in the procedures as well.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that it would not be that difficult to include this provision in Step VI.
Tim Hickmann stated that there is a template sign-off sheet for the other special funds that IDNR's Director signs, and it may be prudent to adopt some language that would be added to the bottom of the template for the NAAF so that when the site list is completed it would say that the Commission also authorizes the INPC Director to make minor modifications as opportunities present themselves.
Commissioner Schneiderman suggested that the Commission review the proposed language when the first list is brought to the Commission in August.
Commissioner Fraker asked to have language added to the procedure to reflect the ability to reprioritize the list as the need arises.
Tim Hickmann stated that it would be very easy to add language to the procedure, and it would not be a problem to have the language on the list of properties.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated a sentence should be added to Step VI which provides for a delegation to the INPC Director to approve, within limits, changes to the list priorities.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the Commission could limit any deviations to only those properties that are identified on the INAI.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he would rather see the Commission adopt the procedures with this concept generally, then add any specifics as an amendment to the procedures in August after Carolyn has had a chance to think about what the language really should say.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the NAAF Procedures as presented under Item 7 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting be adopted.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that she would like to remind the Commissioners and those present that the Commission will be considering the list of land acquisitions at the 164th INPC Meeting on August 3, 1999. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m., rather than 10:00 a.m.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked Tim to relay to the Director of IDNR that the Commission is very appreciative of the fact that it was included in this land acquisition process, and the Commission looks forward to working with him.
Commissioner Fraker proposed the following Resolution as it relates to the use of the NAAF for adoption by the Commission:
WHEREAS, the INPC has been selected as the Advisory Committee to the NAAF; and
WHEREAS, the original purpose and function of the NAAF was the acquisition of natural areas, but due to the State of Illinois' budget crisis in the early 1990's, significant portions of said fund were allocated to operating expenses, which had previously been funded by general revenue funds; and it appears that the trend to rely on the NAAF for operating purposes may continue and the portion allocated for operating purposes may continue to increase; and
WHEREAS, issues therefore have arisen regarding the allocation of that fund as between
acquisition and operating expenses; and
WHEREAS, the State should use funds available for acquisition of natural areas for direct costs of acquisition to the greatest extent possible.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
That the portion of the NAAF allocated for purposes for acquisition should be restored, increasing on an annual basis in reasonable increments with the ultimate goal of seventy-five percent (75%) of said funds being allocated and used for the acquisition of natural lands, and that staffing levels not be reduced below current levels.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the resolution be adopted.
Chair Ranney introduced Al Westerman, a Board Member of the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD). She stated that Mr. Westerman prepared a map of Lake County which shows the presettlement vegetation of the area. She also stated that he has been working on the preservation of natural lands for many years, and she asked him to come to this meeting because she felt the INPC should acknowledge the importance of those nature preserves which are in Lake County and express our hope to dedicate more.
Mr. Westerman thanked the Commission for the recognition. He stated that for many years he was an employee of the LCFPD. He was the first forester for the District. He began his career with the LCFPD in 1972, and then went back to school to get a Master's Degree. He returned to work for the District in 1994. There was a change on the Board at that time, and it was decided that the Conservation Department should be abolished. Mr. Westerman stated that he was eventually able to run against the person who initiated the abolishment of the Conservation Department, and he won.
Since November, 1998, things have improved at the LCFPD. The District has taken a leadership position. Mr. Westerman stated he is the current Chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee. He was the staff liaison for that Committee for many years, and so he is very familiar with Lake County and the land acquisition procedures. The recent bond referendum is now enabling the LCFPD to reestablish the Conservation Department. A large portion of the 20 million dollars for development will go into land restoration. The LCFPD is currently moving forward on land dedications for nature preserves, and several sites are being considered. Mr. Westerman reported that there is approximately 35 million dollars available for land acquisition.
Chair Ranney thanked Mr. Westerman for his comments, and told him that the INPC looks forward to working with the LCFPD to facilitate the dedication of more nature preserves in Lake County.
163-8) Christian Co. - Anderson Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 20 )
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for registration of Anderson Prairie as a land and water reserve. The proposed Anderson Prairie Land and Water Reserve, owned by Pana Community Unit School District #8, is an approximately 13-acre tract within the City of Pana. The proposed reserve, located along the former Illinois Central Gulf Railroad right-of-way, contains several patches of low to high-quality tallgrass prairie remnants that parallel the raised rail line (now a recreation trail) for nearly one mile, as well as early successional woodlands and savanna-like communities. A population of the state-threatened ear-leafed foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata) and populations of several conservative prairie plant species are present at the site. Despite a complicated disturbance history that includes several road and ditch crossings, prairie remnants, although not recognized by the INAI, have survived. The prairie continued to improve over the last decade from restoration management directed by site manager Dave Nance (biology teacher at Pana High School). At INPC's 154th Meeting on February 4, 1997 (Item 16), Commissioner Ranney and John White indicated in a "Railroad Prairie Proposal" the need for qualifying railroad prairies to be registered as Illinois Land and Water Reserves. If registered, Anderson Prairie would be the first INPC-protected area in Christian County.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Schneiderman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Anderson Prairie in Christian County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-9) Lake Co. - Brooklands Wood Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 7)
Steven Byers presented a proposal for the registration of Brooklands Wood as a land and water reserve. The proposed Brooklands Wood Land and Water Reserve is owned by Mr. Darrell May who wishes to formally protect, in perpetuity, this 11.13-acre tract which is located immediately adjacent to the IDNR's Redwing Slough/Deer Lake Land and Water Reserve. The proposed Brooklands Wood Land and Water Reserve is a mosaic of upland and wetland habitats located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. The uplands within the proposed land and water reserve are a mosaic of annually mown grasslands, early to mid-successional old field habitats, and a small component of mature woodlands. The wetland communities includes an intermittent stream, a marsh dominated by emergent vegetation, and an open water pond. Management considerations will focus on maintaining the current open space character of the land. A portion of the proposed land and water reserve was included on an IDNR "Area of Interest" map prepared for the preserve design of the Redwing Slough/Deer Lake State Natural Area. Redwing Slough/Deer Lake was included on the INAI (#1050) as a Category II endangered species site. Redwing Slough provides habitat for six endangered or threatened species of wetland dependent birds. Mr. Darrell May and the INPC staff recommend registration of Brooklands Wood as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve.
Steven stated that there is an easement on the proposed Brooklands Wood Land and Water Reserve which provides for passage of petroleum products in a fairly large diameter pipeline. The land and water reserve agreement allows for maintenance of that right- of-way for egress and ingress onto the site to address any spillage.
This proposed land and water reserve allows Mr. May to continue to use the land in the fashion that he has in the past.
Steven introduced Mr. May and asked if he would like to say a few words to the Commissioners.
Mr. May stated that he and his attorney, Mr. Finn, had been searching for a long time to find a way to protect this piece of land. Mr. May stated that he purchased the land in 1967. At that time it was almost entirely cultivated agricultural land. It was flat, except for a small portion of about one acre of woodland. Over the years, he let the land heal. There was a time, when he first bought the land, that he could stand on the highest part of the land and look south and see the traffic on Route 173. He could look east and see the traffic on Route 45. He can no longer do that. He considers it a privilege to be able to offer this land to be protected as a land and water reserve. He stated that he appreciated the opportunity very much. Mr. May stated that this is a tool that the individual landowner can use and feel comfortable with. He was amazed at how kind government can be. He stated that it is not often that a citizen can say that. Since he has worked with Steven Byers and the people with IDNR, it has been amazing. He stated that both he and Joyce Webber have had some very bad experiences with the LCFPD. They fought tooth and nail to keep their land from being condemned. He felt that it was odd that their goals were the same as that of the LCFPD, and yet they had to fight them to keep their land from being taken from them. Now, he considers it a privilege to work with the IDNR, who are good neighbors, and to have an opportunity to protect this land in perpetuity. He stated that hopefully this land will be protected for the future that is to come. Mr. May closed with a poem, "The Secret Thing."
Steven thanked Mr. May for his comments, and he wanted to add that Mr. May has included in the Registration Agreement the right of first refusal for the IDNR. He also provided access for IDNR personnel for purposes of surveillance and management of nearby Redwing Slough.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked Mr. May why it was important to him that this land not be acquired by the LCFPD.
Mr. May responded that it was important to him because he would no longer have access to the land, and it would no longer be his. He would be evicted from the land, and it would be out of his life.
Commissioner Fraker stated that the ability for landowners to protect their land while maintaining ownership is a reflection of the significant work of the INPC.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Brooklands Wood in Lake County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-10) Lake Co. - Webber Wildlife Refuge Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Steven Byers presented a proposal for the registration of Webber Wildlife Refuge as a land and water reserve. The proposed Webber Wildlife Refuge Land and Water Reserve is owned by Mrs. Joyce Webber who is committed to protecting, in perpetuity, this 18.36-acre tract of land which is located immediately adjacent to Redwing Slough/Deer Lake Land and Water Reserve. The proposed Webber Wildlife Refuge Land and Water Reserve is a mosaic of upland and wetland habitats located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division of Illinois. The uplands within the proposed land and water reserve include early to mid-successional old field habitats, and a small component of mature woodlands. The wetland communities include a very small sedge meadow, a marsh dominated by emergent vegetation, and an open water pond. Management considerations will focus on maintaining the current open space character of the land. The proposed land and water reserve lies immediately adjacent to properties identified by the IDNR "Area of Interest" map prepared for the preserve design of the Redwing Slough/Deer Lake State Natural Area. Redwing Slough/Deer Lake was included on the INAI (#1050) as a Category II endangered species site. Redwing Slough provides habitat for six endangered or threatened species of wetland dependent birds. Mrs. Joyce Webber and the INPC staff are pleased to recommend registration of the Webber Wildlife Refuge as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve.
Steven stated that Mrs. Webber has included some provisions in the proposed land and water reserve which entitles her to use the land as she has in the past, and to preserve the open space character of the land and make it valuable for those resources that occur on the land and also on nearby Redwing Slough. She reserves the right to visit this property. She has also included in the Registration Agreement provisions giving the IDNR the right of first refusal. We trust that if Mrs. Webber would choose to exercise that option, that the Department would work with her to acquire the land. Steven also wanted to point out that Mrs. Webber reserves the right to visit the land if she should sell it to the IDNR. In the event that she would want to sell the land and the Department was not interested in exercising their option, she would also like to reserve the right to visit that property. Steven stated that he explained to Mrs. Webber that the best option for reserving that right is to provide that as a condition for sale of the property to a third party. The language of the Registration Agreement specifically allows for Mrs. Webber to visit the property.
Steven recognized Mrs. Webber, and she was given an opportunity to address the Commission.
Mrs. Webber stated that with the encroachment of development and rapid growth of Antioch Township, she is very concerned about her piece of land. It would be ideal for development purposes, and she did not want that to happen. Refuge means it is a saving place for flora and fauna.
Chair Ranney complimented Steven on his wonderful photographs.
Steven stated that the wildlife species photos were taken by Amy Horstman, Brad Semel, and others.
Chair Ranney stated that a copy of the slides used by the staff in presentations should be kept within our records so that they may be put on the web site, be available for future use for the press, or for any other opportunity that may arise.
Steven stated that it has been a real pleasure to work with both Mr. May, Mr. Finn, and Mrs. Webber.
Chair Ranney stated that we are increasingly seeing the power and flexibility of the land and water reserve designation. She did not think the program would work if we did not have such a good staff. She felt the program needs employees who understand what members of the public are telling them.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that with respect to both Agenda Items 9 and 10, he wanted the Minutes to reflect that the Commission has, before it voted, a signed copy of the Registration Agreements.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that signed copies of the land and water registration agreements are in order, and the Commission will sign the documents at the completion of the meeting.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Webber Wildlife Refuge in Lake County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-11) LaSalle Co. - Maze Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Brian Reilly presented a proposal for the registration of Maze Woods as a land and water reserve. The proposed Maze Woods Land and Water Reserve is owned by George and Nancy Maze and their children, William, Gregory and Henry. Maze Woods is located in Dimmick Township in western LaSalle County. The Natural Divisions of Illinois identifies this area as part of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This site is 240 acres in size and includes approximately 150 acres of both upland and floodplain forest. The site also has sandstone rock outcrops, seeps, ravines, remnant hill prairies, agricultural fields and the Little Vermilion River. It qualifies as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve because it is a forest of at least 100 acres and supports breeding populations of area sensitive forest wildlife.
Brian stated that Mr. Maze would like to maintain existing trails for walking around the woods. Mr. Maze also retains the right to maintain an existing cable swing and creek crossing for their own use and enjoyment.
Brian introduced George and Nancy Maze and gave them an opportunity to speak to the Commission.
Mr. Maze stated that there are competing values in property. Some people want remote home sites, empty wetlands, or public access recreational land. These are all laudable purposes. Starved Rock State Park is within five miles of the proposed registered reserve. Adjacent farmland brings income which pays the taxes on the property and will allow the Mazes to hire, as they get older, help to remove and control the honeysuckle and multiflora rose that invade the area. Mr. Maze stated that he and his family appreciate the opportunity through the land and water reserve program to have support in keeping their place wild and empty. He stated that they did not retain any right to build buildings, except a machine shed where the mower is kept. They intend for the property to be wild, and they hope that their children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy it.
Brian stated that Mr. and Mrs. Maze were fantastic to work with.
Carolyn Grosboll stated for the record that the Commission has a signed Registration document for Maze Woods Land and Water Reserve.
It was moved by Ellis, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Maze Woods in LaSalle County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-12) Marshall Co. - Marshall County Hill Prairies Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 8)
Michelle Simone presented a proposal for the registration of Marshall County Hill Prairies as a land and water reserve. This 42.5-acre site is located in the Marshall County State Fish and Wildlife Area approximately one mile south of Sparland, just west of the Illinois River. These glacial drift hill prairies were recognized in 1978 as Category I communities of statewide significance by the INAI (#189). The site is owned and managed by the IDNR. In addition to the high quality hill prairies, Schreber's aster (Aster schreberi), a state-threatened species, is present in the forested ravines of this site. The site is used for hiking, bird watching, nature observation, scientific research, photography, and hunting.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Marshall County Hill Prairies in Marshall County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-13) Coles Co. - Warbler Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Warbler Woods as a nature preserve. Warbler Woods is a 202-acre Land and Water Reserve that protects a large expanse of dry-mesic and mesic upland forest, as well as upland fields that are being restored to native woodland. The area lies 3 miles southeast of Charleston. Mr. Lawrence Hunt has owned and protected this forest since 1981. He registered the area as a land and water reserve in 1997. He wishes to enhance the protection of this area by dedicating it as a nature preserve. The forest harbors a population of the state-threatened false hellebore (Veratrum woodii) and provides breeding habitat for numerous forest interior birds. About 35 acres of forest rank as Grade B using criteria established by the INAI. On behalf of Mr. Lawrence Hunt, the INPC staff recommend that this 202-acre tract be granted preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve.
Mary Kay noted that this would be the first instance where the Commission would consider a registered Land and Water Reserve for nature preserve dedication.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Warbler Woods in Coles County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-14) Cook Co. - Addition of Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 11)
On behalf of TNC, Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of a 2-acre addition of buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve. Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve contains mesic and wet prairie, sedge meadow, old field and savanna natural communities and more than 200 plant species, including the state-listed eared false foxglove (Tomanthera auriculata). The proposed addition had been farmed in the past and partially developed. It is being restored to prairie. Paintbrush Prairie is one of four prairies located in the City of Markham, Illinois that are collectively referred to as the Indian Boundary Prairies. The other prairies are Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve, Sundrop Prairie, and Dropseed Prairie. Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve (60 acres) was conferred preliminary approval by the INPC at its 145th Meeting in October, 1994 (Resolution #1248). At the Commission's 148th Meeting in August, 1995 (Resolution #1281), the Commission conferred preliminary approval for the 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). Both the 60 acres along with the 8-acre addition were granted final approval for dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve at the Commission's 162nd Meeting on February 2, 1999 (Resolution #1465). The Nature Conservancy and INPC staff recommend that this 2-acre tract be granted preliminary approval for dedication as nature preserve buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve.
Bruce Boyd of TNC stated that TNC was pleased to dedicate another portion of the Indian Boundary Prairie.
Chair Ranney asked Steven to explain why the land is called the Indian Boundary Prairies.
Steven stated that the current route of Interstate 57 actually takes the line of the old Indian Boundary that was established in 1837 in Tippecanoe, Ohio. The Indians were forced to move to the other side of the Indian boundary line which parallels the route of the Interstate. The boundaries went from the southwest to the northeast.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-15) Lake Co. - Addition to Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 13)
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve. Lloyd's Woods is an integral part of a protected corridor of woodlands that extend along the Des Plaines River that was identified on the INAI (#663) for extant high-quality mesic upland forest. Mrs. Glen (Marion) Lloyd currently owns Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve and proposes to dedicate 1.8 acres as an addition. Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve was granted preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 77th Meeting in January, 1980 (Resolution #534). Reiteration of final approval was granted by the Commission at its 91st Meeting in October, 1982 (Resolution #688). Approximately 96 acres of high-quality mesic upland and floodplain forest were preserved by Mrs. Glen Lloyd when the Commission granted final approval for the dedication of Lloyd's Woods as an Illinois Nature Preserve (INPC 1980). Subsequently, the Commission granted preliminary approval for the dedication of two additions (Anderson 1991), totaling 8.6 acres, at its 132nd Meeting in August, 1991 (Resolution #1091). Final approval for those additions was granted at the Commission's 133rd Meeting in October, 1991 (Resolution #1101). The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication of two additional tracts of land (totaling 47 acres) at its 154th Meeting in February, 1997 (Resolution #1340). Final approval of those two additions was granted at the Commission's 159th Meeting in August, 1997 (Resolution #1374). On behalf of Mrs. Glen Lloyd, the INPC staff recommend preliminary approval for the dedication of 1.8 acres as an addition to Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve increasing the amount of land preserved from 151.6 acres to 153.4 acres.
Steven stated that there is a storm water easement on this particular tract of land that extends to the river. It would have previously existed on land that is already dedicated as a nature preserve. The route of the storm sewer easement must extend west in some fashion along the corridor that we are asking the Commission to consider for dedication as a nature preserve.
It was moved by O'Keefe, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Lloyd's Woods Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-16) LaSalle Co. - Lower Fox River - Blake's Landing Nature Preserve, Dedication
Brian Reilly presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Lower Fox River - Blake's Landing as a nature preserve. The proposed Lower Fox River - Blake's Landing Nature Preserve is a 17-acre parcel on the north shore of the Fox River. Owned by IDNR, this site is a quarter-mile long cliff, forming a scenic bend in the river. It is located less than a quarter of a mile north of the Lower Fox River - Wedron Palisades Nature Preserve. The lower Fox River was identified on the INAI (#1444) as an "outstanding example of the rivers and creeks of the Illinois River watershed". The river also provides habitat for the state-endangered greater redhorse, (Moxostoma valenciennesi), and the state-threatened river redhorse, (Moxostoma carinatum). Although Blake's Landing was not identified on the INAI, it qualifies as an Illinois Nature Preserve because of its high natural quality, geologic features, and shoreline to the Fox River.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Lower Fox River - Blake's Landing in LaSalle County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-17) Cook Co. - Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
The dedication proposal for Dropseed Prairie Nature Preserve was deferred to the August 3, 1999, meeting.
163-18) Henry Co. - Mineral Marsh Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 14)
Anne Mankowski presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Mineral Marsh as a nature preserve. The proposed Mineral Marsh Nature Preserve is a 230-acre natural area in Henry County, within the Green River Lowlands. This site is owned and managed by the IDNR and contains sand prairie and semi-permanent ponds that are surrounded by marsh and wet sand prairie. The site was recognized by the INAI (#1103) as a Category II site because of the presence of endangered species, including one of the largest populations of the Illinois mud turtle (Kinosternon flavescens) in the Midwest. The site contains dry and dry-mesic sand prairie, dry sand savanna, and wet sand prairie and marsh communities. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 161st Meeting on October 27, 1998 (Resolution #1446).
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if there had been any changes in the land description since the preliminary approval.
Anne stated that there were no changes.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Mineral Marsh Nature Preserve in Henry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-19) Madison Co. - Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary Addition of Buffer to John M. Olin Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 16)
On behalf of Great Rivers Land Trust (GRLT), Debbie Newman presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary Addition of Buffer to John M. Olin Nature Preserve. GRLT proposes to dedicate 42.38 acres of the Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary as nature preserve buffer to the John M. Olin Nature Preserve. The site is a key parcel in the watershed of one of Olin's primary streams. The site was donated to GRLT by Tom Hutchinson in honor of his parents, Kemp and Cora. GRLT is placing a conservation easement on the property, and will eventually gift the land to The Nature Institute, who are the owners of Olin Nature Preserve. A complex of adjoining lands in the area, including Olin Nature Preserve, Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve, and Oblate Fathers' Woods Nature Preserve comprise a total 350.7 acres. This addition will increase the amount of contiguous preserved land to 393 acres. The preservation of the parcel will prevent further residential development encroachment on the established bald eagle winter roost (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on Olin Nature Preserve. It will also preserve habitat for the state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), which is found in the vicinity of the property. The INPC conferred preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 161st Meeting on October 27, 1998 (Resolution # 1447).
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary Addition of Buffer to John M. Olin Nature Preserve in Madison County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-20) Pike Co. - Twin Culvert Cave Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 18)
On behalf of TNC, Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Twin Culvert Cave as a nature preserve. Twin Culvert Cave consists of a 5-acre tract owned by TNC which includes the entrance and a portion of the passageway of a Grade A limestone solution cavern. The cave was recognized by the INAI (#784) for its outstanding aquatic and terrestrial cave community. Twin Culvert Cave is unique in its developmental process and contains exceptional cave features. The cave serves as a migratory resting place for the federally-endangered gray bat (Myotis grisescens). A subterranean lagoon and other spring fed water sources within the cave provide habitat for rare and outstanding cave invertebrates such as a cave dwelling amphipod (Bactrurus brachycaudus), a rare Illinois endemic millipede (Erodesmus remingtoni), cave millipede (Tingupa pallida), and an undescribed dipluran insect (Eumesocampa sp.). At the Commission's 37th Meeting (Resolution #184), "approval for dedication in principal" was granted for Twin Culvert Cave. Preliminary approval for dedication of the site was granted at the Commission's 53rd Meeting (Resolution #357) and also at the Commission's 161st Meeting (Resolution #1449). Dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve will help preserve the cavern for use by rare and endangered fauna and will result in the establishment of the first nature preserve within the Driftless Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division of Illinois.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Twin Culvert Cave Nature Preserve in Pike County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-21) Will Co. - Addition of Buffer to Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
The dedication proposal for an Addition of Buffer to Messenger Woods Nature Preserve was deferred to the August 3, 1999, meeting.
163-22) Will Co. - Vermont Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication
On behalf of the Will County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD), Brian Reilly presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Vermont Cemetery Prairie as a nature preserve. Vermont Cemetery Prairie is a one-acre prairie located in northwest Will County. The INAI (#1080) identified the site as one acre of Grade A dry-mesic prairie. This represents more than 10% of all of Illinois' Grade A dry-mesic prairie. Among the native plant species growing in Vermont Cemetery are a restored population of the federally-threatened and state-endangered Mead's milkweed (Asclepias meadii) and the state-threatened Hill's thistle (Cirsium hillii). In 1983, the prairie received preliminary approval to be dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve (Resolution #772). Final approval was never requested because legal title was not clean. The WCFPD accepted clean title to the property in 1998. INPC conferred reiteration of preliminary approval at its 162nd Meeting on February 2, 1999 (Resolution #1463).
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if anyone has been buried in this cemetery recently.
Brian stated that no one has been buried on the property during the past 100 years, and that it was an abandoned cemetery. There is not a grave on the property from the 1900's. The reason for the delay in the dedication was that no one could document the ownership of the property for several years. The Natural Land Institute owned it for a few years. There was also a question about the legal description. To solve all the legal ownership questions, the WCFPD used a friendly condemnation to acquire the property, bring the title up-to-date, and now they own and manage the property.
Commissioner O'Keefe stated that the WCFPD has been extremely supportive of the INPC, and a number of their sites have come through for protection. INPC has had a very good working relationship with them. It may serve as a testimonial for those forest preserve districts who are wary of moving forward with protecting their land in INPC programs to talk with the WCFPD. She has been impressed by the number of dedications under Will County's ownership in the short time she has been on the Commission.
Brian stated that the WCFPD has been wonderful to work with, and that they target high-quality natural areas to preserve and protect. They then plan recreational opportunities around those natural areas while preserving the core natural area. Brian stated that he would convey Commissioner O'Keefe's praise to the WCFPD.
Chair Ranney asked Brian to convey the Commission's thanks to Dr. Betz for his efforts on this project.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Ellis, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Vermont Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
163-23) Carroll Co. - Brookville Lutheran Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve - Request to Permit Burials in Nature Preserve
Carolyn Grosboll updated the Commission regarding the Brookville Lutheran Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve and the lawsuit filed against the INPC. The Cemetery Association sued the Commission to have the right to bury people within the nature preserve.
In the spring 1999 legislative session, House Bill 1825 was introduced which would allow cemetery associations to demand that dedicated cemeteries under their control be used for burial purposes. The Bill, as introduced, applied to cemetery nature preserves dedicated prior to 1990, which includes approximately 16 dedicated cemetery prairies. The Bill was introduced by Representative Lawfer. His district includes Brookville. The Bill passed the House, and it is currently pending in the Senate. It is sponsored in the Senate by Senator Sieben whose District also includes Brookville.
In addition, the Circuit Court of Carroll County dismissed the lawsuit brought against the Commission in mid March for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Court found that since the suit was against the State, the case should have been brought in the Court of Claims rather than the Circuit Court.
With these two developments and the unique circumstances surrounding this case, Carolyn contacted the Cemetery Association's lawyer to arrange a meeting with the board members of the Cemetery Association to discuss a potential settlement. Carolyn stated that she and Don McFall attended the meeting. They met with seven members of the Board, as well as their attorney. The result was the Agreement that is provided in the Agenda packet.
In summary, the Agreement provides that one-half, or .375 acres, of the Brookville Lutheran Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve will continue to be maintained as a natural prairie area and for burials to occur in the other half, or .375 acres. After 15 years, and increments of 15 years thereafter, the Cemetery Association will determine whether or not they need more space. If the Cemetery Association advises the Commission that they need more space within the next 15 year period, and there is no opportunity to expand into an adjacent farm field for their burial purposes, then the remaining half of the natural prairie will be converted at that point for burial purposes. At any time from here forward, the Commission, or an entity representing the Commission, may notify the Cemetery Association that the adjacent landowner is willing to sell the farmland to the southeast. Because of topography surrounding the Nature Preserve, the cemetery can only expand to the southeast. If the property is identified as being for sale, the Cemetery Association is bound to use good faith efforts to purchase the property. If the additional property is acquired, the remaining half of the natural prairie will remain as prairie in perpetuity.
If the Commission authorizes, by resolution, the signing of this Agreement, the Cemetery Association will then notify the sponsors of House Bill 1825 to abandon passage of the Bill. Carolyn stated that she has talked with both Representative Lawfer and Senator Sieben, and they have agreed to follow the terms of the Agreement. In addition, Senator Sieben amended House Bill 1825 last week in Committee to limit the Bill to apply only to Brookville Lutheran Cemetery Prairie. Both sponsors recognized that there are no other cemetery prairies in Illinois that were concerned with this issue, and therefore they agreed that it was unnecessary to potentially impact 15 other nature preserves. The amendment was done only as a precautionary measure should the Bill pass. Carolyn reported that she felt confident that if the Commission passes a resolution authorizing the signing of this Agreement, that Senator Sieben will hold the Bill on second reading, and it will never be called for a final vote in the Senate. Carolyn recommended that the Commission sign the Agreement.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by O'Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the resolution authorizing the signing of the Agreement as described under Item 23 of the Agenda for the 163rd Meeting.
Commissioner Schneiderman thanked Carolyn Grosboll and the INPC staff for sorting through something that could have been a real problem and finding the best solution for this matter. He recognized the fair amount of skill and persistence needed to get this Agreement.
163-24) Lake Co. - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Remediation and Related Subjects
Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and asbestos related issues at that site. He stated that there have been two interesting developments. At the last meeting there were some concerns in terms of beach nourishment and having sand available to continue the beach nourishment which is critical for the long-term maintenance of the beach. At that time, there was concern that because of the asbestos issue, sand that was to be dredged from the North Point Marina area and from the area outside of Waukegan Harbor would not be available because of the potential that asbestos containing material may be in the sand. The sand in both of those areas was tested, and asbestos containing material was not found. The sand dredge will be deposited onto the beach or adjacent to the beach to provide beach nourishment. From a short-term perspective, we were able to get the sand. From a long-term perspective, there are still some discussions taking place on how to maintain the beach nourishment and how to maintain and deal with the continual erosion problem that continues to plague the beach. There is a serous erosion problem just south of the North Point Marina and south of the Zion Nuclear Power Plant. Dealing with beach nourishment and the presence of sand is a real critical issue for the State.
Randy also updated the Commission on discussions related to the ultimate fate of the Johns Manville property. On March 26, 1999, Carolyn Grosboll met with representatives of Johns Manville, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Attorney General's Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Justice Department, and IDNR to discuss a proposal that Johns Manville has to demolish existing buildings on this site and deposit portions of the material into an existing settling basin on their property which is located immediately south of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. The proposal is to divide the settling basin into thirds; one-third would be used to deposit the material from the buildings, and the other two-thirds would be used to deposit dredge spoil from Waukegan Harbor at a later date.
Because this activity will, in effect, be creating a landfill, IEPA regulations require the INPC to give sign-off that this action will not have a negative impact on the Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. However, there is some discussion as to whether IEPA's rules will apply in this situation, and this issue has not been resolved as of this date. Discussions are still going on through the Attorney General's Office, the USEPA, and the Justice Department regarding whether IEPA's rules apply. The meeting on March 26, 1999, was, among other things, to discuss what was needed by the Commission in order to make that determination. At the meeting, Carolyn and representatives of IDNR stated that data would be needed to prove that the creation of the landfill would not change the hydrology of the industrial canal located along the northern edge of the Johns Manville property and the southern edge of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. The canal is directly connected to the hydrology of the nature preserve, and it is imperative that whatever is done does not change the water quality and quantity of the canal.
At the meeting, it became apparent that Johns Manville is on a fast track to get all of the approvals that they need in order to close the Superfund site and sell their property. All of the State and Federal agencies present agreed to do their best to accommodate Johns Manville's schedule, however, all agencies stated they must be satisfied that Johns Manville's actions will not negatively impact the environment and/or the nature preserve.
Since the approval from INPC is one of the first things that has to occur before the demolition of the buildings can begin, Carolyn told Johns Manville that the Commission could entertain the idea of having a special meeting to deal with this issue.
After the March 26, 1999, meeting, employees of the scientific surveys put together a list of data that was necessary to prove that the canal and the nature preserve would not be impacted. A letter describing what was needed was sent to Johns Manville by the Attorney General's office on April 14, 1999. There has been no response at this time from Johns Manville.
This information is to keep the Commission updated and to alert the Commission that INPC approval will be needed before the buildings can be deposited in the settling basin.
163-25) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
Ed Martin stated that a number of people here have congratulated themselves on the bond referendums that were passed by various counties for open space land acquisitions. He said that he lives in DuPage County which has passed several bond referendums for open space. The most recent one was for 75 million dollars. What happens, in many cases such as in DuPage County for example, is there are several commissioners who feel that golf courses are the best preserves there are. He cautioned the other forest preserve districts to watch for that. The other thing that happens in DuPage County is that several board members serve on the county board on the second and fourth Mondays, and they serve as forest preserve board members on the first and third Mondays. Several weeks ago the county board wanted to put a four lane highway through Pratt Wayne Woods, some of which was land acquired with the recent 75 million dollar bond issue. It is supposed to be one of the best reserve areas. The county board authorized $700,000 for an engineering firm to make a study for the highway. Several people objected, and the authorization was withdrawn. However, they are bringing the issue back. The forest preserve commission, which has the same people as the county board, are currently touring Pratt Wayne Woods to view the area to see what impact the road might have. Then they will vote on the $700,000 for the DuPage County Highway Department road study.
Rita Martin stated that citizens have made a lot of progress in protecting natural areas in DuPage County over the last few years. Initially, we were not sufficiently educated about the INPC. Now that we know about the Commission and have a better understanding about a lot of issues, we can make better choices. It was very difficult to persuade public officials to buy land for any reason other than for some practical purpose. A lot of wonderful areas have been lost, but we have also acquired some in the past few years. Our Forest Preserve District commissioners recently purchased land near Lyman Woods that the developer had cut the trees on because they could see that the land had not been degraded, and it could be restored. We continue to work on Lyman Woods, and we hope that we will be able to bring it back to the Commission for an even larger request for protection. She had many other issues, but she did not want to take any more of the Commission's time.
163-26) Other Business
Commissioner O'Keefe asked the staff if they could provide information on what kind of management plan is being proposed, or how a management plan could be developed, for the 115 acres that the Department acquired adjacent to Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve. This acquisition was discussed at the last Commission meeting. It is a piece that has great bearing on Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve, which is one of the oldest nature preserves.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that at this point she was not aware of the current status of this. As with other acquisitions, it should be a joint effort with Natural Heritage taking the lead since it is a natural area. There would also be input from the other divisions within the ORC.
Randy Heidorn stated that when he was dealing with the deer management issue at Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve, one of the concerns was that there was adjacent properties that we did not have access to. Traditionally, the district biologists of the various disciplines get together and go through the resource planning process. This process should begin in the fall. That is the basic framework for management planning. He was not aware of any special planning efforts for this parcel.
Don McFall stated that he agreed with Randy. There is no automatic process when a new piece of land is acquired. Management of an area is looked at when the annual process plan of work is done.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Ellis, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.