Minutes of the 177th Meeting

(subject to approval of Commission at 178th Meeting)

Macon County Conservation District
Rock Springs Center
3939 Nearing Lane
Decatur, Illinois
Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 10:00 a.m.

INDEX


AREAS    ITEM

Douglas Co. – Upper Embarras Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Effingham Co. – Rock Cave Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Hancock Co. – Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Johnson Co. – Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Knox Co. – Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

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

Cook Co. – Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Cook Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

Tazewell Co. – McCoy Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

Marshall Co. – Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

McHenry Co. – Amberin Ash Ridge Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

COMMISSION AFFAIRS

Call to Order

Adoption of Agenda

Approval of the Minutes of the 176th Meeting, August 6, 2002

Next Meeting Schedule

INPC Staff Report

IDNR Staff Report

Vegetation Management Guidelines

Public Comment Period

Other Business

Adjournment

177-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees

At 10:15 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Allread, the meeting began.

Carolyn Grosboll gave the roll call.

Members present: Jill Allread, Harry Drucker, Lorin Nevling, Joyce O’Keefe, Jill Riddell, Bruce Ross-Shannon, John Schwegman and John Sommerhof.

Members absent: Kristi DeLaurentiis.

Others present: Loretta Arient, Steven Byers, Bob Edgin, Carolyn Grosboll, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Tammie McKay, Angella Moorehouse, John Nelson, Kelly Neal, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Terry Esker, Fran Harty, Glen Kruse, Brian Reilly, and Eric Smith, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Carl Becker, Steve Davis, and Keith Shank, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), IDNR; John Bouseman, Illinois Natural History Survey, IDNR; Michael Miller, Illinois State Geological Survey; George Rose and Barb Traeger, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society (IAS) and INPC Consultant; Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board and former INPC Chair; Kathy Merner, Macon County Conservation District ; Karen Billo, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Ellen Gibbons, representing Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve; Deborah Staley, representing Amberin Ash Ridge Nature Preserve; Roger Beadles, representing Beadles Barrens Nature Preserve.

Chair Allread, on behalf of the Commission, thanked Kathy Merner and the Macon County Conservation District for the use of their facility for this meeting.

Kathy Merner stated that it was Macon County Conservation District’s pleasure to host the Commission. She stated that everyone was invited to visit the exhibits in the Rock Springs Nature Center.

Chair Allread stated that the Commission would like to extend a special thank you to Fran Harty and Eric Smith for organizing the activities on Monday, October 28, 2002, which included a discussion on the history of Allerton Park by David Bowman, Director of the Park, and a presentation on the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake by Dr. Chris Phillips of the Illinois Natural History Survey. Chair Allread also thanked Commissioner Nevling, along with his wife, Janet, for the meal they hosted at their home Monday evening.

177-2) Adoption of Agenda

Carolyn Grosboll stated that Item 10, Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve registration, will be deferred at the request of the landowner.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Nevling and carried that the Agenda, as amended, be adopted.

177-3) Approval of Minutes of the 176th Meeting, August 6, 2002

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the Minutes of the 176th Meeting, August 6, 2002, be approved.

Chair Allread reported that at the 176th Meeting of the INPC, held at Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria on August 6, 2002, legal protection for nine tracts of land, totaling 707 acres, was approved by the Commission. Four of the nine areas are owned by private individuals who donated the value of the protection agreement to the public. One area is owned by a not-for-profit conservation organization that also donated the value of the agreement. The dollar value of the five tracts of private land is $400,000 based on conservative estimates of the fair market value of the land. The private land was permanently preserved without acquisition of the land by the State. Private lands protected without State acquisition at the 176th Meeting of the INPC include Charles “Chinee” Colvin Sand Prairie Land and Water Reserve in Cass County, 40 acres; Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve in Logan County, 70 acres; addition to Sandra Miller Bellrose Nature Preserve in Logan County, 1 acre; Lee Miglin Savanna Addition to Boone Creek Fen Nature Preserve in McHenry County, 22.95 acres; and Thomas W. And Elizabeth Moews Dore Seep Nature Preserve in Putnam County, 26 acres. A total of 160 acres of private land was protected. Protection of this land came about because the INPC has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 311 dedicated nature preserves in 79 counties, totaling 42,463 acres. There are 73 land and water reserves in 42 counties, totaling 23,590 acres.

177-4) Next Meeting Schedule

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

177-5) INPC Staff Report

Carolyn Grosboll stated that there is little money available for stewardship projects after the reduction in the portion of the real estate transfer tax going into the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF). Given that reduction, staff have been trying to be creative to identify new sources of money to cover this shortfall. One possible source is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). Congress appropriated $40 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for this program in Fiscal Year 2002. Illinois is eligible to receive approximately $1.7 million. She stated that the Commission is in the process of writing a grant proposal which has a deadline of December 2, 2002.

Ms. Grosboll stated that according to the Federal Register, the primary objective of the LIP is to establish or supplement state landowner incentive programs that enhance, protect, or restore habitats that benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate species or other species at risk such as

state-listed species, and provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners for habitat protection and restoration. This money is only available to private landowners, and the Commission has identified 244 privately owned sites that are either dedicated as nature preserves, registered as land and water reserves, or enrolled in the natural heritage landmark program. Field staff are currently working to put together a list of possible projects that we can submit along with the grant. The request will also include monies for two private land stewardship coordinators. These coordinator positions were discussed in the Commission’s Strategic Plan. These coordinators would be located in the field, and they would coordinate the contracts with the landowners and the private contractors that would do the stewardship work. She stated that it is hoped that this grant will be awarded in order to fill in the gaps until we can get the NAAF portion of the real estate transfer tax restored.

There is another U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stewardship program that is similar to LIP, but only private landowners themselves can apply. Congress appropriated $10 million for the Private Stewardship Grant Program, and Region 3 U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s share, which includes Illinois, is $940,000. There are eight states in Region 3, so Illinois will be competing with seven other states for the money. The INPC field staff have been encouraged to identify at least one landowner in their area that they could work with to have the landowner submit a project. The match for this program is only 10% which can be in-kind contributions. The LIP has a match of 25%, and that can also be met by using staff time or other in-kind contributions.

Ms. Grosboll reported on a possible threat to Carl Fliermans’ River Nature Preserve pertaining to a proposed expansion of the Riola Mine owned by Black Beauty Coal Company. This is the mining permit that was issued last year which resulted in a lawsuit by Prairie Rivers Network. The proposed expansion includes approximately 2,500 acres, all underground, including under Carl Fliermans’ River Nature Preserve. The company is not planning to do any subsidence. The application shows that the company is planning to use the room and pillar mining method. The Fliermans family did not own the mineral rights at the time of dedication. A letter will be sent to the Office of Mines and Minerals expressing concerns about any possible subsidence at the surface of the Nature Preserve.

Ms. Grosboll stated that a member of the INPC staff recently celebrated 20 years of service. She presented Randy Heidorn with a 20-year service pin and a pen and pencil set. She congratulated Mr. Heidorn on his years of service.

John Nelson reported on the ongoing threats to nature preserves in northeastern Illinois. He stated that the topics he will be discussing involve: Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve and Bluff City Materials in Cook County; Parker Fen Nature Preserve and the Ladd Development in McHenry County; Exner Marsh Nature Preserve and Parr Development, which is also known as the Walgreen’s Development, in McHenry County; Boone Creek Fen Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site (INAI) and Nature Preserve and Sanctuary of Bull Valley in McHenry County; and Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve intrusions in Lake County.

Bluff Spring Fen is a calcareous fen which is fed by groundwater. The groundwater comes primarily from the east, northeast, and the south. It was reported at the 176th Meeting of the INPC that a proposed mining operation located to the south of the Fen would involve an open quarry operation which would require pumping vast quantities of groundwater in order to obtain the limestone that is deep underground. This would result in a cone of depression around this site and would likely divert groundwater flows away from Bluff Spring Fen resulting in not only elimination of some of the recharge area for the Fen, but complete interruption of the surficial aquifer that supplies Bluff Spring Fen. The groundwater coming from other parts of the region would be directed south away from the Fen. This was a serious threat. However, Bluff City Materials has now proposed to use deep mining technology rather than an open quarry pit to the south of the Fen. Gifford Lake, located to the east of the Nature Preserve, is also owned by Bluff City Materials, and it is proposed for future development. Bluff City Materials would like to mine the remaining sand and gravel out of that site and then backfill a portion of Gifford Lake so it can be used for commercial development and light industrial use. A portion of the site would remain as a lake and would be used as a recreational area for the City of South Elgin. A meeting was held with the IDNR, INPC, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Bluff City Materials on September 12, 2002. The meeting was hosted at a deep mining site in Aurora, Illinois, in similar strata to what is found at Bluff Spring Fen. The deep mining method poses much less of a threat to Bluff Spring Fen than the open pit method because the limestone is below a 65-foot deep layer of silt and clay that serves as an aquitard. The groundwater does not travel through the aquitard into the limestone. It is so dry in the deep mine that in order to obtain water the company had to use a reverse drill to drill up. There is no permit needed for this type of mine. One of the main concerns regarding this technology is the location of the mine portal. The entrance will interrupt the surficial aquifer. Confirmation of similar geologic conditions to what was seen in Aurora needs to be obtained. The deep mine entryway needs to be designed properly. Also, the surface mining of sand and gravel at the Gifford Lake site could affect groundwater quality that is feeding the Fen. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) classifies asphalt as a clean material. If asphalt is dumped into Gifford Lake as backfill material, it could be a threat to the groundwater quality. In addition, there is an outstanding issue with the surface discharge currently coming from Gifford Lake causing down-cutting within the Nature Preserve. Mr. Nelson stated that the Commission staff is in active communication with representatives of the mining company and the Survey scientists.

Mr. Nelson stated that the next issue deals with the Parker Fen INAI site and the proposed Ladd Development. There is a nesting site adjacent to the proposed development for a pair of state-threatened sandhill cranes that has been used by the cranes five out of the last six years. The IDNR recommends an 800-foot disturbance free buffer zone around a nesting site. The development proposes to have three homes within that buffer. The Commission has recommended that those three houses be dropped from the development. There are already homes within the 800-foot buffer so these sandhill cranes are not following the IDNR recommendations, but it is still felt that bringing in additional homes and the disturbances associated with those homes would result in the site being abandoned as a nesting site. Mr. Nelson stated that he attended public hearings on this issue. The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the development, and it went to the full County Board. Mr. Nelson stated that he wrote a letter to the Chairman of the County Board and copied all 24 Board Members. Five votes were needed to overturn the Zoning Board of Appeals decision, but only four votes were received. This development is approximately two years away from construction. The developer still needs to go to the Village of Bull Valley to get approval.

Commissioner O’Keefe asked if the sandhill crane nesting area was on the dedicated portion of Parker Fen.

Mr. Nelson stated that the nesting site is not on the dedicated nature preserve. It is located to the southeast, but the wetland complex containing the nesting site is part of the Parker Fen INAI site. The reason that the area is on the INAI is because of the presence of the listed species.

Mr. Nelson updated the Commission on a threat at Exner Marsh Nature Preserve related to the Blanding’s turtle population. Exner Marsh Nature Preserve is almost completely surrounded by a residential development. The last remaining potential upland nesting area for the Blanding’s turtle is the Walgreen’s site and a proposed golf course. Mr. Nelson stated that Commission staff have been working closely with the developer to come up with an environmentally friendly design that would take the Blanding’s turtle into consideration. The IDNR requested that the developer apply for an Incidental Take Authorization from the IDNR, and the developer has done so. The conservation plan is currently being reviewed by the public and other natural resource agencies, and the review for that ends on October 30, 2002. It has been recommended that the developer pull out Lots 10 and 11, but it is difficult to convince the developer of the ecological benefits of doing this. The Commission has been working with the McHenry County Conservation District and Walgreen’s to come up with a way to partner funds so that the developer does not have to carry the entire burden. The Commission has also been in communication with the Village of Lake-in-the-Hills who has to approve the development. Part of the conservation plan should incorporate artificial nesting sites for the Blanding’s turtle located around Exner Marsh Nature Preserve. There are also opportunities to locate artificial nesting sites around the proposed golf course.

Mr. Nelson stated that the next item relates to Boone Creek Fen and the Sanctuary at Bull Valley development. The proposed development is 300 acres which is right in the middle of the recharge area for Boone Creek Fen INAI. This piece of land is kettle moraine topography, and there is no surface drainage off the site. All the water either goes into the ground or back into the atmosphere. There is great concern about protecting the kettle features for the recharge function. As it stands now, the main kettles on the site will not be developed. Originally, the developer wanted to line these with bentonite, a hard clay, then turn them into lakes and ponds. Instead, they will be vegetated with mesic prairie vegetation in the bottom and surrounded by drier prairie mix along the edges. Prior to a decision on whether to approve the development, there were five months of public hearings before the Planning Commission of Woodstock. The Planning Commission was not pleased with this development because it was not environmentally friendly. The Boone Creek Watershed Alliance was very active in educating the panel about recharge issues. The INPC staff testified, and experts from the Illinois State Water Survey wrote letters. The developer hired hydrologists. In the end, the Woodstock Planning Commission voted against the development 7-2. This was encouraging at the time, but it had to go before the full City Council for a final vote. The City Council voted 5-1 in favor of the development. They were one vote short of supporting the Planning Commission. The business community around Woodstock rallied to the developer, and this became a growth versus anti-growth issue. There was considerable fallout from this. Because the Planning Commission had such lengthy hearings and the City Council made their decision in a few hours on one night, suspicion was raised. However, Mr. Nelson stated that there is some good that came out of this. The annexation agreement for the development adopted nine of the 11 IDNR recommendations in order to minimize impacts to Boone Creek Fen. The development encourages overland flow of water. They have adopted a curb and gutter design that allows storm water runoff from the streets to go through vegetated swales. Mr. Nelson stated that 40% of the site will be restricted open space and be restored to grassland and savanna. The entire development in kettle terrain will be provided with public sewer service, not septics.

Finally, Mr. Nelson reported that Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve, in Lake County, is a sanctuary for birds. He stated that Brad Semel, a District Heritage Biologist, noticed that some of the trees in the Land and Water Reserve had been cut and a portion of the grass had been mowed, and Mr. Semel reported this to the Commission. It was also discovered that six other neighboring landowners had been mowing similar sized areas and cutting down trees. There is one neighbor that is honoring the property line. A total of approximately five acres of land has been encroached upon. The owners committing this intrusion have been identified, and cease and desist orders have been sent to these individuals. Damage assessment has been done with regard to the trees and grass, and satisfactory mitigation and compensation will be determined. Mr. Nelson stated that a fence may be requested and installed at the neighbors’ expense.

Carolyn Grosboll stated that the Commission has been able to document this encroachment, and it is hoped that we can send a message that this action will not be tolerated. The letter sent to the homeowners advised them to contact the IDNR’s legal office to determine what can be done to restore the area or the matter would be turned over to the prosecutorial authority. A Conservation Police Officer has visited the site and has documented the intrusion. We learned that one landowner hired someone to come in and till the soil and plant turf grass. Using forestry standards, the value of the trees removed was determined, and it is hoped that the trees will be replanted next spring.

Commissioner O’Keefe asked the Commission staff to stay on top of this issue and to follow through with the restitution and restoration of the property.

Commissioner Riddell stated that she agreed with Commissioner O’Keefe’s comments, and she felt that it may be appropriate to have media coverage of this issue.

Commissioner Drucker stated that he finds this encroachment outrageous. The Commission is careful to respect private property rights, and it should demand that people do likewise for the public property that it is entrusted to protect. He stated that some form of a lien should be placed on the individual property involved in this encroachment to prevent the person who did the damage from selling their house and not paying for the damage.

Ms. Grosboll stated that the landowners have until November 18, 2002, to respond. If they are not willing to comply, the Illinois Attorney General’s office will be brought in to pursue a more formal action against them.

Mr. Nelson stated that a fence with posting of the property lines would be a reminder to a new homeowner. Currently, there is no fence or posting of the boundaries because that was part of the sale agreement of this land when it was purchased by the IDNR in 1992. There are restrictive covenants against the IDNR putting up any permanent structures, and there is some question as to whether a fence is a permanent structure. Since these homeowners violated the spirit of that agreement, a fence may be able to be installed. If the property owners do not install a split rail fence, then the IDNR may put up a wire mesh fence to secure the border.

Keith Shank of the Division of Resource Review and Coordination, IDNR, stated that there have been a series of lawsuits involving the Village of Antioch, which have been recently settled, that have held up developments in this area. There are 3,000 housing units slated to go up in the immediate vicinity of Redwing Slough in the next couple of years, and many of those lots will abut the boundary of Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve. He stated that it is important for the Commission to set an example that encroachment will not be tolerated. Smaller developments that have been proposed will have a population of 300 children between the ages of five and 18. There will be other types of encroachment related to this.

Mr. Nelson stated that Redwing Slough Land and Water Reserve is considered a selling feature for the developers.

Commissioner Drucker asked if there is any responsibility on the part of the entity creating the problem at Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve to bear some of the costs of determining what impact this will have on the Nature Preserve.

Ms. Grosboll stated that this situation is unique because if the underground mining method is used, no permit is needed. The Commission is in the process of finalizing a letter that will be sent to Bluff City Materials to outline the outstanding concerns and ask for more information.

Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that there may be some liability on behalf of the mining company due to the mud runoff. He asked that if fines are paid, where would the money go. He asked if the money would be earmarked for the Commission or would it go into a general fund.

Ms. Grosboll stated that in the past the Commission has been successful in getting money put into the Wildlife Preservation Fund. The Commission then has some control over how that money is used. The NAAF is not set up to accept monies like that.

Don McFall stated that Kim Roman assisted in the recovery of the Eastern prairie white fringed orchid by coordinating seed introductions into 14 prairie sites. Approximately ten of these sites are either nature preserves or land and water reserves. The Eastern prairie white fringed orchid is listed as a federally-threatened and state-endangered species. The source of seed for the re- introductions was a nature preserve and a natural heritage landmark.

Mr. McFall stated that Debbie Newman joined The Nature Institute to conduct an educational program at Principia College about conservation needs of timber rattlesnakes in the area of Monroe and St. Clair counties.

Mr. McFall stated that Steven Byers was the featured speaker at the Fox River Alliance. Mr. Byers presented a program on the natural resources associated with the Fox River watershed in northeastern Illinois. The Fox River Alliance is a coalition of not-for-profit organizations that are working to raise the awareness and need for broad scale land protection in the Fox River watershed. The Fox River Alliance is made up of the Land Foundation of McHenry County, The Conservation Foundation, Fox Valley Land Foundation, Citizens for Conservation, Boone Creek Watershed Alliance, CorLands, and others.

Mr. McFall stated that Steven Byers was able to take advantage of an intern program that was offered by Roosevelt University in Chicago. A student intern helped Mr. Byers with field and office work.

Randy Heidorn updated the Commission on the groundwater contamination at Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve and Sterne’s Fen Nature Preserve. He stated that Precision Twist Company of Crystal Lake had a discharge of cleaning solvents that was detected in the groundwater of Wingate Prairie and was found discharging into Sterne’s Fen Nature Preserve which is to the north of Wingate Prairie Nature Preserve. A package was put together which identified alleged violations of the Natural Areas Preservation Act and given to the IDNR legal office. It was subsequently submitted to the Attorney General’s Office for action. As of the middle of September, it had been assigned to an Assistant Attorney General.

Mr. Heidorn stated that he has been dealing with West Nile Virus issues especially as they relate to bird populations. Crows, blue jays, and owls have been impacted. Squirrels, primarily gray squirrels, have also tested positive for the West Nile Virus. These are all in addition to the large number of horse impacts and human impacts reported in the media. In August, 2002, the Governor assembled a task force consisting of members from the Department of Agriculture, the IDNR, the Department of Public Health, and the IEPA. Mr. Heidorn stated that he was asked to participate on this task force to insure that the interests of the Nature Preserves System were addressed in any efforts that were done to control mosquitoes or to work with the epizootic. The mission of the task force was to provide education materials to the public for mosquito control, to encourage implementation of monitoring of wildlife species and birds, monitor presence of mosquitoes in various bodies of water that were infected, provide training to personnel to apply larvicide briquettes, distribute money to local agencies for control of mosquitoes, to monitor the process of the epizootic, to implement recommendations on how to address and mitigate the impacts of the epizootic, and to make plans for next year. The role of the Commission was to implement and inform the agencies about its mosquito control policy. The Commission has a very well thought-out policy, developed by Dr. Brian Anderson, former INPC Director, on the control of mosquitoes. The policy calls for personal protection for people who are in nature preserves. Larvicide control is authorized under the policy if the mosquitoes that can carry the virus are present, if the disease agent is present, and if there is human morbidity or sick people in the area. Adulticide and aerial control are allowed only with special permission, if there is a proven connection of human morbidity in the nearby human population to the nature preserve. He stated that it has been his responsibility to work with forest preserve districts, park districts, or county health departments to make them aware of the Commission’s policy and to work with them before any action was taken within a nature preserve. He stated that the IDNR has formed its own task force to deal with issues that will arise next year, and he will be involved in that. The first meeting of this task force will be next week.

Mr. Heidorn stated that the Commission has a policy that allows for establishment of deer management programs which are based on vegetation monitoring. If the monitoring shows excessive impact that is targeting resources that are to be protected, lethal control of the deer is authorized. The method of lethal control is dependant on the landowner. The IDNR uses a variety of hunting methods at its sites, including archery and firearm control. There are currently deer management programs at the following sites: New programs for 2002 - Moraine Hills State Park, including portions of Kettle Moraine Nature Preserve, which will be held during the regular deer season; Horseshoe Lake Nature Preserve, which has been expanded to a two-day hunt held during the last weekend of October; Ongoing programs - Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve; Beall Woods State Park which includes Beall Woods Nature Preserve; Castle Rock State Park which includes George B. Fell Nature Preserve; and Starved Rock State Park which includes Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve and Starved Rock Nature Preserve.

The Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) held its quarterly meeting of the Steering Committee on October 23, 2002. They continue to work on their Strategic Plan. The VSN expressed concern about the need to restore the NAAF.

Mr. Heidorn updated the Commission on a fish kill at Edgewood Farm Land and Water Reserve which was part of the sizeable fish kill that occurred in Champaign County as the result of a discharge of ammonia from work that was being done at the University of Illinois. This discharge affected a large part of the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River. The Attorney General has filed suit regarding the discharge that caused the fish kill. However, the suit did not include any violations of the Natural Areas Preservation Act or violations of the Endangered Species Protection Act. The IDNR has indicated that they were going to talk with the Attorney General and try to get these Acts involved with the entire discussion of the settlement.

Commissioner O’Keefe asked if any of the land managers, such as the forest preserve districts that own nature preserves, were on the committee addressing the West Nile Virus. She stated that the Lake County Forest Preserve District agreed to do some type of mosquito control at the end of the summer under pressure from the mosquito abatement district in that area.

Mr. Heidorn stated that he has been in communication with the Lake County Forest Preserve District regarding the Commission’s policy. They implemented a similar approach in their natural areas.

Marilyn Campbell stated that the Illinois Audubon Society has been inundated with questions on the West Nile Virus from Chicago area radio stations, newspapers, and others around the State.

Mr. Heidorn stated the IDNR, within the Natural History Survey, has some of the leading scientists involved in mosquito-born diseases. He stated that it is important that the Committee maximize the resources available to it.

177-6) IDNR Staff Report

Glen Kruse stated that progress has been made on appointments to the Endangered Species Protection Board. The Governor’s office has approved the list of nominees that were submitted, and the final paperwork is being done to get these individuals in place as Board Members. The Endangered Species Protection Board will consist of four continuing members, those being Dan Gooch, Judy Mendelson, John Clemetsen, and John Ebinger. The five new members include Marilyn Campbell, Chris Phillips, Jim Herkert, Susanne Masi, and Richard Anderson.

Mr. Kruse stated that Bill McClain will be retiring at the end of this calendar year. Mr. McClain is the natural areas program manager within the Division of Resource Review and Coordination. Kirby Cottrell, Director of ORC, will also retire at the end of this calendar year. Mr. Kruse stated that two positions have been posted for possible interviews. The Avian Ecologist position has been vacant since the retirement of Vern Kleen a few years ago. This position has been moved to the Division of Wildlife Program Development. One of the vacant District Heritage Biologist positions in Madison County has also been posted.

The Wildlife Preservation Fund did well last tax year. As of September 20, 2002, donations totaled $244,329. That put the Fund in first place over the six check-offs. He stated that he would like to develop a telephone survey around the State to determine ways to boost the revenue even further.

Mr. Kruse stated that the attempt to bring whooping cranes back to the eastern United States is underway in the midwest. Birds are being lead from Wisconsin to Florida by ultralight aircraft. The cranes made their first flight away from the refuge in central Wisconsin on October 13, 2002. They reached Ogle County on Saturday, October 26, 2002, and LaSalle County on Sunday, October 27, 2002. They are making slow progress toward their Florida wintering grounds. There are currently 12 cranes following the ultralights. There were 16 when they left Wisconsin. A few have refused to keep flying and are being moved in crates. One was injured in a collision with an ultralight, and it was euthanized after several days of failing to recover. Daily updates are available on the progress of this migration on the internet. The site can be found by going to “bringbackthecranes.org.”

Brian Reilly stated that the 26th meeting of the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee was held on October 8, 2002. Issues at forty-nine sites were addressed at that meeting. Five new sites were added to the INAI: Hennepin Canal - Wyanet Prairie in Bureau County; Marseilles North in LaSalle County; Paloma Railroad Prairie in Adams County; Niota Geological Area in Hancock County; and Greendale Railroad Prairie in Clay County. Three sites were deleted from the INAI because there was no longer any distinguishing features: Xenia Railroad Prairie in Clay County; Alma Railroad Prairie in Marion County; and Salem-Leckrone Railroad Prairie in Marion County. Mr. Reilly stated that 29 sites had boundary changes approved resulting from a project done jointly with Lake County Mapping Service. The boundaries of all 71 INAI sites in the county were revised using high-tech GIS capabilities. The remaining changes will be nominated at future meetings.

Mr. Reilly stated that Patti Reilly is working on the Standards and Guidelines for the INAI. A final draft has been submitted to the Director’s office for approval. Once approved, the Standards and Guidelines for the INAI will be an official IDNR document. There is a community classification within this document which classifies all of the INAI sites.

Mr. Reilly stated that while there were major NAAF budget cuts, there was some rollover money reappropriated for land acquisition. Using the NAAF, the IDNR acquired ten acres in Ogle County which will be added to Pine Rock Nature Preserve. Sixty-five acres at the Cache River in Pulaski County were acquired. Also acquired were 70 acres at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Jasper County, 120 acres at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Marion County, and 30 acres at Iroquois County Conservation Area in Kankakee County which is known as Pembroke Savannas. There was a joint project with the Open Land Trust (OLT) to acquire 127 acres at Redwing Slough in Lake County.

Mr. Reilly stated that OLT had some interesting acquisitions. The areas of interest are 1,368 acres at Inahgeh Wetlands in Alexander County and 51 acres at Fox Ridge State Park in Coles County.

Commissioner O’Keefe asked what was the strategy in using the remaining funds for the NAAF.

Mr. Reilly stated that all of the money available in the NAAF for land acquisition is designated for specific projects. The acquisitions that were prioritized and discussed at the 176th Meeting (August, 2002) of the INPC were acquisitions that were of vital importance. Prior to the budget cuts, all of the money was still targeted to a specific project. The reason for the carryover is because acquisition of land takes approximately 12 months from start to finish.

Commissioner O’Keefe asked what is needed to make the land acquisiton process move along faster.

Carl Becker stated that more land acquisition agents are needed. He stated that half of the Division of Realty staff will be taking advantage of the early retirement, and not everyone will be replaced. He stated that the process of land acquisition will become longer and harder.

Mr. Becker stated that the private sector and non-governmental organizations have been contacted to see what help they can offer. He stated that the Trust for Public Lands, Corlands, The Nature Conservancy, American Land Conservancy, and Illinois Audubon Society are some of the organizations that have been helping.

Keith Shank stated that during the last quarter, the Office of Realty and Environmental Planning received approximately 1,600 projects for consultation review. Only 17 of those were deemed to be in the vicinity of a nature preserve or land and water reserve. Of those 17, only seven were deemed to have any potential for adverse impact. He stated that there is a commercial developer at Redwing Slough that is proposing a 60-acre commercial development at the intersection of Deep Lake Road and Route 173. This is approximately a few hundred feet from the Redwing Slough boundary. He stated that this has been a high profile project. Some of the runoff from that parcel goes into Redwing Slough. The developer has done his homework, and he has adopted some management practices. Mr. Shank stated that he felt satisfied that the water quality that will be coming off of this project site in the future will be equal to or better than what is coming off the site now. The site currently has a 150-acre hog farm which is not regulated. As the proposal stands, the developer would divert all the runoff that currently goes to Redwing Slough elsewhere. The developer has been asked to modify that and return the water to Redwing Slough.

Mr. Shank reported on Stemler Cave Nature Preserve and Pruitt Sinkholes Nature Preserve in St. Clair County. He stated that the Pruitt family filed a mandamus lawsuit in mid August, 2002, against St. Clair County because St. Clair County authorized a 20-unit subdivision approximately one mile down the road, directly adjacent to Stemler Cave INAI site, without going through the consultation process. The IDNR did not ask the Pruitts to do this, and it is thought that they have reasons of their own for not wanting that subdivision to go in. The IDNR was named as a defendant because it is an interested party. The County did initiate the consultation process after the lawsuit was filed. The subdivision is outside of the areas that have been previously delineated as being related hydrologically to Stemler Cave which is the home to the federally-endangered Illinois cave amphipod. The IDNR recommended a dye tracing test be done from that subdivision area to see if it is any way related. The County informed the IDNR that since they have already authorized the subdivision, they no longer have the authority to require a dye trace, and the property owner has refused to do a dye trace. The consultation process has subsequently been terminated because no one can do what we have asked them to do. This subdivision will be on septic systems, and groundwater impacts are always of concern. They are using septic systems that use evaporation beds, and when properly maintained, should not have any groundwater impacts. He stated that it is the IDNR’s biological opinion that this subdivision, had it gone through the regular process, is unlikely to have an adverse impact on Stemler Cave. The Pruitts did ask for injunctive relief, and they asked the court to overturn the County’s decision in approving the subdivision. Injunctive relief was denied, but the hearing has been continued until December 4, 2002. The County has done this consultation work in the meantime, and how the issues will be framed to the court on December 4, 2002, is not known.

Carolyn Grosboll noted that all registration agreements for today’s land and water reserve presentations are signed and executed by the landowner as required by administrative rule.

177-7) Douglas Co. – Upper Embarras Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Mr. Smith stated that allowable uses on this site include hunting, trapping, and other less intensive recreational type activities. The management schedule calls for creating a trail that runs along the south edge of the Land and Water Reserve that eventually connects to other sites in Upper Embarras Woods Nature Preserve and other areas of the State Park.

Commissioner Riddell asked that with the registration of this property, is all the land owned by the IDNR protected at this time.

Mr. Smith stated that there is a 20-acre inholding which is privately owned, but all the IDNR-owned property is protected. Attempts have been made to acquire the privately owned parcel, however, the owner is not willing to sell.

Commissioner Schwegman asked about the mussels in the Embarras River.

Mr. Smith stated that after doing some research, it was discovered that the IDNR does not own to the middle of the Embarras River. The property line goes to the edge of the river and will buffer the river.

It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Upper Embarras Woods in Douglas County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 7 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1677)

177-8) Effingham Co. – Rock Cave Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Mr. Esker stated that there is a pipeline right-of-way on the southeastern portion of the proposed land and water reserve, and the reserve is subject to this pre-existing easement. There is also a pre-existing small parking lot on the site, and it will be maintained as a small parking area. Mr. Esker stated that this site has the traditional exotic species such as fescue, Japanese honeysuckle, and sweet clover, but it may be the only site in Illinois under IDNR ownership that had potbelly pigs on the property that had been turned loose. He stated that the potbelly pigs have been removed.

Mr. Esker thanked Bob Edgin for his help with this registration proposal and his work with the adjoining landowners to get them enrolled in the Natural Heritage Landmark program.

Commissioner Schwegman stated that he is pleased to see this site brought forward.

It was moved by Nevling, seconded by O’Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Rock Cave in Effingham County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1678)

177-9) Hancock Co. – Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Commissioner Riddell stated that she is struck by the fact that this is the third site in a row owned by the IDNR which has been presented for registration as a land and water reserve. She stated that all three sites are spectacular and are clearly deserving of the highest form of protection under State law, dedication as a nature preserve.

Ms. Moorehouse stated that the IDNR wants to be able to hunt on the sites, and it has requested that these sites be registered as land and water reserves.

Commissioner Riddell stated that with the change in administration it was her hope that the INPC would not forget about these sites and would pursue dedication for them under a friendlier administration.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Sommerhof, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Cecil White Prairie in Hancock County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1679)

A lunch break was taken from 12:20 a.m. - 12:50 p.m.

177-10) Johnson Co. – Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve, Registration

The registration proposal for Grassy Slough Land and Water Reserve was deferred at the request of the landowner.

177-11) Knox Co. – Haw Creek Sedge Meadow Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Ms. Moorehouse stated that there is an old storage shed that will be included in the land and water reserve, and Ms. Gibbons would like to reserve the right to sell crafts from the shed during the Spoon River Drive each fall. Ms. Gibbons would also like to reserve the right to collect prairie seed, do restoration on the hillsides, and have a potential for a seed dealer business on a small scale. Ms. Moorehouse stated that Ms. Gibbons will remain in compliance with the translocation policy which requires that no more than 50% of perennials and 10% of annuals be collected every year. She also stated that Ms. Gibbons is considering upgrading to a nature preserve at some point in time.

Ms. Moorehouse introduced Ellen Gibbons.

Ms. Gibbons stated that Ms. Moorehouse has been very helpful in suggesting ways she can better protect her property.

It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Haw Creek Sedge Meadow in Knox County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1680)

Chair Allread thanked Ms. Gibbons for her generosity in registering her land as a land and water reserve.

Commissioner Drucker also thanked Ms. Gibbons. He stated that through her voluntary actions, she has helped to enrich the citizens of Illinois and helped to preserve the wonderful natural heritage of Illinois.

177-12) St. Clair Co. – Columbia Quarry-Dupo Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Mr. McFall stated that this site is isolated, and it will not be open to the public. Columbia Quarry will open the site to their employees, and it will be used for hiking, firewood gathering, and hunting.

Commissioner Nevling asked about the ten year registration provision.

Carolyn Grosboll stated that there is a provision in the agreement that says that the reserve shall automatically renew at the end of each ten year period unless the grantor by unanimous consent sends a written notice of termination at least six months prior to the end of any ten year period.

Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if there is a system in place that would bring this site back to the Commission at the end of eight years to see if the landowner was going to change their mind.

Mr. McFall stated that there is no such provision at this time. However, he stated that the field staff are required to visit the landowner and the land and water reserve at least once every two years.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Columbia Quarry-Dupo Prairie in St. Clair County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1681)

177-13) St. Clair Co. – Columbia Quarry-Sugar Loaf Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

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

Mr. McFall stated that this site is isolated, and it will not be open to the public. Columbia Quarry will open the site to their employees, and it will be used for hiking and hunting.

Commissioner Drucker asked what economic benefits are accrued to the landowner for a permanent registration versus a ten year period.

Mr. McFall stated that with the dedication as a nature preserve, the landowner will get their property’s assessed valuation reduced to $1.00 per acre per year. With registration as a land and water reserve, especially in rural areas or if the land is enrolled in any type of farm program, there is no guarantee that there will be a property tax reduction.

Ms. Grosboll stated that with a ten year registration, the landowner would not be eligible for any property tax relief. The landowner would receive as a benefit management assistance and preserve design from the staff, and the landowner would have the satisfaction of knowing that they have made an effort to protect their property.

Mr. McFall stated that Debbie Newman advised him that Columbia Quarry Company said that this was something they could do in a positive way on their own land.

It was moved by Nevling, seconded by O’Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Columbia Quarry-Sugar Loaf Prairie in St. Clair County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1682)

Chair Allread asked that Mr. McFall convey the thanks of the Commission to Debbie Newman, who was out sick, for her hard work on these two projects.

Chair Allread stated that she is heartened to see another corporation come into the Illinois Nature Preserves System. She hoped that other corporations would see that this could be an advantage to them and the communities in which they are working and holding properties.

177-14) Cook Co. – Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Ms. Roman stated that the Forest Preserve District of Cook County would like to construct a small parking area and an unpaved pedestrian trail around the perimeter with interpretive signage. Part of the development plans include using some of the land that may be nature preserve property in the future. She stated that it was her recommendation to the Forest Preserve District that they plan for any future development when laying out the design.

Ms. Roman stated that there is a management plan that has been written to control exotic species, invasive shrubs, and trees and to burn. There will be oversight from the Army Corps of Engineers and Corlands to help insure that the management occurs.

Commissioner Riddell asked if the Forest Preserve District is interested in acquiring the property on the other side of the fence.

Ms. Roman stated, “yes.”

Commissioner Riddell asked if the dedication of this site would allow it to be a seed source.

Ms. Roman stated that as long as the management guidelines are followed, it should be able to be a seed source.

Randy Heidorn stated that there is a policy on what seed can be taken. Up to 50% of a standing crop of perennial seed can be taken off a nature preserve for no more than three years. It is 10% for annuals and threatened species. Collection has to be done through a permit process.

Commissioner Schwegman stated that he is pleased to see this site before the Commission for preliminary approval for dedication as a nature preserve.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Drucker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Burnham Prairie in Cook County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1683)

177-15) Cook Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried, with Drucker and Nevling abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Paintbrush Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1684)

Commissioner O’Keefe stated that she would like to praise TNC for their tremendous contributions toward conservation in the State of Illinois. She commended TNC for their continued dedication and support.

177-16) Tazewell Co. – McCoy Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Mr. Lerczak stated that there has been a change in the names of the owners listed in the proposal. He stated that Arthur B. Hancock should be deleted from the list of owners, and Charlotte S. Hancock should be added to the list.

It was moved by Nevling, seconded by Drucker, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of McCoy Woods in Tazewell County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1685)

177-17) Lake Co. – R & J Halkovich Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Carolyn Grosboll stated that this dedication document contains additional language authorizing the landowners to utilize, maintain, repair, and replace an existing private drive through their property and all utilities serving the adjacent residence of the owners provided that the drive and the utilities remain within their current footprint. The document also states that should sewer become available, the landowners retain the right to install other utilities provided that, if possible, such future utilities are installed in the location of existing facilities and if such a location is not feasible, any other location will be subject to the approval of the INPC.

Mr. Byers stated that those conditions were presented in May, 2002, when this site was brought before the Commission for preliminary approval.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the R & J Halkovich addition of nature preserve buffer to MacArthur Woods Nature Preserve in Lake County as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1686)

177-18) Lake Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Commissioner Drucker thanked Lake Forest Open Lands Association for their partnership in this project.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by O’Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve in Lake County as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1687)

177-19) Marshall Co. – Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

It was moved by Nevling, seconded by O’Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Oak Bluff Savanna in Marshall County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1688)

177-20) McHenry Co. – Amberin Ash Ridge Nature Preserve, Dedication

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

Deborah Staley stated that she is delighted to be at the meeting, and she hopes that other parcels will be added to the collection of properties in the Boone Creek Fen area.

It was moved by Drucker, seconded by O’Keefe, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Amberin Ash Ridge in McHenry County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1689)

Chair Allread thanked Ms. Staley for attending the meeting, and she expressed the Commission’s appreciation for her contribution to the Illinois Nature Preserves System.

177-21) Lake Co. – Illinois Beach Nature Preserve and North Dunes Nature Preserve - Update on Asbestos Investigations and Remediation

Randy Heidorn stated that he participated in a conference call to discuss a plan to study the hydrology of the Johns Manville site, particularly the impacts of any hydrological changes that would occur on Johns Manville property versus what kind of impacts may be found on the Nature Preserve. Asbestos deposits and other pollutants have been found in some of the bodies of water, and there is concern that if cleanup had to occur in those bodies of water on the site, and the existing asbestos settling pond was closed, that there may be problems that would impact the Nature Preserve. A hydrologic modeling study is planned using the data that has been gathered on the site. One of the weaknesses is that there is not a lot of data that has been collected north of the Johns Manville boundary within the Nature Preserve. The groundwater study that is being produced now will assume that the industrial canal will remain as it is. By assuming that, scientists can look at the model, use the data that has been collected on the Johns Manville property, and assess how the hydrological changes will impact the canal. If the scientists see significant changes to the canal, then they will expand the study to look at the impacts that may occur if the industrial canal is manipulated. The Illinois State Geological Survey and the Illinois State Water Survey provided input on reviewing the model. The IDNR was not directly involved in the modeling discussions other than the Surveys. The effort to reach a settlement to fund the cleanup at the south end of the Nature Preserve is still moving forward. The plan still provides that the asbestos containing material will be picked up as it comes to the surface.

177-22 Vegetation Management Guidelines

Randy Heidorn stated that the Management Guidelines give land owners and managers guidance on how to handle a land management issue in a nature preserve or land and water reserve. Once approved by the Commission, they become part of the policy guidance used by staff to review and approve management plans. Updated Vegetation Management Guidelines for the control of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and new guidelines for sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) are presented for approval. Methods of control for these species include various applications and combinations of prescribed fire, cutting and spot treatments of herbicide depending on site specific conditions and management goals.

Mr. Heidorn stated that Japanese honeysuckle is a vine which is in the southern two-thirds of the State. It inhabits open communities in a wide range of soil types and moisture levels and invades mature communities where there is opening to the light, destroying the understory by forming a thick mat of vegetation. It is inhibited by shade, and it spreads by runners. It is known to invade prairies, barrens, glades, flatwoods, savannas, flood plains, and upland forests. Control methods in high quality areas include hand removal for light infestations or young plants, and fire to reduce the coverage by up to 80-90% with follow-up with herbicide, herbicide control using spot treatment with a number of chemicals. Maintenance methods include use of prescribed fire in appropriate communities and hand pulling. Japanese honeysuckle is one of those species which is considered an exotic weed under the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, and it is illegal for it to be sold or cultivated in Illinois.

Mr. Heidorn stated that sericea lespedeza inhabits woodland thickets, fields, prairies, disturbed open ground, borders of ponds and swamps, and along roadsides. This species likes to tag along with other agricultural species. It was used at one time for erosion control, and it is resistant to summer drought. Sericea lespedeza is a threat to prairies and other open habitats. It is a common contaminant seed in native grass mixes, and once established it produces these dense stands that produce a large seed bank. During dormant season, it does not provide much habitat. Control methods in high quality sites, with early detection being key, include isolation of individual infestations, control of individual plants with herbicide, prescribed fire in concert with herbicide treatment to reduce the seed bank. Control in buffer and severely disturbed sites is the same as high quality areas. Grazing with sheep and goats in April may also be used in severely disturbed sites. Mowing in June or July in combination with herbicide in September has also been suggested in disturbed sites. Failed methods include hand pulling alone, burning alone, mowing alone, and broadleaf herbicides.

Mr. Heidorn stated that Randy Nyboer was the original author of the management guideline for Japanese Honeysuckle, and the revision was drafted by Debbie Newman. The new guideline was written by Mark Phipps and Kelly Victory. Both guidelines were edited by Mary Kay Solecki and Randy Heidorn. The guidelines were submitted to INPC Consultants and Advisors and to selected natural area land managers for review. Recommended changes were incorporated into the documents.

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission approves the revised vegetation management guidelines for Japanese honeysuckle and new guidelines for sericea lespedeza as presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 177th Meeting.

(Resolution 1690)

177-23) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

Glen Kruse stated that Japanese honeysuckle was common in the nursery trade during the spring and summer of 2002. He asked that anyone who finds this for sale at a nursery to call the IDNR, and a Conservation Police Officer will go to those nurseries and have the plants removed. This plant is usually sold under the name of Hall’s honeysuckle, but it is clearly labeled Lonicera japonica

177-24) Other Business

Carolyn Grosboll stated that two sets of minutes from closed meetings of the Commission were included in the Commissioners’ packets. The first meeting was held on August 7, 2001, and the second meeting was held on August 6, 2002. These meetings were closed in accordance with the Open Meetings Act to discuss the purchase of real property. Section 2.06 of the Open Meetings Act provides that public bodies, “shall periodically, but no less than semi-annually, meet to review minutes of all closed sessions. At such meetings, a determination shall be made and reported in an open session that: 1. the need for confidentiality still exists as to all or part of those minutes, or 2. that the minutes or portions thereof no longer require confidential treatment and are available for public inspection.” She asked for a motion to first approve the minutes from each meeting, then a motion to determine whether or not the minutes from each meeting should be kept closed. It is the staff’s recommendation, after consulting with Brian Reilly, that these minutes be kept closed for a minimum period of five years. It was felt that a five year period was long enough for the IDNR to either take action to acquire the property or determine if the landowner was no longer interested.

Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that he has reviewed the minutes from both closed sessions, and it would appear that they should be kept confidential. He stated that he felt that the Commission should not put a five year limitation on this.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Nevling, and carried that the minutes from the closed session, held October 7, 2001, be approved.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Ross-Shannon, and carried that the minutes from the closed session, held October 6, 2002, be approved.

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded Nevling, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the October 7, 2001, and October 6, 2002, meetings will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.

(Resolution 1691)

Chair Allread stated that the 40th anniversary of the INPC is quickly approaching, and we should not miss this opportunity to let people know what the Commission does. She asked for volunteers from the Commission to work with her and the staff to look at what type of events should be held to capitalize the anniversary.

Jill Riddell, John Sommerhof, Bruce Ross-Shannon, and Harry Drucker volunteered to be on this committee. Chair Allread stated that she would take the responsibility of putting together a conference call to discuss this issue.

Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that it is encouraging how many private landowners have come before the Commission. He also stated that he comes away from these meetings very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the staff. He stated that he felt the citizens of Illinois are very lucky to have the staff of the INPC working for them.

177-28) Adjournment

It was moved by O’Keefe, seconded by Nevling, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.

Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
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Springfield, IL 62702
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