169-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:10 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Vice-Chair Ellis, the meeting began.
Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Dianne Burton, Jonathan Ellis, Guy Fraker, Lorin Nevling, Victoria Ranney, Michael Schneiderman, and John Schwegman.
Members absent: Joyce O'Keefe.
Others present: John Alesandrini, Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Jennifer Aherin, Terry Esker, Bob Gottfried, Patty Herman, Mark Phipps, and Todd Strole, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Patti Malmborg Reilly and Brian Reilly, Division of Natural Heritage, IDNR; Mike Branham and Keith Shank, Division of Natural Resource Review and Coordination, IDNR; Carl Becker, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, IDNR; Jim Herkert, Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB); Sue Dees, George Rose, and Barbara Traeger, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; Betty Youngblood, Illinois Audubon Society; Dr. R. Bruce McMillan, Illinois State Museum and INPC Advisor; Dr. David Thomas, Illinois Natural History Survey and INPC Advisor; and Dr. Derek Winstanley, Illinois State Water Survey and INPC Advisor; Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board; Robert Freeman, Harry Hazelton, and John Sommerhof, The Nature Institute; Henry Eilers, Shoal Creek Volunteers; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve; Leslie and Darla Combs, representing Sargent's Woods; Kathy Phelps, representing P & E Refuge; Jim and Eleanor Smith, representing Edgewood Farm; Martha Schwegman and Joe Toigo.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that the Commission protected five tracts of land totaling 174 acres at the 168th INPC Meeting. Three of the five tracts were privately owned, one tract was owned by a not-for-profit conservation organization, and one was owned by a county forest preserve district. The value of the four tracts of non-government land was estimated to be $1,076,000. This private
land was permanently preserved without expending public funds. A total of 163 acres of private land was protected. Currently, there are 295 nature preserves located in 77 of Illinois' 102 counties totaling approximately 39,000 acres. There are 49 land and water reserves in 34 counties, totaling approximately 19,580 acres. The Commission staff protected these properties through dedication or registration without expending public funds to acquire the property.
169-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Burton, and carried that the Agenda be adopted.
Commissioner Ranney asked for an explanation of the statute regarding the role of an INPC advisor and consultant.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that Section 5 of the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act provides that "the Director of the IDNR, the Chief of the Natural History Survey, and the Director of the Illinois State Museum, as well as other agencies, institutions, and organizations as the Commission may determine, shall serve as advisors to the Commission." Currently, the Director of the IDNR, the Director of the Illinois State Museum, the Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Chief of the Illinois Water Survey, the Chief of the Illinois Geological Survey, and the Director of the Waste Management Research Center are serving as advisors. The statute also allows the Commission to appoint consultants. The statute does not provide a differentiation between the role of the advisor versus the role of the consultant. An advisor has historically been a person associated with a government organization that has scientific expertise to provide to the Commission. The consultant's role has been much broader than that. There is no distinct definition of either category.
Commissioner Ranney asked if the function of the advisors and consultants was clear to each who serve. She also asked if the Commission covers their expenses.
Carolyn stated that she did not believe that each advisor and consultant was aware of their responsibility in a specific sense, but in more of a general sense. The statute provides that advisors and consultants shall have the privilege of discussion and debate, but without the right to vote at the meetings of the Commission. They serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in connection with the performance of their duties. The Commission may meet without the participation of the advisors and consultants when it so desires.
Commissioner Ranney asked if it was the duty of the advisors and consultants to attend each meeting or only when called upon by the Commission.
Carolyn stated that historically it has been on an on-call basis. The Commission usually calls upon its advisors and consultants when a need arises. They are also free to offer advice at any time on a particular subject.
Commissioner Ranney stated that she would like to propose an additional consultant to the Commission.
Carolyn reviewed the rules governing the election of INPC consultants and advisors. Section 2150.250 of Title 2 of the Illinois Administrative Code provides that "advisors to the Commission are as provided by law. Consultants to the Commission may be elected to serve for a period of not to exceed one year by majority vote of the members of the Commission. The Commission shall meet in closed session without advisors, consultants, or visitors by a vote of five members of the Commission, provided that such closed session conforms with the Open Meetings Act. Advisors and consultants may join in debate at any time but may not vote on any business before the Commission. No person, other than a member of the Commission and advisor or consultant, shall address the Commission, except with the consent of the Chairman or majority of the members present. In case of any disturbances or disorderly conduct, the presiding officer shall require that the meeting place be cleared of visitors." Carolyn stated that the rules did not specify when the election of consultants shall take place. She felt that it would be appropriate for Commissioner Ranney to make a motion to add an additional consultant, however, she did not know if the person is willing to serve. A person is usually contacted prior to nomination to see if they are willing to serve.
Commissioner Ranney stated that she would like to make such a nomination on the condition that he would be willing to serve.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that the Agenda has been approved without this nomination being included, and that the approval of minutes from the 168th meeting was currently pending. He suggested that the minutes be approved, and then the current Agenda could be amended to include the nomination of an additional consultant.
Commissioner Ranney stated that she was proposing that John White, who developed the original Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) be nominated as a consultant. Since it is important to have people as consultants who are concerned with Illinois and its scientific background, she felt that he would be a good person to add as a consultant.
Commissioner Nevling stated that the Commissioners needed to approve the minutes. He suggested that if the Commission did not want to act on this today, that Commissioner Ranney could put a recommendation in writing to the Commission with the understanding that the Commission would take this matter up at the 170th INPC Meeting.
Commissioner Ranney stated that putting the recommendation in writing and having the Commission consider the matter at its next meeting was acceptable to her.
169-3) Approval of Minutes of 168th Meeting, August 1, 2000
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread and carried that the Minutes of the 168th INPC Meeting, August 1, 2000, be approved.
169-4) Next Meeting Schedule6 February - Illinois State Library, Springfield
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the 2001 meeting schedule for the Commission be approved.
169-5) Natural Areas Acquisition Fund Fiscal Year 2001 Land Acquisition Proposals
Brian Reilly stated that the INPC has the responsibility of approving the Natural Areas Acquisition List. The Natural Areas Acquisition List is a list of land to be acquired using the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF). Responsibility and authority was given to the Director of the INPC to approve any changes to the Natural Areas Acquisition List that include an INAI site, or a piece of property that buffers an INAI site, or an existing nature preserve or land and water reserve. Any changes to the approved List that do not meet that criteria have to come back to the full Commission for its consideration. Brian stated that he is requesting the Commission's approval for the addition of three properties to the Natural Areas Acquisition List for the fiscal year 2001. Each of these properties have high natural area values that he felt were eligible for inclusion on the Natural Areas Acquisition List. The lands that were dropped in order to fund these new acquisitions were properties where negotiations failed. For example, there was a parcel at Apple River Canyon that when the IDNR approached the landowners in hopes that they would sell the property, IDNR was told that the landowners had changed their mind and decided not to sell the property.
The first proposed addition to the Natural Areas Acquisition List is Falling Down Prairie in JoDaviess County. This is a 105-acre grade C loess hill prairie. The only loess hill prairies within this natural division are grade C prairies, so this property is the best of its kind. This property was recommended for purchase by the Natural Heritage Regional Administrator in that area. The key piece is located between Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve and Mississippi Palisades State Park.
The second proposed addition to the Natural Areas Acquisition List is French Bluff in Carroll County. This is a 350-acre grade C forest. This area was designated grade C because it had been logged in the past. It provides nesting habitat for approximately 12 species of forest sensitive birds. This area serves as an overflow breeding habitat for birds that were not able to establish territory in their primary nesting habitat further north. Four states in this area have formed a group called the Blufflands Alliance to protect this area of the state. The Alliance's membership includes organizations from Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
The third proposed addition to the Natural Areas Acquisition List is Pembroke Savannas in Kankakee County. Approval is requested to be able to acquire any piece of land within the Pembroke Savannas area. This area is a large black-oak savanna, and it is quickly disappearing.
There are five INAI sites within this savanna area. Authority has already been granted to buy land within the five INAI sites, however, there is land that connects those five INAI sites that is coming up for sale. The overall goal in this area is to protect all the INAI sites and provide connectors to the INAI sites for seed dispersal and to provide a buffer to these areas.
Vice-Chair Ellis asked how many acres and actual dollar amount is involved in this proposal to acquire property in the Pembroke Savannas.
Kim Roman stated that she has estimated this area to be approximately 20,000 acres.
Commissioner Fraker stated that these are small tracts.
Brian stated that this area was a social experiment in the 1930s-1950s and most of this area was broken up into 5-10 acre tracts. The landowners are now deciding to sell their small tracts. The goal is not to have a 20,000-acre nature preserve. There are towns and homes within this area. The goal is to be in a partnership with the community and the people who live there to preserve their natural surroundings.
Carolyn Grosboll asked what was currently protected in this area.
Brian stated that Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve is a 640-acre nature preserve in this area. Leesville Savanna, which is an INAI site is also in this area. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has acquired several hundred acres within this area.
Commissioner Fraker stated that since the first of the year, TNC has acquired a 130-acre tract, a 640-acre tract, a conservation easement on an 18-acre tract, and a 10-acre tract. A 72-acre tract is under contract. Mary Ann Hahn has also purchased 94 acres.
Brian stated that there are willing sellers in this area. This falls within the boundaries of the Grand Kankakee Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
Commissioner Fraker stated that TNC has defined a very large area as a preserve. There is a preserve design, and all of this falls within that.
Brian stated that the IDNR is working closely with TNC and Kim Roman with the INPC.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that the Commission has historically operated with a sense of priority because there is a fixed amount of money each year. A suggestion has been made to spend money on sites that are not the type usually acquired. He wanted to know what sites were not placed on the Natural Areas Acquisition List to accommodate the sites discussed today.
Brian stated that the INAI has approximately 1200 sites. Approximately one-half of those sites are protected. These properties were proposed for placement on the List because they are under threat at the present time, and the staff of the INPC and the IDNR can not recommend any property that is of a higher priority that is for sale at this time. There are many properties that the IDNR would like to acquire; however, property is purchased on a willing seller basis only.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if these properties were not added to the Natural Areas Acquisition List, would some money not be spent at the end of the fiscal year.
Brian stated that was correct.
Commissioner Fraker stated that the areas proposed today were of high-quality, but it was different because of the small tracts and the way the tracts are scattered across the township.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that all the areas were not on the INAI.
Commissioner Fraker stated that a large portion was on the INAI.
Brian stated that not all the sites in the Pembroke Savannas were on the INAI, however, the rules for the INAI are being revised. The French Bluff site will qualify under the new rules, and the INAI boundaries of the Pembroke Savannas may be expanded to include some of these tracts.
Vice-Chair Ellis asked if Brian was asking for permission from the Commission to acquire as many sites in this Pembroke Savanna area as possible.
Brian stated that this was what was being requested.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he has been to the Pembroke Savanna area, and he felt that this was a good project to try to pull together.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that he spends a lot of time in the Pembroke Savannas area because he has a farm very close to this area. He felt there were some areas that were of high-quality and should be acquired.
It was moved by Ranney, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the addition of Falling Down Prairie, French Bluff, and the Pembroke Savannas areas to the Natural Areas Acquisition List as described in the proposal presented under Item 5 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-6) Proposal to Combine Natural Areas Acquisition Fund/Other Special Funds for Land Acquisition
Brian Reilly stated that the IDNR has many special funds. The NAAF is the largest of all the special funds. Other funds include the State Furbearer Fund, the State Pheasant Stamp Fund, and the Illinois Habitat Stamp Fund. Each of these funds are used to acquire specific habitats. It is proposed that a partnership be developed using these funds. After the Division of Natural Heritage puts the Natural Areas Acquisition List together, it is brought to the Commission for its approval. The List is then sent to the Director of IDNR for his approval. The List is then sent back to the Division of Natural Heritage. At that time the Division of Natural Heritage would meet with the Special Funds Coordinator within ORC to decide what properties may be compatible for other uses, primarily hunting. An example would be to acquire mud turtle habitat where there are many acres around the sand dunes and ponds that the turtles use which have been restored to grasslands. This area may be compatible for pheasant hunting. This would be a piece of property where a partnership could be formed using State Pheasant Stamp Fund money. The Special Funds Coordinator would go to the State Pheasant Stamp Fund and the local chapter of Pheasants Forever to ask for a partnership to facilitate the acquisition of the property. For example, if the local chapter would donate $10,000, the State Pheasant Stamp Fund would match the local donation for a total of $20,000 to help with the acquisition of that property. This site would have already been established as a Natural Area Acquisition Fund high priority where 100% of the funds needed to acquire the property would have otherwise come from the NAAF.
Carolyn Grosboll asked if when the local chapter of Pheasants Forever donated $10,000, and the State Pheasant Stamp Fund contributed another $10,000, would that Chapter money be in the form of a grant to the Department. She also asked if the Department would have full ownership of the property or would the group have part ownership.
Brian stated that the IDNR would have 100% ownership of the property. The money would be in the form of a grant to the Department for the acquisition of the land.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he was concerned that this might affect the Department's setting of priorities for acquisitions from the NAAF. There may be one list that represents the nature preserves natural preservation priorities, but because of other possibilities that come in through this program, the natural preservation priorities may change.
Brian stated that this was a justified concern. However, in the past, all the acquisitions on the Natural Areas Acquisition List generally have the same priority of wanting to acquire them as soon as possible. There is no one piece of property that is of greater importance than another on the Natural Areas Acquisition List as it is presented to the Commission.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that as long as other money comes in to support the NAAF, but the NAAF does not leak over into other kinds of projects or low priority natural areas projects, he felt there should be no objection. He also felt that the Commission would have to trust the Department to continue to do a good job of sorting out the priorities.
Commissioner Fraker asked if this partnership would expose the NAAF areas to hunting.
Brian stated that if other special funds were used, it would most likely open the areas to hunting.
Commissioner Schwegman asked who would be the lead manager on these mixed type tracts.
Brian stated that he would like to see the Natural Heritage Biologists manage these areas, and he would hope that the State would continue to pursue protection through the Commission as it would have otherwise.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that some things that might help improve pheasant habitat might not help mud turtle habitat. He felt it was important that this was understood.
Marilyn Campbell asked if this could possibly have an affect on the types of lands that were being purchased and if lands of nature preserve quality would be instead registered as land and water reserves so that hunting could be allowed.
Brian stated that this was a possibility.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that this was a valid concern, and if the Commission was to approve this proposal, he would like to see that every site purchased using a mix of other special funds have a land and water reserve designation. This caveat should be recognized before the Department would purchase the ground and a management plan should be developed which would state that the area was to be managed for its natural heritage character.
Jennifer Aherin stated that it was her understanding that a management plan is developed for all properties that are purchased, and those plans have to be followed. The personnel from the IDNR have to sign off on the plans.
Brian stated that the suggestion of registering the land as a land and water reserve would put the Natural Heritage Biologist as the primary biologist for the property.
Carl Becker stated that if one looks at the history of lands acquired with the Illinois Habitat Fund or the State Pheasant Stamp Fund, they are small tracts of 40-80 acres. Rarely has there been a tract as large as 160 acres. One of the reasons is because these funds are not that big. If a partnership can be made with that money to purchase a grassland site that is on the Natural Areas Acquisition List, that money starts to work much better in protecting an ecological area rather than just going after those smaller tracts. Being able to form these partnerships furthers the Commission's mission in a bigger way than it would otherwise.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that it seems that the right answer would be to have the List come to the Commission each year, and the Commissioners should take a hard look at what is being proposed. The Commission should question the Department on how the acquisition priorities were set, what was left off the list, and what was included.
Carolyn Grosboll recommended that the Commission take some action on this proposal. She recommended that the Commission condition its approval upon the Department's willingness to register as land and water reserves those areas where mixed funds are used for acquisition to insure that those areas are managed for their natural heritage character. A land and water reserve is extremely flexible and it can provide for a number of recreational opportunities.
Commissioner Nevling stated that if the special funds used in the partnership represented rabbits, there would be some kind of hunting. He asked if this would be hunting in the broad sense, or would it be narrowly defined to the hunting of rabbits. He also asked if other money was available, would that drive the site's value down in terms of something that should be a nature preserve, but now would be a land and water reserve so that hunting could take place. He was concerned that a partnership might downgrade the protection that the Commission might provide.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that the Commission will approve or disapprove the List each year. The Commission will be able to rely on staff to determine if a site should be a nature preserve or a land and water reserve.
Carolyn stated that Tim Hickmann, ORC's Special Fund Coordinator, advised her that once the approved Natural Areas Acquisition List is approved by the Director of IDNR, he would be working with Brian Reilly to identify areas that may be appropriate for a hunting program. At that point it will be determined if the land is of nature preserve quality and should not be thrown into the mix. The INPC will be working very closely with Tim and Brian during that process.
Brian stated that on this year's Natural Areas Acquisition List, a few of the areas were identified as areas that could allow hunting.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that there were not enough dollars available to acquire all the lands, and most of the organizations that would be considered for partnership are not hunting clubs. Many hunters support these organizations because they believe in habitat, natural areas, and the whole conservation ethic. If it allows the IDNR to partner with other dollars to preserve what needs to be preserved, every dollar that can be obtained should be used after careful consideration. He felt that it would not be in the best interest of the Commission to turn away partnerships that could turn out to be invaluable in preserving what we would all like to see.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the proposal to partner the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund with other special funds, subject to the condition that the areas acquired be registered as land and water reserves.
169-7) INPC Staff Report
Carolyn Grosboll updated the Commission on the possible agreement between IDNR and the University of Illinois (U of I) for the IDNR to purchase 1,800 acres near Allerton Park in Monticello, Illinois. A letter was sent on August 3, 2000, by Chair O'Keefe to Governor Ryan in support of this acquisition. Chair O'Keefe received a response from IDNR Deputy Director Jim Garner stating that the negotiations with the U of I were on hold because of some local concerns regarding the sale of the farmland.
After the U of I announced its intention to sell its land adjacent to Allerton Park, the Art Institute of Chicago announced that it was also interested in selling approximately 5,000 acres that was given to them by Robert Allerton in the 1930s. Approximately 2,800 acres are located directly adjacent to the Park, and another 2,000 acres are located approximately six miles from the Park. This property is scheduled to be sold at auction on November 29, 2000.
Carolyn recommended that the Commission send a letter, similar to the one sent in August by Chair O'Keefe regarding the U of I property, to Governor Ryan to encourage the Governor to have the IDNR purchase some of the more significant lands that are directly adjacent to or would help buffer Allerton Park. The significant lands include 300 acres of forest, 1.5 miles of the Sangamon River and an unnamed tributary of the Sangamon River, and the largest great blue heron rookery in east-central Illinois.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission shall send a letter to Governor Ryan urging his support for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to purchase significant lands currently owned by the Art Institute of Chicago that are directly adjacent to or would buffer Allerton Park.
Carolyn reported that in August, 2000, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held a first tier scoping meeting regarding the proposed South Suburban Airport. The first tier scoping was to discuss the possible acquisition of the land to facilitate the building of the airport. This was the first time the FAA has done its scoping in different tiers to discuss specific issues. There will be a second tier scoping at some time in the future to talk about the building of the airport facilities.
John Nelson and Kim Roman attended the scoping meeting and provided written comments expressing the Commission's concerns about potential impacts to some nature preserves in the area. The preferred site is located near Peotone, Illinois and may impact Racoon Grove Nature Preserve and Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. The other site is located near Kankakee and would potentially impact five nature preserves and a biologically significant stream. Staff will continue to monitor this process and will continue to work closely with the IDOT and the FFA as they proceed through this scoping process.
Carolyn informed the Commission that Black Beauty Coal Company has plans to build a new coal mining facility near the Little Vermilion River. Carolyn stated that both she and Mary Kay Solecki have been monitoring this situation closely because it may impact the Little Vermilion River which is an INAI site and also the Carl Flierman's River Nature Preserve which is located two miles downstream from the proposed facility. Black Beauty Coal Company has applied for an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) permit to be able to discharge into the river. They have also applied for a permit from the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals (OMM) to build the coal mining facility.
Mary Kay Solecki attended two public meetings on the issue and written comments have been submitted to both the IEPA and the IDNR OMM. Based on the comments that were received from the public and other agencies, the OMM sent a modification letter earlier this month to the applicant asking them for a variety of additional information to insure the protection of the Little Vermilion River and Carl Flierman's River Nature Preserve. The Commission was pleased that OMM incorporated most of its comments into this letter, as well as those of other offices within the INDR.
In addition, the federal EPA has stepped in to oversee the IEPA's review process. This review could take until January, 2001, to be completed. We will continue to monitor this situation.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if this was a surface mine.
Carolyn stated that it was an underground facility.
Carolyn reported that negotiations are continuing between IDNR and Material Service Corporation (MSC) to purchase the unmined property adjacent to Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. Carolyn stated that she will be travelling to Lake in the Hills Fen on November 1, 2000, to meet with representatives of MSC and the IDNR to discuss some land reclamation issues. She will continue to keep the Commission updated on this situation.
The Commission is continuing to monitor a situation in St. Clair County concerning a possible pre-existing road through the DesPain Wetlands Land and Water Reserve. This issue is currently being litigated. Earlier this month, staff sent a letter to the Township Road Commissioner as a follow up to an unanswered letter sent by Debbie Newman in May, 1999. The letter expressed the Commission's concern about the building of a road as well as the concern that Debbie's letter was never responded to. The IDNR will be sending a similar letter to the Township Road Commissioner. No response has been received as of this date.
Carolyn stated that she checked with the Governor's office earlier this month about appointments to the Commission to fill the expired terms of Michael Schneiderman, Guy Fraker, and Victoria Ranney. Those appointments are still pending.
Carolyn reported that the Illinois Audubon Society has a new brochure entitled, "Standing Dead Trees: Saving Critical Wildlife Habitat." The purpose of the brochure is to educate the public on the benefits to wildlife of standing dead trees or "snags." Marilyn Campbell brought the new brochures with her, and they are available to anyone who is interested.
Carolyn reported that she attended the Land Trust Alliance Rally from October 18-22, 2000, in Portland, Oregon, and the conference was very educational. Session topics included enforcement of conservation easements, advanced legal issues concerning land protection, and environmental liability issues. Commissioners Allread and Fraker also attended the conference.
In mid September, Kirby Cottrell named Glen Kruse as the Acting Chief of the Division of Natural Heritage. Since Carl Becker left that position in January, Todd Strole has been the Acting Chief of the Division. In August, Todd was named the Regional Resource Manager for Region IV. Glen was named Acting Division Chief to relieve Todd of some of his duties. Glen has been with the IDNR since 1982, and for the past five years has been the Endangered Species Program Manager for the Division of Natural Heritage. The Commission looks forward to working with Glen.
Randy Heidorn stated that the Commission has just completed issuing year 2000 special use permits. We began issuing 2001 permits on October 1, 2000. There has been a slow increase in the number of permits each year. Randy stated that Kelly Neal has been handling this increased burden every year as more permits continue to come in.
There are ongoing deer management programs at Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve, Beall Woods Nature Preserve, and George B. Fell Nature Preserve. A new deer management program will be implemented this year at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park, including Starved Rock Nature Preserve and Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve. The archery portion of that program has begun. All of these programs are based on vegetation changes caused by deer browse and are monitored based on vegetation and impacts to the vegetation. The deer management, including hunting programs, is set up accordingly to reduce the deer population throughout that area so impacts are reduced. The Starved Rock deer management program is slightly different. At other sites, there has been a shotgun hunt during the regular deer season. At this site, the firearm deer hunt is held on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday prior to the regular season. When the regular hunting season starts, it is hoped the Nature Preserve would be less attractive as a refuge for the deer. This also works better for the Starved Rock State Park Lodge and other park facilities. This area is very heavily used during the fall, and there was a concern that they did not want to close down the entire park on two weekends.
Randy reported on a sewer expansion project that is being considered at Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve. Prior to the dedication of Lake in the Hills Fen Nature Preserve, a sewer existed along the southeast border of the Nature Preserve. The Lake in the Hills Sanitary District wants to expand this 10-inch sewer to a 16-inch sewer using a pipe bursting method. This method allows a larger pipe to be inserted without disturbance to the ground surface. Staff has worked out some of the technical details with the District, however, there appears to be no recorded easement giving the Sanitary District a right to have a sewer in this location. Since the sewer is already there, they have some rights. Since they want to expand the sewer, it was felt that they would need Commission approval. There is also an existing boundary dispute between the Sanitary District and the IDNR which owns part of this Nature Preserve. Currently, the Sanitary District is pursuing a new survey. It has not been determined if this new survey will help since at least a portion of the sewer line is in the Nature Preserve where there is no disputed boundary. Randy stated that he will keep the Commission informed on this project.
Vice-Chair Ellis asked if the Sanitary District has begun this project.
Randy stated that the Sanitary District intends to start soon on the portion of the sewer that is not in the Nature Preserve.
Randy stated that the Volunteer Stewardship Network Steering Committee met immediately after the 168th INPC Meeting. This Committee has met a second time since that first meeting. The first meeting was a chance for people to identify a number of issues and determine who should be represented in the group. The second meeting included several landowners in addition to the various volunteers. Working groups have been set up to look at some of the issues, and Randy stated that he was pleased by the way this Committee is progressing, and he felt it would be an asset to the Commission's stewardship efforts.
Randy stated that various Asian carp species have escaped into the wild, and in many places have become a dominant species. There is a new species, Asian black carp, on the horizon that is being considered as a way to control snails within fish aquaculture operations. Many professionals fear that this will be another species that will escape into the wild. If that happens, particularly in the Mississippi River basin where the mussel populations are already under severe stress, there could be a major impact on the mussel population. This could lead to extinction of some of the species of mussels in the Mississippi basin. A number of the state agencies that are participating in the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Asian black carp as an "injurious wildlife species" under the Lacey Act. This would effectively ban the importation and use of this fish in aquaculture. After considerable political pressure from the congressional delegations of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the petition has been stalled. It has been suggested that the Commission join a number of other organizations in approving a resolution which requests that this species be listed as "injurious" under the Lacey Act. Such a resolution was passed by the Natural Areas Association at its recent board meeting in this regard.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he was very interested in mussels and that he was very concerned about this issue. He has received a lot of email about this issue. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had a lead person, a very effective administrator, who was moving this through congress. He was recently transferred because of this issue. There is a lot of political pressure behind the use of this biological control for mollusks. It is not just snails. It is mussels as well. Commissioner Schwegman stated that he would vote for a resolution in support of this.
Commissioner Nevling stated that he was under the impression that the Arkansas acquaculturists had already brought the black carp in and that some of their ponds flooded, and the fish may already be in the Mississippi River.
Randy stated that it was his understanding that they have not found this fish in the wild yet, but there was a possibility that it could have already escaped.
Dr. Dave Thomas stated that approximately 30 or 40 of these fish escaped back in the 1980s. No one has subsequently captured them in the wild. This fish looks a lot like a grass carp. It was brought over to this country as a contaminant in a shipment of grass carp, so the average biologist would probably not differentiate them unless they looked at them closely. He stated that he has been involved in the National Invasive Species Advisory Committee, working on the National Invasive Species Plan. He stated that he talked with David Lodge, Chair of that Committee, and Mr. Lodge told him that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was close to listing this species. Dr. Thomas felt that it would be beneficial for the Commission to go on record against the black carp because it is a serious problem. They are diploid, and they will reproduce once they get into our system, and they are in Mississippi and Arkansas now.
It was moved by Schwegman, second by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
WHEREAS, there has been a history of invasive Asian carp invading and dominating acquatic systems in North America; and
WHEREAS, Asian black carp are being used in acquaculture to control mollusks; and
WHEREAS, the escape of black carp would constitute a serious threat to the already threatened native mussel populations; and
WHEREAS, the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the black carp as an "injurious species of wildlife" under the Lacey Act; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the black carp as an "injurious species of wildlife" under the Lacey Act.
Randy stated that approximately two weeks ago the 27th Annual Natural Areas Conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the staff members participated in this conference. There were 525 natural areas protection stewardship professionals from around the country, along with some from Europe and South America in attendance. Mary Kay Solecki presented a poster session on the land and water reserve program. Debbie Newman gave a presentation on landowner contact in the metro east St. Louis area. Don McFall gave a presentation on the nature preserves system. Randy stated that he chaired the Natural Areas Techniques Forum. The emphasis of this forum was invasive species management. Commissioners O'Keefe, Fraker, and Schwegman attended the conference. Commissioner Fraker gave a presentation on land trusts in Illinois. Carl Becker also attended the conference, and he had the great honor of presenting Commissioner Schwegman with the Natural Areas Association's highest award, the George B. Fell Award. This award is given to people in the profession who have shown a consistency throughout their career and have made major contributions in the field of natural areas protection and stewardship.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked Randy why there was a trend for more research permits, and he wanted to know if this was significant.
Randy stated that the increase was a reflection of two things, a reflection of increased awareness and an increased number of sites. The rate of increase has started to slow down. There was more cooperation and awareness among researchers and an increased interest in studying natural areas, particularly in the Chicago area.
Commissioner Nevling stated that many of the scientists that reside within the State have their research based in foreign countries. As the permitting system in foreign countries gets increasingly complex, and in some countries almost impossible, they have had to look closer to home to acquire ways to solve the problems that they are interested in. They find that there are ways to help them solve these problems in Illinois. In some respects he felt that this was positive that there was more research going on and there was some momentum for research within the State.
Randy stated that some permits for the small prairie nature preserves were being denied because there were already 4-5 researchers working at the site. The issue of controlling the numbers of researchers was becoming more important.
Vice-Chair Ellis asked if more people were conforming to the rules and applying for the proper permits.
Randy felt that this was also a factor for the increase in numbers.
Don McFall stated that with 295 nature preserves and 49 land and water reserves, surveillance was a large component of the Commission's work. Each field staff member has been visiting the nature preserves, land and water reserves, and landowners in their respective areas. As part of their job description, they are required to do this surveillance on an every other year basis.
Don stated that John Alesandrini worked to alleviate a threat to two nature preserves in Winnebago County that was posed by a township road between the nature preserves.
Tom Lerczak represented the INPC in Champaign in September. The National Audubon Society sponsored a meeting concerning the important bird area project in Illinois. This was an effort to identify large blocks of habitat in Illinois for habitat dependant birds, hot spots for migration, along with other issues related to this. This was something that the Commission is having more concern with; we want to take additional steps to protect large blocks of habitat. An inventory of where these areas are is critical. Tom is making people aware that many of these sites may be eligible for land and water reserve registration.
Debbie Newman coordinated a timber rattlesnake education and research project in Valmeyer, Illinois. The timber rattlesnake is a threatened species in Illinois and is subject to harassment. She is meeting the community leaders in this village to provide education on this snake and ways to live with it nearby. Valmeyer is on the bluffs above the Mississippi River in Monroe County.
Don stated that Bob Edgin assisted the U.S. Forest Service by searching for rare plants along proposed equestrian trail corridors in the Shawnee National Forest. This effort was part of the Commission's ongoing partnership with the Forest Service.
169-8) IDNR Staff Report
Glen Kruse stated that there have been some field staff changes. Debra Nelson has been hired as a District Heritage Biologist in District 8, Lake County. Debra is headquartered at Spring Grove along with Brad Semel. This job was previously held by Amy Horstman. Anne Mankowski transferred from Districts 4 and 6 in western Illinois to District 9. She now primarily covers southern Cook County. A great deal of her time will be spent on projects in the Lake Calumet area. Anne is headquartered at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie along with Bill Glass.
Glen stated that there have been additional changes in the administration within the ORC. The Regional Resource Managers (RRM), formerly known as the Lead Regional Administrators, have been appointed for the five regions. In Region 1 the RRM is Joe Ferencak. He was a Fisheries Resource Regional Administrator in northwest Illinois. In Region 2 the RRM is Maggie Cole. She was formerly the Natural Heritage Regional Administrator in that Region. In Region 3 the RRM is Stuart Pequignot. He was formerly the Chief of the Division of Forest Resources in Springfield. In Region 4 the RRM is Todd Strole. He was formerly a Natural Heritage Regional Administrator. In Region 5 the RRM is John Tranquilli. He was the Fisheries Resource Regional Administrator in southern Illinois. Planning continues on the implementation of ecosystem management as the guiding principal of the ORC programs.
There have been two acquisitions made through the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund since the 168th INPC Meeting. Approximately 248 acres of woodland in JoDaviess County was purchased from Edward Kopper for $615,857. This land was an addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve. The second acquisition was 596 acres in Johnson County. The land was purchased from Jim Rose for $328,000. This land is now part of Cache River State Natural Area.
The Conservation 2000 (C-2000) grants have been announced. A grant was given to APH, Inc., to remove fill and restore the wetlands at Kidd Lake Marsh. A grant was given to TNC to produce seedlings for the restoration of land along the Cache River. A grant was given to the Friends of the Cache River to install riffles and weirs in the Cache River adjacent to Heron Pond. Money has been awarded to Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts for conservation easements within the Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve design. This will buffer Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve, as well as protect important resources. The Kendall County Forest Preserve District received funding for land acquisition along the Fox River. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District received a grant to acquire 103 acres adjacent to the Tomlinson Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve. The Fon Du Lac Park District received funds for acquisition of land adjoining Fon Du Lac Seep. The Cook County Forest Preserve District received funding for osprey nesting platforms. The Parklands Foundation received a grant to restore floodplain, savanna, and wet prairie habitat. The Natural Land Institute received assistance for purchase and restoration of the Nygren Wetland Restoration along the Pecatonica River.
Carl Becker updated the Commission on the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). In July, the House passed the CARA bill by 3/4 majority. Seventeen of the 20 House members in Illinois voted for this bill. The bill moved to the Senate. CARA passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Fitzgerald had a key role in this, and his vote was important. Sixty-three Senators, including Senators Durbin and Fitzgerald, signed the "bring CARA to a floor vote" letter. The House and Senate appropriators hated CARA because of the automatic appropriation language. At the last minute the appropriators hijacked CARA and negotiated a compromise version with George Frampton, Council on Environmental Quality, into the Interior Appropriations bill. That has since passed both the House and Senate, and the provisions are referred to as "CARA Lite." Instead of a $12 billion program, it is a $1.6 billion program.
The $1.6 billion is distributed for the first year as follows:
The Interior Appropriations bill left the wildlife and coastal components of CARA in the cold. Many House and Senate legislators and the Teaming With Wildlife coalition fought back. The Commerce/Justice/State Appropriations bill became the vehicle for this. Final resolution included:
This was a bittersweet victory with some very positive results. The grassroots effort is not done with this and can look forward to coming back next year to get permanent funding for wildlife. Three hundred fifty million dollars is the goal for this. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is seeking to achieve $900 million a year appropriation for that purpose.
Carolyn Grosboll asked what was the funding source for the CARA Lite.
Carl stated that it was the Outer Continental Shelf Oil Reserve.
Carl stated that the Governor is making two fly-arounds to announce the Open Land Trust (OLT) grants. Seven of these were announced on October 30, 2000. Grants went to the Chicago Park District for $2 million, the Lake County Forest Preserve District received a grant for Ray Lake Farm for $2 million, the McHenry County Conservation District received $1.4 million, the Spring Lake Greenway was awarded to the Cook County Forest Preserve District for $2 million, Dundee Township received $1.2 million, and Orland Park for St. Michael's Woods received $1.9 million. The balance will be announced on Thursday, November 2, 2000. The new round of OLT grant proposals are due the first of the year.
Glen Kruse stated that in 1999, legislation was introduced to remove three species from Illinois' List of Endangered and Threatened Species. The legislators that introduced this bill saw these species as obstacles to projects that they wanted to see happen in their districts. There was a public protest over this proposal. As a compromise, language was developed as an amendment to the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act that would give the IDNR the authority to issue permits for the incidental take of listed species. Incidental take means the taking of a species that is incidental to carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. There is some confusion on that definition. People often seem to think that incidental means that they are not taking enough to matter, it is insignificant. It means it is a side-effect of an otherwise lawful activity. This law took effect on January 1, 2000, and the Department now has the authority to issue that sort of permit. He stated that the process of developing the Administrative Rules has begun. The Rules will give the details as to how this process will happen. It requires anyone who applies for a permit for incidental take to submit, along with their permit application, a conservation plan for the species that would be taken. That conservation plan will tell the Department what they will do, how they will do it, and how they will assure that it will be paid for. These actions will result in at least a break even for the species or a benefit for the species. The outcome will have to identify, to the best of the applicant's ability, how many of the species will be taken or how much habitat will be altered to the detriment of the species. They will then have to offer a plan to compensate for that. An important component of that is that they will be required to show that they have the financial means to make that plan happen. The Administrative Rules are in the internal IDNR review stage.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that there was some discussion about having the ESPB have some oversight in the approval process of the conservation plan. She asked if this was still a consideration.
Glen stated that it had been proposed in the Administration Rules to give the ESPB as much say as possible, however, according to IDNR legal advisors, the ESPB may only be consulted in the process of review of the application. The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act does not give the ESPB the authority to approve or deny a permit. That authority lies with the Department. The initial draft of the Administrative Rules stated that no permits would be issued without the concurrence of the ESPB. On the advise of IDNR legal staff, that had to be changed to state that the ESPB will be consulted. The intent would be that no permits would be issued over the objection of the ESPB, but the Rules cannot actually give the ESPB approval or veto authority.
Commissioner Nevling asked if there was language within the Administrative Rules that allows the IDNR to deny a permit.
Glen stated that the IDNR does have the authority to deny a permit. The statute, as well as the Administrative Rules, says that the IDNR may issue the permit if it is decided that all the criteria have been met. It is not a process where as long as the applicant has filled in all the blanks the permit will be issued. There is a decision making authority that is given to the Department.
Commissioner Nevling stated that this process, in some respects, reminds him of the Corps of Engineers process where they have all these requirements and you keep asking for more information and more information is provided until everyone gets exhausted and the permit is issued. He stated that he hoped that this was not the case with this permit application system.
Glen stated that he felt that this was not the case. The IDNR definitely has discretion in issuing the permit. That was a point of discussion at a recent internal IDNR meeting that was held on October 30, 2000. The attorneys present said that the IDNR did have this discretion. All of this has to be tested to see how it really works.
Dr. Dave Thomas stated that there is a problem with the series of projects at Carlyle Lake. He felt that it was clear that the massasauga rattlesnake will be doomed at that site. It is just a matter of how many years. While he felt the incidental take was good, he did not see how in the long run an area can be protected when there was a huge demand for more and more recreation. Rarely is there an opportunity to look at the entire future of the development of an area. The land is not of a quality that would qualify for protection by the INPC.
Glen stated that cumulative impact assessment is always a big problem. He stated that he is not suggesting that the incidental take provision will remedy that. It was his hope that the IDNR would be able to carry this procedure out to where there is not a net loss of the resource in question.
Marilyn Campbell stated that in researching the massasauga issue, it was pointed out to her that the Endangered Species Act in Illinois does not protect the critical habitat for endangered species. She stated that it was her feeling that if the habitat is not protected, how can the species be protected. She felt that the Endangered Species Act in Illinois needed to be strengthened to include habitat protection.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that having served on the ESPB, he always found the idea of incidental take offensive. If someone wants to propose to do something, he felt that the applicant should be forced into getting a performance bond and paying for it so that if they are going to do it, the money is there. This would guarantee that they would finish what they said they were going to do.
Glen stated that there is a provision that there will have to be some form of financial instrument to guarantee that the plan will be carried out.
Vice-Chair Ellis asked if there was a mediation clause where a higher authority could over-rule the decision.
Glen stated that there is no formal process for that. The administrative process that allows for appeals and higher authorities to hear objections is only available if that mechanism is specifically cited in the statute that creates the permitting process. This provision is not part of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act. Glen stated that it was his understanding that the only recourse a person would have that objected to the IDNR's decision would be to go to the court system.
169-9) Champaign and Vermilion Co. - Edgewood Farm Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal to register Edgewood Farm as a land and water reserve. Edgewood Farm contains 156.7 acres in east-central Illinois near Homer and is owned by Jim and Eleanor Smith. The proposed reserve contains a 1.2-mile segment of the Salt Fork River, a biologically significant stream (INAI #1427). The Salt Fork River provides habitat for four state-endangered mussels and one state-endangered fish. These are the round hickorynut mussel (Obovaria subrotunda), wavy-rayed lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola), little spectaclecase mussel (Villosa lienosa), rainbow mussel (Villosa iris), and bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum). The proposed reserve includes two separate tracts that contain bottomland forest, a slough, wetlands, upland forest, ponds, and hayfields. It lies in the Vermilion River Section of the Wabash Border Natural Division. Fifteen species of state-endangered or state-threatened birds have been observed at Edgewood Farm. The proposed land and water reserve provides a riparian buffer along the Salt Fork River and benefits water quality in the river by limiting water runoff and soil erosion.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if there was a signed copy of the registration agreement.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that the registration documents have all been signed by the landowners as required by the rules governing the land and water reserve program.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he was pleased to see that the conservation easement is a perpetual easement.
Commissioner Allread stated that Jim and Eleanor Smith should be commended for their personal effort that they have put into this land. It is clear that they love this land.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that Jim and Eleanor Smith have brought to the Commission an appreciation of their stewardship, their love for the land, and that they are preserving something for future generations. He stated that the Commission appreciates their generosity.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Edgewood Farm in Champaign and Vermilion counties, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-10) Coles Co. - Sargent's Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Mary Kay Solecki presented a proposal to register Sargent's Woods as a land and water reserve. Sargent's Woods, located southeast of Charleston in east-central Illinois, is recognized by the INAI as a high-quality, dry-mesic upland forest (INAI #34). It represents the original woodland vegetation of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The proposed land and water reserve is a 54-acre dry-mesic upland forest owned by Leslee and Darla Combs. Sargent's Woods is a diverse forest that harbors 50 species of trees, shrubs, and woody vines. Mr. Combs' great-great-great grandfather was the first settler at Sargent's Woods. Many Sargent family members have conserved the woods over the years. Mr. and Mrs. Combs continued the family legacy of protecting the woods when they purchased Sargent's Woods in 1998. Mr. Combs was awarded a grant from Conservation 2000 to pay for a conservation easement, in the form of a land and water reserve, to permanently protect the forest.
Mary Kay stated that the driveway that goes back to the house is included within the land and water reserve proposal. The landowners wish to retain the ability to maintain the driveway. Mr. and Mrs. Combs also wish to be able to harvest up to 30% of the population of the ginseng for their own personal use. There is also a small food plot near the agricultural land which is less than a half acre in size. There is a contract on this food plot under a Natural Resource Conservation Service Practice which specifies that it has to be there for ten years.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Ranney, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Sargent's Woods in Coles County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
Leslee Combs stated that Mary Kay Solecki has been a big help to them in this project. Previous to the sale, the individual that he went up against went into this area with a logger. The trees would have been logged if he had not purchased the property. He stated that they will be closing on the C-2000 funding in November, 2000. He felt that it was good that this area was going to be protected.
Vice-Chair Ellis thanked Leslee and Darla Combs for their registration of this land.
169-11) Saline Co. - P & E Refuge Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal to register P & E Refuge as a land and water reserve. P & E Refuge is 33 acres in size and is located in Saline County. The area has been an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark since 1986 and the owner, Kathy Phelps, now wishes to permanently protect the site. The proposed reserve contains a 1-acre dry-mesic upland forest, 17 acres of dry upland forest, 14 acres of dry barrens community, and a 1-acre camp site. These communities are representative of the Greater Shawnee Hills Section of the Shawnee Hills Natural Division. Though not included on the INAI, P & E Refuge is an important site because of the barrens community and because it provides habitat for five state-threatened or endangered species: the threatened southern grape fern (Botrychium biternatum), the threatened climbing milkweed (Matelea obliqua), the endangered spring ladies tresses orchid (Spiranthes vernalis), the threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), and the threatened red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).
Judy stated that the landowner, Kathy Phelps, is an artist and a writer by profession. This area has been a great inspiration for Kathy in her profession. Judy read an article that was written by Kathy which explains her appreciation of natural areas. Judy also read a poem that was written by Kathy.
Judy stated that there is a trail that is mowed through the barrens, and Kathy would like to maintain that trail. There is also a small campsite that she would like to maintain. Kathy would also like to maintain the right to collect dried materials for her personal artwork.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of P & E Refuge in Saline County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that given the description of this property, one would expect this land to be on the INAI. He wanted to know why this property was not on the INAI.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that this area would qualify for the INAI because of the three threatened species that are on the property.
Don McFall stated that this land does qualify for the INAI, and it was an oversight. There is a meeting of the INAI Committee scheduled in December, and it will be nominated at that time.
Judy stated that the omission was not discovered until this proposal was written. The inventory papers had been prepared, but it had never been formally voted on.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that he was humbled by Kathy Phelps' appreciation for her land. The Commission appreciates her generosity.
A lunch break was taken from 12:35 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.
169-12) Cook Co. - Addition of Buffer to Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication.
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve. Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve is a 91-acre site owned by the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (70 acres) and the City of Elgin (21 acres). Bluff Spring Fen was recognized by the INAI (#537) for extant high-quality graminoid fen, sedge meadow, and calcareous seep wetland communities of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. In addition, the site supports 12 state-listed endangered or threatened plant species and one state-listed threatened insect. Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve was conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission's 109th Meeting (Resolution #890) in March, 1986. Subsequently, the Commission conferred final approval for a portion of the site owned by the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago at its 112th Meeting (Resolution #915) in October, 1986. The balance of the site, which is owned by the City of Elgin, received final approval for dedication at the Commission's 116th Meeting (Resolution #964) in November, 1987. The proposed addition consists of three parcels totaling 4.34 acres. Two of the tracts were purchased by the City of Elgin in 1996 as part of the City's continuing effort to acquire and remove homes located in the Poplar Creek flood plain. The third tract was conveyed to the City of Elgin in 1991 as a condition for approval of a nearby residential development. Formal protection of these three tracts of land is consistent with the recommendations of the recently adopted Elgin Parks and Recreation Master Plan. That plan specifically states: "Elgin contains three Illinois State Nature Preserves...Bluff Spring Fen, Trout Park, and Sleepy Hollow Ravine. These properties are also fragile and highly vulnerable to degradation from new development. The City of Elgin should aggressively protect these sites..." Dedication of the proposed addition would increase the acreage of Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve from 91 to 95.34 acres. On behalf of the City of Elgin, the INPC staff recommends dedication of the three tracts, totaling 4.34 acres, as an addition to Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Ranney, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
Commissioner Ranney stated she would like to include a formal commendation for the City of Elgin. She said it was rare for a municipality to have a master plan and to do things like this. She asked Steve to relay her appreciation to the City of Elgin.
169-13) Hancock Co. - Addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal on behalf of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, owned by TNC, was dedicated in February, 1975, as the 54th nature preserve. Cedar Glen Nature Preserve consists of 145 acres with a 43-acre buffer. TNC proposes to increase the size of this nature preserve by dedicating an additional 252 acres of bottom land forest, located north of the present Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. The current nature preserve, as well as the proposed addition, lies within the Cedar Glen Kibbe Macrosite (INAI #565 and #152). Significant features of this macrosite include: high to moderate quality floodplain forests, dry-mesic oak-hickory woodlands, barrens, hill prairies, savanna, bald eagle winter roosts, mussel bed, heron rookery, turtle hibernaculae, and breeding habitat for rare fish. State-threatened or endangered species found within the macrosite are: bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) winter roosts, river otter (Lontra canadensis), lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), sheepnose mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus), butterfly mussel (Ellipsaria lineolata), black sandshell (Ligumia recta), leafy bulrush (Scirpus polyphyllus), drooping sedge (Carex prasina), and pale false foxglove (Agalinis skinneriana). The INPC previously granted preliminary approval for the dedication of 143 acres as nature preserve and 69 acres of buffer of this bottom land area in 1974 at the 53rd Meeting (Resolution #346). Over time natural succession and protection of this area has allowed the natural communities to improve such that the entire area now qualifies for nature preserve status.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked why some parcels owned by TNC that received preliminary approval earlier were not covered by this proposal.
Angella stated that Mud Island was to have been brought forward today, but it was recently discovered that there may be perpetual hunting rights on this site. That would be in conflict with a nature preserve. If there are perpetual hunting rights, TNC may consider registering this area as a land and water reserve. TNC owns some addition land in the uplands. At this time they do not wish to seek dedication approval because there are several issues of liability concerning management. There are some old wells to cap and old buildings to remove. At this time they did not want to tie their hands with management.
It was moved by Schneiderman, seconded by Allread, and carried, with Commissioners Fraker and Nevling abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve in Hancock County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-14) Kendall Co. - Millhurst Fen Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kim Roman presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Millhurst Fen as a nature preserve. Millhurst Fen is a 7-acre site in Kendall County which was recently acquired by the IDNR. It is located approximately three miles southwest of Plano, in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. Millhurst Fen is a rare natural community within the Grand Prairie Natural Division, and is included on the INAI (#981) because it provides habitat for three state-listed species: yellow monkey flower (Mimulus glabratus), slender bog arrow-grass (Triglochin palustris), and beaked spike rush (Eleocharis rostellata). Dedication of Millhurst Fen will allow this unique site and the threatened or endangered species which inhabit it to be protected in perpetuity.
In 1998, Lakehead Pipeline Company installed a 24-inch crude oil pipeline throughout northeastern Illinois. In its path was the Fox River and Millhurst Fen. Rather than trenching above ground, through the river and through the fen, the company decided to drill underneath those resources. A drilling mud containing bentonite was added to act as a lubricant and sealant. It was highly pressurized during this drilling operation. It took approximately six months to complete the drilling process. During the drilling process, because of a soft spot under the river or in the fen, a fracture in the bedrock was encountered. A "frack out" occurred in Millhurst Fen. Some of the bentonite was released in the main spring run. It was also lining some of the vegetation there. It was estimated that approximately 150 cubic feet of bentonite was released, covering approximately a quarter of an acre of the surface. Once the operators of the drilling rig noticed a drop in pressure, the drilling was stopped. The area was immediately contained with straw bales, and clean-up crews were sent in with huge generators and pumps to suction the bentonite off the site. What the workers could not remove with the pumps was removed by getting on their hands and knees to scoop up what bentonite they could. Most of the bentonite was removed by those methods. Some of it eventually washed down stream through weathering away naturally. The IDNR has a Natural Resource Damages Assessment Program. This program allows the IDNR to pursue potentially responsible parties for damaging the State's natural resources. Rather than going through a long legal process, Lakehead Pipeline Company, the IDNR, and the INPC decided to settle out of court. Lakehead Pipeline Company worked cooperatively with the Commission staff and IDNR staff. They agreed to purchase 7 acres of Millhurst Fen and transfer ownership to the Department. They also purchased 12 acres located approximately 10 miles down stream on the Fox River, and they transferred ownership to the IDNR. They also gave $25,000 towards environmental education, monitoring, maintenance, and management. Approximately $14,000 of the settlement money may go towards controlling garlic mustard and reed canary grass, and things of this nature. Lakehead Pipeline Company is continuing to monitor the groundwater and the floristic quality as required by the U.S. EPA. They have two more years of required monitoring. It is hoped they will leave the monitoring wells in place so the IDNR and the Illinois State Water Survey can continue to gather useful data from the site. The IDNR is managing the 7-acre site strictly for its floristic quality and the habitat that it provides for the threatened and endangered species. There are no plans, other than an access trail down the steep slope, for the fen.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that this was the first opportunity that the Commission had to work with the IDNR's Natural Resource Damages Assessment Program. The IDNR is a co-trustee with the IEPA in that program. This was an instance where we were able to see the damage and immediately begin negotiations with the responsible party and come to a successful conclusion. Carolyn stated that Patti Malmborg Reilly worked hard on that project when she was the Commission's Northeastern Illinois Threats Coordinator.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Schneiderman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Millhurst Fen in Kendall County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-15) Logan Co. - Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 16)
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve. The proposed Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve, owned by Frank and Esther Bellrose, Ron Bellrose, and Sandra Miller Bellrose, is an approximately 106-acre tract that includes a 0.8-mile segment of Sugar Creek-Salt Creek Drainage Natural Area (INAI #1521) plus adjacent woodlands and grasslands. Sugar Creek is representative of the streams of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division and is recognized on the INAI for its high mussel diversity (at least 10 species). Sugar Creek, within the proposed nature preserve, currently maintains at least 17 mussel species plus a variety of high quality aquatic habitat types. Riparian lands within the proposed nature preserve help to maintain high quality stream conditions by functioning as a buffer against nutrient enrichment and soil erosion and by providing shading and organic matter input. These areas also provide essential wildlife habitat in an intensely agricultural landscape that is experiencing rapid home site development in some sections. If approved, the nature preserve would be the first protected section of the approximately 13-mile stream natural area, in addition to being the first dedicated nature preserve in Logan County. The INPC staff recommends preliminary approval of Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve as an Illinois Nature Preserve.
Tom stated that township road 2400N, including a bridge over Sugar Creek, passes through the proposed nature preserve. An abandoned dump exists near the former mining operation, and a gravel road leads from township road 2400N across the proposed nature preserve to the Bellrose home. This gravel road also leads to other Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields not being considered for dedication at this time. The landowners wish to retain an existing mowed path on the southern part of the proposed nature preserve. A management plan is currently being developed to address these issues, as well as restoration and protection of the stream system utilizing an ecosystem management approach.
Commissioner Fraker asked if this was the Sugar Creek that comes down from the Bloomington area.
Tom stated, "yes."
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he was very familiar with this area, and he felt it was a very significant site.
Glen Kruse stated that over the past 10 years he has assisted in the sampling of 200 different small stream locations around Illinois. Seventeen mussel species ties the record for the most species found in any one location. The number of individual mussels that were taken from this location was far greater than other stations that had 17 species.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve in Logan County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-16) Madison Co. - Poole Farm Addition to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve, Dedication(Actually presented after Item 14)
Debbie Newman presented a proposal on behalf of The Nature Institute for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Poole Farm addition to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve. The Nature Institute proposes to dedicate 7.25 acres of the Poole Farm as an addition to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve. The proposed addition also borders the 16.5-acre Oblate Father's Woods Nature Preserve. The Poole Farm, located in the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division, is a key parcel within the watershed of the stream that separates the Mississippi Sanctuary and Oblate Father's Woods. The site also completes the protection of the dry-mesic and mesic forest that is contiguous on all three properties. The complex of adjoining lands in the area, including John M. Olin Nature Preserve, Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary Nature Preserve Buffer, Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve, and Oblate Fathers Nature Preserve, comprise a total of 393 acres. This addition will increase the amount of contiguous preserved land to 400 acres. The preservation of the Poole Farm will also add more buffer to the nearby bald eagle winter roost on the John M. Olin Nature Preserve, and will preserve critical habitat for the state-threatened timber rattlesnake, which is found in the vicinity of the property.
It was moved by Burton, seconded by Fraker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the Poole Farm addition to Mississippi Sanctuary Nature Preserve as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
Vice-Chair Ellis recognized John Sommerhof of The Nature Institute. He thanked John and his staff for hosting a field trip for the INPC and staff on October 30, 2000.
Commissioner Fraker stated that local institutions such as The Nature Institute and Great Rivers Land Trust are the foundation which land protection is built on. He felt it was great to see a local institution being aggressive in protecting what needs to be protected in their area.
169-17) Will Co. - Addition of Buffer to Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kim Roman presented a proposal on behalf of the Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC) for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve. FPDWC proposes to dedicate 25.93 acres as buffer to Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve, bringing the total dedicated acreage of the site to over 300 acres. Braidwood Dunes and Savanna is an INAI site (#935) which lies in the Kankakee Sands Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The area's dune and swale topography support high quality sand prairie, sand savanna, sedge meadow, and marsh communities. Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve provides habitat for five state-listed species: regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia), false asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa), small sundew (Drosera intermedia), grass pink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus), and tubercled orchid (Plantanthera flava). The proposed buffer is comprised of an old field, dry-mesic sand savanna, and dry-mesic to mesic prairie. While a portion of the 25.93 acres was included on the original INAI, disturbance from past use is evident. The proposed addition would serve as important buffer to the higher quality natural communities within the existing Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve while the District restores the site to its original condition.
Kim stated that the FPDWC plans to construct a parking lot in the proposed buffer, along with a pedestrian trail to link up with the main trail within the existing nature preserve.
It was moved by Ranney, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-18) Will Co. - Addition of Buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Kim Roman presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve. Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve is an 800-acre site owned by the IDNR, FPDWC, and the villages of Park Forest and University Park. It is located in northeastern Will County, within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Approximately 500 acres of Thorn Creek Woods is included on the INAI (#933) for its grade B dry-mesic upland forest, and for providing habitat for state-listed species. The entire 500 acres of INAI forest, plus an additional 300 acres of bottomland forest, wooded ravines, seeps, and marshes have since been permanently protected through dedication as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Thorn Creek Woods is one of the largest forested areas in northeastern Illinois. The FPDWC has recently acquired an additional 76.8 acres south of the existing Nature Preserve and proposes to dedicate it as buffer. This will bring the total dedicated acreage to 877.4, making it the fifth largest site in the Illinois Nature Preserves system.
It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Ranney, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of buffer to Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
169-19) Clay Co. - Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve, Dedication
Terry Esker presented a proposal for final approval for the dedication of Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve. The proposed Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve is a 93.5-acre tract that is also known as Hanging Rock Sandstone Cliff Natural Area. This site was donated to the IDNR in 1999. Hanging Rock Sandstone Cliff is included on the INAI (#679) for its grade A sandstone cliff, grade B dry-mesic upland forest, and grade C wet-mesic floodplain forest representative of the Mt. Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The site was named for the extensive sandstone and shale cliffs that have been undercut by Raccoon Creek. These cliffs run for 700 yards along Raccoon Creek and are about 30 feet tall. The proposed nature preserve is a fragile natural community that supports over 375 species of plants and animals. The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 168th Meeting (Resolution #1546) in August, 2000.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Burton, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve in Clay County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 169th Meeting.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that in recognition of the donation to the IDNR by the heirs of Martin Thomas Snyder, the Department and the Commission went together and prepared plaques which read: "This token of appreciation is presented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to Mrs. Violet Snyder Misenhimer on this 31st day of October in the year 2000 in recognition of her generous character and her gift of a unique and irreplaceable natural area to the citizens of the State of Illinois. As a result of her conservation ethic and desire to preserve and protect a significant part of Illinois' natural heritage, the Martin T. Snyder Memorial Nature Preserve is hereby dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve." The plaque is signed by Brent Manning, Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Joyce O'Keefe, Chair of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. There is an identical plaque for Mrs. Leslie Snyder Wright. Carolyn asked Terry to see that the plaques were delivered.
169-20) Lake Co. - Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation
Randy Heidorn stated that there has been continued multiple Agency review and discussion with Johns Manville on the final resolution of how their property is going to be cleaned up and closed. There is also additional work occurring on the IDNR area where the asbestos contamination is found near the south end of Illinois Beach Nature Preserve.
The Waukegan Park District is interested in creating a sports complex on the Johns Manville property. The Park District hired a consultant, and the INPC issued permits for asbestos sampling in Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. This was done in coordination with the IDNR. In the area where asbestos contamination makes up an old road, the IDNR did not want a consultant to do any collecting because part of the remediation is to close that area to all use. The IDNR collected the samples for the Waukegan Park District. A report has not been received as of this date. Much of what was done was a repeat of the sampling that the IDNR had done approximately two years ago.
Randy stated that Johns Manville has been talking with the Waukegan Harbor Citizen's Advisory Group (CAG). There is a proposal (discussed for the last year and a half) that would involve depositing dredge material from Waukegan Harbor into a containment facility for asbestos on Johns Manville's property. There have been discussions on the technical aspect and data needs to find out whether or not this proposal would have an impact on the Nature Preserve. The Commission has a regulatory role in the siting of this landfill. The rules for landfill siting require that an applicant have documentation from the INPC that a landfill will not affect a nature preserve. That documentation has historically been in the form of a letter. This is the first time that there has been a nature preserve next to a proposed landfill. Once a request is made for documentation, a presentation will be made to the Commission. The Commission will then need to rule whether or not it believes there will be an impact on the Nature Preserve.
169-21) Update on Ad Hoc INPC Sign Committee
Commissioner Allread reported that at the 168th INPC Meeting, the Commission designated an Ad Hoc Committee to look at the INPC's signage to see if the Commission is projecting a consistent look that people recognize. The Committee is comprised of Commissioners Ranney, O'Keefe, and Allread, along with INPC Advisor Dr. Bruce McMillan and Randy Heidorn. The Committee has met several times. Each Commissioner received a copy of the Committee's recommended signs to review. There are 11 different signs which designate nature preserves, land and water reserves, natural heritage landmarks, and areas under the Cave Protection Act. Jill stated that Randy Heidorn has worked hard to put this packet together, and that once the Commission approves the sign language and layout, it will be in a position to look at setting up a plan regarding
how these signs can be implemented according to staff resources and financial resources. The sign changes were prompted because in the year 2001 the Commission will be dedicating its 300th Illinois nature preserve. The Commission would like to use that as a spring board to raise the visibility of the nature preserves and the INPC.
Commissioner Fraker stated that some of the signs have IDNR on them as well as INPC. He asked if this type of sign would be for the IDNR properties. He stated that he felt the proposed signs were great.
Randy Heidorn stated that the Commission has always had a special sign for the IDNR properties.
Commissioner Allread stated that the intent was to have the same type face and to have the INPC logo on all of the signs so people will recognize that the property is part of the nature preserve system.
Commissioner Schneiderman asked what the objective was. He wanted to know if the objective was to advertise or was it to try to control behavior with respect to the use of these areas.
Commissioner Allread stated that the signage has always been a way to control behavior because they do designate what is permitted or is not permitted.
Randy stated that there are two kinds of signs. There is the entrance sign which is intended to educate the user, along with a small amount of regulatory information. The entrance sign for Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve, used in the example, gives information about the site in the first two paragraphs. The last paragraph deals with behavior issues. The other signs, particularly the corner signs, are regulatory signs. There are two of those, and they get into specifics. The language on those signs are based on recommendations from the IDNR law enforcement.
Commissioner Allread stated that the entrance signs were important in helping to educate the public about the specific site as well as what a nature preserve was.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that contents and appearance of the signs is one issue, but the posting of the sign is another question. He stated that it has been his experience, from looking at nature preserves particularly in the Chicago area, that the nature preserves are very poorly signed, if at all. There are either no signs, or there are only occasional signs. The Cook County Forest Preserve District is probably, in his experience, the worst in terms of posting its nature preserves. Having a nice sign is not going to do any good if they are not visible. He wanted to know if he was talking to the wrong committee to ensure the signs get posted.
Commissioner Allread stated that this committee was charged at looking at the design and at whether the correct message was conveyed. She felt that the committee could take the next step as well because it has to look at the implementation. The implementation is at the staff level, and she felt that was the next step. There will be financial limitations on how much can be done right away. She stated it was the committee's hope that sometime in the next 3-5 years all of the areas would have the new signs.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that if there is something about the design or the wording of the sign which complicates the business of getting them used and posted, then that issue needs to be considered in the design of the sign. He felt that talking with law enforcement was excellent. He wondered to what extent were the large public owners of nature preserves consulted about these designs functions.
Randy stated that in terms of this specific design, he did not think they were consulted. The verbiage has not changed much from what we have had over the years, and the IDNR played a role in those discussions. In terms of how it is supposed to be displayed and used, that is an ongoing discussion with the landowners. There is a rule in the Rules for Management that talks about one sign every 330 feet on the boundary. Beyond that, there are no specifications. It has been the practice to have a corner sign and a boundary line sign. There is also the issue of availability. The more attractive the signs, the more rapidly they get stolen. Approximately 10% of the old signs would disappear each year.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that having the sign read, "disturbances are strictly regulated," is different from saying, "don't touch, don't take." The Ten Commandments are written in very clear language, and the sign language has a kind of lawyer's approach to the problem, "is subject to registration rules." The very notion of a what a registration rule is not a phrase that has meaning to ordinary folks. He felt that in this context he was not sure that it had meaning to him. If what we are trying to do is to protect what is inside these boundaries, he felt the Commission needed to be very clear about what people cannot do when they cross that boundary. He did not feel that these signs were clear to him, much less to the general public. If there are things that a person cannot do, then the sign should say don't do it. He felt the sign needed to be precise and clear.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that it was better to say do not disturb or remove anything than to have a big list of don'ts.
Carolyn Grosboll stated that one of the reasons Commissioner O'Keefe asked that there be an Ad Hoc Committee was because she felt that there were too many negatives in the current sign.
Randy stated that the committee was struggling with the registered land and water reserve sign because every registered reserve has a different set of rules which are specified in the site management plan. For example, hunting is allowed at some reserves, and not in others.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he wanted to talk about the nature preserve corner sign. He said he was a lawyer, and one could expect him to think like a lawyer when reading the sign. The sign says that "everything is protected by law." The sign then gives a list of things that are prohibited. The statement "everything is protected by law" may not have a lot of meaning to the public. The sign also says that weapons, vehicles, pets, horses, and camping are prohibited, but it does not say pulling up the plants and killing the animals is prohibited. He realized that people do not want to be negative, but the business that we are in has a negative spin to it. We are regulatory, and that is why we do what we do. We want to stop people from doing things. He did not feel that this sign is sufficiently clear to notify the common, ordinary person of what they are not supposed to do.
Commissioner Burton stated that she would rather the sign say "no hunting" instead of "no weapons." From her experience, poaching and hunting were the issues that the Commission needs to address at John M. Olin Nature Preserve. She felt that hunting was an important word.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that poaching and hunting were two different things.
Carolyn stated that hunting is sometimes allowed if it is part of the management program. If it can be documented that the deer are doing damage to the significant natural features, deer hunting is allowed in a nature preserve.
Commissioner Burton stated that the "no hunting" could be qualified by saying "no unauthorized hunting."
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that one sign says "no weapons," so why couldn't "no hunting" be added. He stated that he was not trying to solve the problem here. A sign has a purpose. One purpose is advertising, and he felt that these signs were good at that. Another purpose is regulatory, and he was not sure that these signs were good at that.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that there is a cost factor that needs to be considered. If each sign is individually designed for each piece of property, the cost will be great. He felt that at some point things have to be generic in nature.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he was concerned about how things are stated on the signs, not with what it says.
Commissioner Ranney stated that these signs are being presented by the committee to the Commission, and that the objective is to get these approved by the 300th dedication. She suggested that the Commission defer the voting on these particular signs until members of the Commission have had a chance to read them and come back with better verbiage.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if it would be better if the wording on the entrance signs, said "do not disturb or remove anything" instead of saying "everything is protected by law."
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that he would agree with that suggestion.
Commissioner Allread stated that the sign could say that "everything in this area is protected by law" and "disturbance or removal of anything is prohibited."
Commissioner Allread stated that one of the Committee's challenges was to try to say everything with as few words as possible, but still keep enough regulatory language in so that it can withstand legal challenges.
Randy stated that the language on the corner sign is the same as it always has been with the exception of changing "firearm" to "weapon."
Commissioner Schneiderman asked if those signs are currently effective.
Randy stated that he felt that the corner signs were effective.
Don McFall stated that the signs address those things that the Commission has experienced as violations that commonly occur.
Commissioner Schneiderman stated that if those words work, that answers his concern.
Carolyn stated that "weapon" was used instead of "firearm" because in the Public Use Rules it says that "it is unlawful for any person to possess a firearm, airgun, slingshot, bow and arrow, or any other weapon within the boundaries of a dedicated nature preserve, except authorized peace officers and as authorized for management control measures for wildlife population..." The word "weapon" was chosen because the Rules specifically mentioned "or any other weapon."
Commissioner Nevling stated that one of the things that he always sees whenever going onto any IDNR properties is a sign saying "no alcohol," and he would suggest that this be added to the sign.
Carolyn stated that the Public Use Rules say that, "It is prohibited for any person to possess or consume or be under the influence of intoxicating beverages," so it would be appropriate to add that language.
Commissioner Ranney suggested that the Commission cannot rewrite the signs as a committee of the whole now. The Commissioners should think this over and get back to Commissioner Allread within one week.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that there may be things that are illegal, but have not been a problem in a nature preserve. For example, he had never heard of a problem with drinking in a nature preserve, and he did not see the reason to add this to the sign.
Commissioner Burton stated that the use of alcohol does occur in some of the nature preserves.
Vice-Chair Ellis suggested that this discussion be continued as an agenda item for the next meeting.
Carolyn asked if the Commissioners would prefer to discuss this issue at the Staff Meeting to be held on February 5, 2001.
Commissioner Burton stated that since there are many different public and private owners of these protected properties, it might be possible to leave the option open for the managers of individual preserves to suggest and pay for signage that would address their specific issues. The suggested language and use of the logo would be subject to approval of the INPC staff.
Don stated that the Commission realizes that the informational signage has to be tailor-made, and the regulatory part might have to be as well.
Randy stated that individual site signs would increase the cost. The old entrance signs cost approximately $15 per sign. Adding color or specialized wording requires an additional screen. Each screen adds approximately 20% to the cost. The new, 5-color, large signs with individual wording would cost approximately $130 each. If we would go to site specific regulatory signs, the overall cost of replacing signs would be significantly higher.
Commissioner Ranney wondered when a sign stated that "everything is protected by law," how would the person find more information about what that law is, because there is no telephone number on the sign to allow that person to obtain more information.
Commissioner Fraker stated that the signs do not include verbiage about no trespassing. He asked if these signs were only placed on public access nature preserves. He said that several nature preserves are not open to the public.
Randy stated that a way to address that issue is to place a second sentence underneath the triangle which reads, "Entry by permit only." He said that most of the owners are posting their own no trespassing sign if appropriate.
Commissioner Fraker stated that if he sees a sign that says he cannot hunt, cannot drink, he cannot do this and he cannot do that, he assumes that he can go onto the property. He stated that he could think of several nature preserves where the landowners do not expect the Commission to be inviting the public to come wander around.
Don stated that this is the case with nearly all the private nature preserves.
Commissioner Fraker asked if these private nature preserves were signed or was signage left up to the landowner.
Randy stated that the signs are provided to the owner. Under the Rules for Management, the preserve needs to be signed.
Carolyn stated that the draft entrance sign for the private nature preserve says "visitors are welcome."
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that the entrance sign will change for each individual area. The verbiage could be changed to address the trespass issue.
Commissioner Allread stated that the language will change each time, and that is why the cost of the sign goes from $15 to $130. It was felt that it was important to give specific information as a part of the public education effort.
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that a "no trespassing sign, except by permission only," could be developed for the private landowner.
Randy stated that an additional sign would not be a problem.
Commissioner Fraker stated that the entrance sign could be modified to say that "no admittance except with permission."
Vice-Chair Ellis stated that the matter will go back to the Ad Hoc Committee, and any comments should be forwarded to Commissioner Allread in an expeditious manner. The Commission will further discuss this issue at its February 6, 2001 meeting.
Commissioner Allread asked if any of the Commissioners had a concern about the design element or is it strictly the language that the Committee should revisit.
The Commissioners felt that the design and concept for the entry sign was great, and the only concern was refining the language.
Dr. Bruce McMillan stated that he was pleased to hear that the Commission liked the design because the State Museum just lost their designer. She took another position two weeks ago.
Commissioner Allread thanked Dr. McMillan for his help on this project.
169-22) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
Henry Eilers stated that one of his concerns has dealt with management of natural areas. As he traveled Illinois this year, from JoDaviess County to Pope County, he was struck by the fact that the State's natural areas, woodlands, and anything that is left of our natural history is becoming increasingly impacted by outside influences. To counteract some of these outside influences, there is probably nothing as important as the use of fire in our ecosystems. He would like to, as a citizen, have the Commission contact others in State government to bring its enthusiasm to those people to encourage a strong fire management program in Illinois. He stated that he would like to see a strong push in both the public and private sectors to initiate and work through a strong burn program. He felt that this would enable the Volunteer Stewardship Network to get its work done.
169-23) Other Business
There was no other business.
It was moved by Fraker, seconded by Schwegman, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.