IL Department of Natural Resources Building
Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - 10:00 a.m.
185-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:00 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Drucker, the meeting began.
Don McFall gave the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Kristi DeLaurentiis, Harry Drucker, Dr. Richard Keating, Jill Riddell, Bruce Ross-Shannon, John Schwegman, and John Sommerhof.
Members absent: Dr. Ronald Flemal
Others present: Steve Byers, Judy Faulkner-Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Randy Heidorn, Michelle Klintworth, Tom Lerczak, Don McFall, Angella Moorehouse, John Nelson, Kelly Neal, Debbie Newman, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Todd Bittner, Kathy Barker, Joe Hampton, Todd Strole, Joe Kath, Glen Kruse, Diane Tecic, John Buhnerkempe, Debbie Bruce, Jody Shimp, Scott Ballard, Mike Conlin, Jennifer Aherin, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Office of Resource Conservation (ORC); Leslie Sgro, Director’s Office, IDNR; Connie Waggoner, Cathy Davis, Tom Flattery, Ren Moore, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning (OREP), IDNR; Tim Schwitzer, Office of Public Affairs, IDNR; Tom Maloney, Office of Water Resources (OWR) IDNR; Tim Hickman, Office of Land Management and Education, IDNR; Randall Collins, Office of Systems and Licensing, IDNR; Randy Nyboer, Illinois Natural History Survey and Endangered Species Protection Board, IDNR; Carl Becker and Fran Harty, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Rick Lawrence, Natural Land Institute; Sue Dees, Office of Design and Environment, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT);, Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board and former INPC Commissioner; Marilyn Campbell, Illinois Audubon Society and INPC Consultant; Chris Young, State Journal Register, Reporter; Bill Gonterman, Randolph County, Preserve Owner; Roger Beddles, Preserve Owner; Bob Henry, Preserve Owner; Richard Moss, David Scott, John Warnock.
Chairman Drucker put out a special welcome and appreciation for attending the meeting to Deputy Director Leslie Sgro, Mike Conlin, Office of Resource Conservation and Tom Flattery, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning.
185-2) Adoption of Agenda
Don McFall requested making an addition to the agenda.
#23 - Other Business: Lake Forest Openlands Association, on behalf of a private landowner, asked the Commission to consider construction of a water and sewer line through Skokie River Nature Preserve, in Lake County. Steve Byers will be making the presentation, no action from the Commission was requested. Randy Heidorn did an analysis of the request.
It was moved by Commissioner Allread, seconded by Commissioner Schwegman, and carried that the Agenda be adopted with the above change.
185-3) Approval of the 184th Minutes of the Meeting, October 26, 2004
Don McFall stated that a correction to the 184th Meeting Minutes should be made on Item #14, in the resolution paragraph. Little Vermilion River Land and Water Reserve is in Vermilion County rather than as stated in Randolph County.
It was moved by Commissioner Schwegman, seconded by Commissioner Sommerhof, and carried that the Minutes from the 184th Meeting, October 26, 2004, be approved.
185-4) 2005 Meeting Schedule
3 May, 10:00 a.m. - Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites, Nauvoo
2 August, 9:00 a.m. - Morton Arboretum, Lisle
18 October, 10:00 a.m. - Pere Marquette Lodge, Grafton
185-4) INPC Staff Report
Don McFall reported that Loretta Arient was laid off in the last round of IDNR cuts. January 14 was her last day. Loretta was with the INPC for 10 years, serving as the office associate in our northeastern Illinois office at Moraine Hills State Park. She provided clerical assistance to Steve Byers and John Nelson. The Commission lost a great member of the team.
Mr. McFall reported that there are five new Natural Heritage Landmarks.
Ping Prairie at Huskey Hollow Natural Heritage Landmark is a 10-acre site in Effingham County. It protects a dry mesic prairie included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. The new landmark is owned by Donald and Jo Ann Huskey of Effingham. Bob Edgin signed up the landmark.
Kevin and Linda Cox’s Cory Woods is an 18-acre site along the South Fork of the Sangamon River in Sangamon Co. It’s included on the INAI for the high quality stream segment. The new landmark is owned by Kevin and Linda Cox of Springfield. Tom Lerczak signed up the landmark.
King Forest is a 32-acre site in Macoupin Co. owned by Mitch King of Palmyra. It’s included on the INAI for a high quality forest. Tom signed this area up too.
Embarras Bluffs is a 100-acre site along the Embarras River in Coles Co. owned by James and Mare Payne of Urbana. Mary Kay Solecki signed up this new landmark.
Allison Gravel Prairie is a 5-acre site in the Wabash River valley in Lawrence County. This is a prairie restoration that supports a population of the royal catchfly, an endangered prairie plant. The Bi State Airport Authority owns the new landmark. Bob Edgin signed up the area.
There are now 136 Natural Heritage Landmarks totaling 6,180 acres.
A certificate was presented to Marilyn Campbell, Director of the Illinois Audubon Society for Plum Island Natural Heritage Landmark.
Chair Drucker commented on Marilyn Campbell’s tireless efforts and thanked her on behalf of the Commission for her dedication and steadfastness.
Mr. McFall reported that Tom Lerczak gave a lecture on birding in the Illinois River valley to 160 people in January at Dickson Mounds Museum. Angella Moorehouse represented the Commission at the 21st annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in Keokuk in January. Kim Roman’s protection and management work at Superior Street Prairie Land and Water Reserve in Cook County made the front page of IEPA’s Environmental Progress Magazine. Judy Faulkner Dempsey continued to assist the US Forest Service in preparing a natural area management environmental analysis.
Randy Heidorn reported that staff continues to work with the University of Illinois and the Natural Areas Association to closeout the books and pay the bills for the Natural Areas Conference that was held in October 2004. We are expecting a final accounting sometime in February which will allow us to collect funds from grants from various federal, private and state organizations.
Mr. Heidorn updated the Commission that the deer management program changes or additions were approved for George B. Fell Nature Preserve in Castle Rock State Park. This change includes an expansion of antlerless deer firearm and muzzleloader seasons into the Fearer Tract of the nature preserve. Vegetation data collected by Jones (2004) is indicating the current level of lethal control is not reducing browse impacts to acceptable levels. Data from this study have also prompted additional expansions of deer management programs for several other sites and will be implemented in the 2005 hunting season. These include an addition of an antlerless archery and January hunt at George Fell Nature Preserve; an additional January antlerless firearm hunt at Franklin Creek Nature Preserve; and the expansion of the antlerless muzzleloader season and the addition of an antlerless January hunt at Starved Rock Nature Preserve, Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve and Margery C. Carlson Nature Preserve and Mitchell’s Grove Nature Preserve.
Mr. Heidorn reported that with shortages of staff in the IDNR, Kelly Neal has agreed to provide coordination and initial review of data collected for the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee. This data is then used by the NAEC for their evaluation of proposals to add sites to the Illinois Natural Areas Evaluation Committee. This job was previously handled by the INAI Project Manager within the Division of Habitat Resources (Patti Reilly).
Mr. Heidorn has been assisting Bob Szafoni, District Restoration Ecologist, and IDNR fiscal management personnel to implement the administration of the Stewardship allocation of the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. Currently $350,000 are available for these types of projects and will be used on both private and public natural areas. In addition, Don McFall and Randy Heidorn have identified around $60,000 from the INPC budget available due to vacancies, that can be used to fund additional stewardship projects on private lands. INPC field staff are currently preparing contracts for these projects.
Mr. Heidorn stated that the Public Land Native Wildlife Habitat
Restoration Project, a part of the State Wildlife Incentive Grant Program
continues. This project includes restoration projects at eight state owned
natural areas totaling $250,000 in federal contribution. Mr. Heidorn, project
leader for this grant, has been developing documents, in coordination with
IDNR restoration ecologists, needed to comply with state contracting requirements,
and presenting the projects to the recently established IDNR Contract Review
Committee as needed.
Mr. Heidorn reported that the Illinois Pollution Control Board published in December a notice of The Boone Creek Watershed Alliance and INPC petition to designate groundwater that contributes to the Boone Creek Nature Preserve as Class III Special Resource Groundwater. Such publication occurs after a review by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency determines that the petition (which was submitted in May 2004) is technically adequate. After a 45-day comment period, the IEPA must either publish the final listing through the Pollution Control Board or inform the applicants the reason they believe the petition is not technically adequate. Petitions designating groundwater contributing to Pautler Nature Preserve and Stemler Cave Nature Preserve submitted to the IEPA in August 2004, are awaiting similar publication.
Mr. Heidorn reported to the Commissioners that INPC field staff have prepared plans for 36 prescribed burns totaling more than 1700 acres for calendar year 2005. These have been reviewed and submitted to IDNR regional foresters for approval and inclusion in the IDNR’s regional IEPA burn permits.
John Nelson added that the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance a local environmental advocacy group assembled all the technical information to make the submission to the IEPA possible. It would be nice for other groups to do the same.
Mr. Nelson reported on the following threats to natural areas in northeastern Illinois:
Red Wing Slough Land and Water Reserve, Lake County - This project is going very well. The project consists of engineering and construction plans for re-mediation of a ditch to compensate for heavy sedimentation resulting from adjacent residential development. The project should be underway this summer.
Long Run Seep Nature Preserve, Will County - This preserve had illegal fill dumped on it. Re-mediation is nearing completion and the area has been re-graded and a stormwater management system installed. The phase of reestablishment of vegetation will be completed in the summer.
Black Crown Marsh Land and Water Reserve, McHenry County - There is currently a petition by some local landowners to reactivate a drainage district. If this was to happen the drainage district could drain an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site and an Illinois Land and Water Reserve. Employees have been speaking to landowners to educate them about the management goals the IDNR and the Commission have for Black Crown Marsh. The petition to reactivate the district has enough signatures to file, but so far Mr. Nelson has no knowledge that the petition has been filed.
Busse Woods Nature Preserve, Cook County - A proposal to modify a spillway to alleviate downstream flooding. DuPage County has contracted with Applied Ecological Services to further study the impacts. Data was collected and a report will be compiled. DuPage County plans on attending the August meeting to ask for a final vote on the proposal.
Russel Prairie, Kane County - (INAI site, Category I and II) Proposed residential development before the City of Elgin which would bring high density development on approximately 408 acres on surrounding upland area. Concerns would be stormwater run off which would run through the prairie and potentially impacting the natural community and the state listed species. Mr. Nelson is working closely with IDNR consultation. Kane County Forest Preserve District, who owns the site, is planning on dedicating the site as a nature preserve. The intent to dedicate the area was made before the development proposal.
Volo Bog Nature Preserve, Lake County - Mine reclamation and land development plan for a quarry site adjacent to the nature preserve. This is a recent development. There is a Volo Bog protection plan that was signed by former IDNR Director Brent Manning in 1997 and the owner of the gravel pit. The protection plan has not been adequately enforced over the years. Now that the mining is finished, the department is readdressing the issues in the plan to get the owner to comply.
Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, Cook County - A project where there is deep underground mining. Cook County Forest Preserve has obtained funding through the Clean Energy Foundation to purchase some property adjacent to the nature preserve that is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The concern right now relates to the drop in groundwater elevation of 4-6 inches in the fen. There are brief periods of rebound. The drop coincided with the time that the mine portal was constructed. The mine portal is being grouted in Phase 3. This is part of the Fen Protection Plan in that the groundwater discharge to the portal should not exceed 50 gallons per minute. The current pumping levels are exceeding that by huge magnitudes.
Chair Drucker voiced his concern about Bluff Spring Fen.
Mr. Nelson reported that he is meeting with Bluff City Materials,
Vulcan Corporation and the State Water Survey scientists in March with the
mine portal at the top of the agenda.
Chair Drucker thanked the Clean Energy Foundation for their contributions to protecting Bluff Spring Fen and other natural areas.
Chair Drucker reported that at the 184th meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission held at Giant City State Park in Makanda on October 26, legal protection for nine tracts of land totaling 726 acres was approved by the Commission. Seven of these nine areas are owned by private individuals or not for profit corporations who donated the value of the protection agreement to the public. The dollar value of these tracts of private land is $1,666,000 based on conservative estimates of the fair market value of the land. This private land was permanently preserved without acquisition of the land by the state. The private lands protected are: Cedar Glen (Hancock County) 270 acres, Culley Barrens (Pope County) 51 acres, Blufftop Acres (Randolph County) 20 acres, Gensburg-Markham Prairie addition (Cook County) 36.6 acres, Mettler Woods (DeWitt County) 71 acres, and Prairie of the Rock (Randolph County) 15 acres. A total of 467 acres of private land were protected which would have cost the state about $1,666,000 to acquire. Protection of this land came about because the Nature Preserves Commission has eight staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 323 dedicated Nature Preserves in 80 counties totaling 43,681 acres and 113 Land and Water Reserves in 53 counties totaling 34,459 acres.
185-6) IDNR Staff Report
Todd Strole reported that the IDNR Exotic Species Policy has been updated and revised. The agency wide review has been completed and we are awaiting the Director’s approval. Numerous species were added to the Departments "do not use list."
Mr. Strole reported that staff within ORC and the Commission are working on administrative rules necessary to carry out the Noxious Weed Act. The Act allows for exemptions to be given by IDNR which will allow for the sale of strains of plants on the Noxious Weed list that are shown to be sterile. There has not previously been a need for this as the law has been enforced through issuing warnings. Through the work of Ben Dolbeare, we feel enough warnings have been issued and now citations will be given. We anticipate that this will lead to the request for exemptions for sterile strains.
Mr. Stole updated the Commission that there was a reduction in staffing numbers. This time, it is due to layoffs required by the Department due to budget constraints. There were two layoffs in Restoration Ecology, and both were clerical. Judy Eaton in NW IL and Cindy Kline at Midewin. We will miss the work these ladies did and wish them the best.
Mr. Strole reported that at the last meeting he introduced two Natural Heritage residents that were employed through a partnership and grant from the US Forest Service. Since then, both of their terms have expired. He hopes to continue this with two new residents starting June 16.
Mr. Strole reported that there are job postings for three data specialists who will continue data entry of E&T and natural areas’ data into the Heritage Database Program's Biotics 4 database. These positions, each for a one year term, will have an anticipated start date of February 15 and are being funded by State Wildlife Grant monies through an MOU with the INHS.
Mr. Strole reported that at the last meeting of the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee, January 11 there was an addition of 11 new inventory sites to the INAI bringing the total to 1281 and the modification of six existing sites. Mr. Strole thanked Kelly Neal, of the Commission’s staff, for her work assistance with this meeting.
Mr. Strole updated the Commission that there are three meetings scheduled with District Restoration Ecologists and Natural Area Preservation Specialists to discuss the proposed update of the INAI by TNC. The Commission was briefed on this project at a previous meeting. The first meeting was held January 24 and proved to be a very productive discussion regarding the issues, concerns, and methods for this project. The second meeting, February 2, 2005, is in NE IL and the final meeting will be Feb 9 in Southern IL.
Mr. Strole reported that the Wildlife Preservation Fund is currently accepting applications. Applications are available on the intranet. The total amount available for small projects remains the same but the amount awarded to individual small projects has been increased to $2000.
Mr. Strole reported that the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan is up for public comments in a draft form. The comments are being accepted through March 1, 2005. Available on the department’s intranet site. Comments are welcome and would be appreciated.
Mr. Strole introduced Tom Flattery and Connie Waggoner from IDNR’s Realty Office. Connie is now assuming much of the duties of Brian Reilly following his departure. Mr. Strole guaranteed that she would do her best for the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund. The only problem is that Connie had a full time job before taking on Brian’s duties.
Tom Flattery reported that over the last three years with early retirements the Division of Realty is down 50%. His duties have changed, he no longer negotiates, and the division only has two employees right now doing the negotiating.
Mr. Flattery reported that Black Crown Marsh is in trouble. He is not sure he even wants to buy another 80 acres there. With private entities and speculators coming into the area so heavily in the last six months, land is being bought out from underneath the department. He would hate to invest a lot of money and end up with just a small area that is being heavily impacted.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if there was any way to capture some of the information that was discussed earlier regarding the lack of ability to obtain federal funds so that the Commission can more effectively advocate for state programs. She knows that staff is already burdened, but is there some way to underscore what kinds of dollars where inaccessible because there was a failure to have the state programs in place and what was lost. What opportunities did the state miss out on? She feels this is very critical.
Mr. Strole said he would be happy to work with Tom and Connie and put something together.
Chair Drucker stated that it is important to complete the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan so that Illinois will qualify a lot earlier than other states and hopefully get a large portion of federal money for natural areas protection.
185-7) Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report
Randy Nyboer stated that Marilyn Campbell is one of their board members and that they are very happy to have her. Mr. Nyboer thanked her and hoped she can continue on the board.
Mr. Nyboer reported that the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board is in the process of completing the last edition of the Endangered and Threatened Species of Illinois, the animal section. Final editing should be done at the end of February and hopefully printed in the spring. He also hopes to get the printing of the Endangered Species checklist done by spring.
Mr. Nyboer reported that the board is seeking interested researchers to conduct status studies on a number of different species throughout the state which the board wants to get a better understanding of. The following are the species that the board is interested in: Illinois Mud Turtle, Sandhill Crane, Mississippi Kite and Little Blue Heron.
Mr. Nyboer stated that the Board has their next meeting on February 18, 2005.
185-8) Carroll Co. – Sterling - Rock Falls Family YMCA Camp Merrill M. Benson Land and Water Reserve - Registration
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal to register the Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA Merrill M. Benson as a land and water reserve. The 73.5 acre property is owned by the Rock Falls Family YMCA. The proposed land and water reserve is located in the Freeport Section of the Rock River Hill Country Natural Division of Illinois, just west of Mount Carroll. The area proposed for registration represents a significant portion of the 137-acre Waukarusa Canyon Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) site (#411). This site is recognized by the INAI as a Category I for the presence of high-quality dolomite cliff communities, as a Category II for the presence of five state endangered and threatened species, and as a Category IV for the unusual assemblage of relict flora and unusual cave invertebrate fauna. Listed species include: isopod (Caecidotea spatulata), dwarf scouring rush (Equisetum scirpoides), scented oak fern (Gymnocarpium robertianum), cliff goldenrod (Solidago sciaphila) and sullivantia (Sullivantia renifolia), all of which are found within the area proposed for registration. An unusual assemblage of relict flora, more typical of plants from the northern Great Lakes region, is found on the cliffs including white pine (Pinus strobus) and Canada yew (Taxus canadensis). Smith Park Cave, located at the base of the dolomite cliff face, is the largest cave on the site. In addition to harboring unusual cave invertebrates, the cave also serves as a winter hibernacula for bats. This project was made possible through the purchase of the land and water reserve easement by the IDNR’s Conservation 2000 (C2000) program.
It was moved by Commissioner Schwegman, seconded by Commissioner Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Sterling Rock Falls Family YMCA Camp Merrill M. Benson in Carroll County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
Chair Drucker thanked the YMCA camp.
185-9) Cook Co. – Butterfield Creek Headwaters Land and Water Reserve - Registration
Kim Roman presented a proposal to register Butterfield Creek Headwaters as a land and water reserve. The proposed Butterfield Creek Headwaters is an 83.63-acre site in south Cook County owned by the Village of Matteson. It consists of agricultural fields, open waters, and remnant wetland communities typical of the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. This site is proposed to be registered in perpetuity as a Land and Water Reserve, and qualifies as such because it lies immediately south of the Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve. The Butterfield Creek Headwaters is currently buffering the nearby Nature Preserve and will eventually be restored to prairie and marsh communities. The Village of Matteson was able to acquire the reserve with a C2000 grant from the IDNR, and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeastern Illinois Wetlands Conservation Account.
It was moved by Commissioner DeLaurentiis, seconded by Commissioner Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Butterfield Creek Headwaters in Cook County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
185-10) Jackson Co. – Lake Murphysboro Hill Prairies Land
and Water Reserve - Registration
Scott Ballard presented a proposal to register Lake Murphysboro Hill Prairies as a land and water reserve. The 90-acre site is owned by the IDNR and located in Lake Murphysboro State Park in southern Illinois. Lake Murphysboro Hill Prairies was recognized on the INAI (#584) for a glacial drift hill prairie representative of the Mount Vernon Hill Country Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The site also supports populations of rock chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), an endangered species.
Commissioner Keating asked that since the INAI site boundaries were reduced wouldn’t the part that was excluded have been useful as a buffer.
Mr. Ballard stated that part is buffer. This used to be a 110-acre site that contained six hill prairies. In discussions with Andy West, it was stated that three of these sites were represented by a couple of sprigs of grass and a couple forbs. This area was already on the way out. There is nothing worth salvaging there.
It was moved by Commissioner Riddell, seconded by Commissioner Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Lake Murphysboro Hill Prairies in Jackson County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
185-11) Monroe Co. – Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve
Actually presented after Item #8
Debbie Newman presented a proposal to register Salt Lick Point as a land and water reserve. The proposed Salt Like Point is a 449-acre site owned by the Village of Valmeyer that includes 441 acres of the 456-acre Columbia Hill Prairies Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site (INAI #201). The proposed reserve contains a matrix of 19 hill prairies and glades, intermingled with upland forest. Approximately 39 acres of the site is Grade A, B, and C loess hill prairie and limestone glade, with the remainder in Grade C dry and dry-mesic upland forest. This matrix of habitats is representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. Salt Lick Point is home to several rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, some of which are Ozark plateau or western plains species and have restricted ranges in Illinois. These include the woolly buckthorn (Bumelia lanuginosa), and crested coralroot orchid (Hexalectris spicata), both state-endangered; the state-threatened timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), and Missouri coneflower (Rudbeckia missouriensis), and the rare stickleaf (Mentzelia oligosperma). In addition, the proposed reserve contains a large tract of forest with several forest interior bird species observed during breeding season. The proposed reserve is the 13th site in a 35-mile corridor of bluffs to receive some level of protection from the INPC. This corridor contains 4000 acres of INAI sites. Salt Lick Point will contribute a significant tract of acreage to the landscape goals of protecting this bluff corridor.
The Illinois Audubon Society obtained a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to assist the Village of Valmeyer in permanently protecting the 449-acre site as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve.
Ms. Newman thanked Marilyn Campbell for her time and dedication in getting this project up and going.
Ms. Newman stressed the fact that this is a very important site. IDNR and the INPC are working in a 35-mile bluff corridor in this area, the registration of Salt Lick Point and the registration of Prairie of the Rock Overlook would make the 13th and 14th properties along the corridor that are being protected, totaling 1470 acres.
Marilyn Campbell expressed her joy in being able to help Ms. Newman. Ms. Campbell reported that this is the fourth project that the Clean Energy Foundation has funded for them.
Ms. Newman stated that it is the Clean Energy Foundation that is funding the money to take care of the air shafts.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked where they accessed the storage area.
Ms. Newman reported that there is an asphalt access at the western end of the reserve where they then go into the limestone mines.
Todd Strole thanked the Village of Valmeyer, Debbie Newman and Marilyn Campbell.
Dr. Warnock asked if there are any bats there?
Ms. Newman stated that she had been in a lot of the quarries and had not seen any evidence, but no formal surveys have been done. Grates and fencing will be put on the air shafts.
Diane Tecic stated that they had done a few surveys and did not find much as far as bats. They did find some big brown bats.
It was moved by Commissioner Keating, seconded by Commissioner Ross-Shannon, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Salt Lick Point in Monroe County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
185-12) Randolph Co. – Prairie of the Rock Overlook Land
and Water Reserve - Registration
Debbie Newman presented a proposal to register a 2.5-acre site called Prairie of the Rock Overlook, which is part of the 429-acre Prairie du Rocher Herpetological Area Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site (INAI #938). The property is owned by J.W. (Bill) Gonterman. The proposed reserve contains Grade B loess hill prairie, Grade A limestone cliff community, and Grade C dry-mesic upland forest, representative of the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division, and a state- endangered plant. The site is 300 feet from Prairie of the Rock Nature Preserve, also owned by Mr. Gonterman, and 1000 feet from Blufftop Acres Land and Water Reserve.
It was moved by Commissioner DeLaurentiis, seconded by Commissioner Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Prairie of the Rock Overlook in Randolph County, as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
Chair Drucker thanked Mr. Gonterman.
185-13) St. Clair Co. – Wagon Lake Land and Water Reserve
Diane Tecic presented a proposal to register Wagon Lake as a land and water reserve. Owned by the IDNR, this area is approximately 114-acres in the Kaskaskia River bottoms in southwestern Illinois. Wagon Lake was recognized on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #308) for a shrub swamp and marsh community representative of the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. The area is an excellent example of a backwater lake associated with the Kaskaskia River and is in very close proximity to the 7300-acre large forest block identified as the Kaskaskia River macrosite. The site also supports populations of two endangered species; the American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) and little blue heron (Egretta caerulea).
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if in the forest block there is a dominate landowner.
Ms. Tecic stated that there is not. There are lots of landowners, some larger than others.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if there are lots of roads.
Ms. Tecic stated that no there are not a lot of roads. There are a couple smaller roads but getting access into the area is very difficult.
It was moved by Commissioner Ross-Shannon, seconded by Commissioner Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Wagon Lake 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 185th Meeting.
185-14) Jackson Co. – Lovets Pond Nature Preserve - Dedication
Judy Faulkner-Dempsey presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Lovets Pond Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI #1175) as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The Illinois Department of Naturel Resources proposes to dedicate 90 acres. The Lovets Pond INAI site is located in the Southern Section of the Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Division. Lovets Pond is a wetland ecosystem of 150 acres 15 miles east of Murphysboro, IL. The site is characterized by six natural communities, including pond, shrub swamp, swamp, marsh, floodplain forest, and successional field. The communities provide habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic organisms, 328 taxa of vascular flora, four endangered and two threatened animal species. The natural character of Lovets Pond is similar to the earliest known presettlement description of the land. The pond, shrub swamp, swamp, and marsh are high natural quality and are rare in the natural division. Only two other significant natural ponds remain in this natural division.
It was moved by Commissioner Allread, seconded by Commissioner Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Lovets Pond in Jackson County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the 185th Meeting.
185-15) Marshall Co. – Addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve - Dedication
Tom Lerczak presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to the Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve. Owners Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang wish to dedicate a 0.5-acre addition to Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve, which is an 8.3-acre site included within the 78-acre Hopewell Estates Hill Prairies (INAI #321) in the village of Hopewell. The dedicated nature preserve, owned by Mr. Brucker and Ms. Yang, contains a grade A glacial drift hill prairie on lot #117 and grade B hill prairie on lot #139. The proposed nature preserve addition on lot #138 supports woodland communities representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, which includes grade C woodland with white oak (Quercus alba), mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), red oak (Q. rubra), and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) in the canopy and hazelnut (Corylus americana), black haw (Viburnum prunifolium), and bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) present in the shrub layer. French grass (Orbexilum onobrychis ) is present within the ground flora in more open areas. The strategic location of this nature preserve addition allows for the most convenient access route to the grade B hill prairie on the nature preserve’s lot #139, thereby facilitating restoration management of the hill prairie. Dedication of the proposed addition will increase the area of the nature preserve to 8.8 acres.
Chair Drucker asked Mr. Lerczak if he was clear in his understanding, that the ½ acre addition is important for the natural communities of plants and not the fact that it provides easier access is just an added benefit.
Mr. Lerczak answered yes that his understanding was correct.
It was moved by Commissioner Ross-Shannon, seconded by Commissioner Riddell, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to the Hopewell Hill Prairies Nature Preserve in Marshall County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the 185th Meeting.
Chair Drucker asked Tom Lerczak to please thank Mr. Brucker and Ms. Yang.
185-16) McHenry Co. – Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve - Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of the Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow. Boone Creek Watershed Alliance proposes to dedicate approximately 36 acres of land as the Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve. The proposed nature preserve is located within the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in McHenry County, Illinois. The site was named in recognition of an abundance of Silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene). The proposed Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow Nature Preserve was registered as an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark in 2003. In October 2004, the site was included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory in recognition of an extant high-quality graminoid fen. Sedge meadow and dry-mesic forest dominate the balance of the site. This site was acquired by the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance with the financial assistance of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources C2000 program and the landowner. The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission staff is pleased to recommend dedication of the 36-acre Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow as an Illinois Nature Preserve on behalf of the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance.
It was moved by Commissioner Schwegman, seconded by Commissioner Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Boloria Fen and Sedge Meadow in McHenry County, as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the 185th Meeting.
185-17) Cook Co. – Addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve - Dedication
Steven Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to the Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is seeking final approval for dedication of 50 lots (approximately 3.85 acres). Despite the spatial distribution of these 51 lots in four different city blocks, each of the four groups of lots are located adjacent to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve. Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve is the largest of the four prairies that comprise the Indian Boundary Prairies and is located in the Chicago Lake Plain Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in Cook County, Illinois. Collectively, 462.59 acres of the Indian Boundary Prairies have been included on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (Dropseed Prairie INAI No. 425; Gensburg-Markham Prairie INAI No. 400; Paintbrush Prairie INAI No. 1563; and Sundrop Prairie INAI No. 1575). Of that total, portions of four of the prairies (Sundrop Prairie - 91.2) acres; Gensburg-Markham Prairie - 122.01 acres; Paintbrush Prairie - 75.2 acres; and Dropseed Prairie - 9.2 acres), totaling 297.61 acres, have been dedicated as Illinois Nature Preserves. Both The Nature Conservancy and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission staff recommend approval for dedication of this 3.85-acre addition, which will increase the size of Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve from 122.01 to 125.86 acres. The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 184th meeting (Resolution #1801) in October, 2004.
It was moved by Commissioner DeLaurentiis, seconded by Commissioner Ross-Shannon, with Chair Drucker abstaining and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Gensburg-Markham Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the 185th Meeting.
185-18) Hancock Co. – Addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve - Dedication
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for final dedication of an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve in Hancock County. The Nature Conservancy currently owns 566.37 acres dedicated as Cedar Glen Nature Preserve and would like to propose an addition of two tracts totaling 50.5 acres. The original dedication consisted of 188 acres (145 acres of dedicated nature preserve and 43 acres of dedicated buffer) and received final dedication approval, as the 54th Illinois nature preserve (Resolution #826), in February, 1975 at the 102nd Meeting of the INPC. At the 173rd INPC Meeting (Resolution #1620), the Commission granted final approval for the dedication of the Kibbe Bottoms (259.37 acres) as an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. At the 174th INPC Meeting (Resolution #1636), the Commission granted final approval for the dedication of an additional 119-acre tract known as Mud Island as an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve. If dedicated, this 50.5-acre addition would increase the size of the Nature Preserve to nearly 617 acres, placing it among the ten largest nature preserves not under state ownership. The proposed addition lies within the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division of Illinois within the 3,845-acre Cedar Glen Kibbe Macrosite recognized by the INAI (#565) as a Category I high-quality sand seep, sand hill prairie, limestone cliff community, dry-mesic barren, dry barren, and dry-mesic sand savanna; Category II for the presence of nine state endangered and state threatened species; Category III for the nature preserve designation; Category IV for the outstanding exposure of Keokuk Limestone; and Category VI for the high diversity mussel bed. Significant features of the proposed addition include high-quality dry-mesic barren community and a portion of the severe weather winter roost for the federally threatened and state threatened bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 184th meeting (Resolution #1793) in October, 2004.
It was moved by Commissioner Allread, seconded by Commissioner Keating, with Chair Drucker abstaining and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of an addition to Cedar Glen Nature Preserve in Hancock County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the 185th Meeting.
185-19) Jo Daviess Co. – Second Addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve - Dedication
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for final dedication of a second addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve in Jo Daviess County. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) proposes to dedicate 67.091 acres as an addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve. TNC was granted approval for the dedication of a 48.466-acre addition to the IDNR owned 361.7-acre Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve at the 183rd INPC meeting (Resolution #1786). This increased the size of the Nature Preserve to more than 410 acres. The addition being proposed today represents the remaining property owned by TNC within the Hanover Bluff area. Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve received final dedication approval in May, 1987 at the 113th Meeting of the INPC (Resolution #929). The site lies within the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division in western Jo Daviess County, Illinois, within the western portion of the 1,600-acre Hanover Bluff INAI site (#1058). This site is recognized by the INAI as a Category I for the high-quality dry dolomite prairie and dry sand prairie; Category II for the presence of 11 state endangered and threatened species; and Category III for the dedicated nature preserve designation. Two state listed plants have been observed within the proposed addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve: meadow horsetail (Equisetum pratense) and hairy umbrella-wort (Mirabilis hirsuta). The Commission granted preliminary approval for dedication of this site at its 184th meeting (Resolution # 1802) in October, 2004.
It was moved by Commissioner Schwegman, seconded by Commissioner Keating, with Chair Drucker abstaining and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of a second addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve in Jo Daviess County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the 185th Meeting.
185-20) Will Co. – Lake Renwick East Land and Water Reserve
- Request for Placement of
Kim Roman stated that the Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC) is seeking approval from the INPC to install a 0.3-acre septic field within the boundaries of the Lake Renwick East Land and Water Reserve. FPDWC registered its Lake Renwick East site as a Land and Water Reserve (LWR) in August of 2003. This site is recognized as buffer and foraging habitat for the nearby Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve. The LWR is a former agricultural field; its prairie and wetlands have been re-created entirely as a result of a large-scale habitat restoration project. At the time of registration, the FPDWC in conjunction with Plainfield Township planned to build a maintenance facility at the northernmost end of the site. The maintenance facility along with all of its appurtenances was excluded from the LWR boundaries. At that time, however, it was not expected that the proposed siting of the septic field would have inappropriate soils; installation of a septic field on these soils would result in improper treatment of sewage. Suitable soils for septic treatment are located within the LWR boundaries, and if allowed, will have no impact on the resources for which the site was registered. Since this was not foreseen at the time of registration, this use was not included in the proposal.
Ralph Schultz, Superintendent for Planning and Development for the Will County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD) stated that the Lake Renwick East Land and Water Reserve was registered in 2003, which was 1 of 3 sites that they registered or dedicated that year. The WCFPD manages a total of 4,700 acres in the land water reserve and nature preserves programs. Lake Renwick Land and Water Reserve was registered as part of a $530,000 habitat restoration project to create habitat for bird nesting. That is now complete. In addition the WCFPD has entered into an ecosystem management lease with Commonwealth Edison which allows them to protect an additional 12 acres adjacent to the land and water reserve and nature preserve, these acres will be converted into native communities.
Mr. Schultz stated that he is requesting the Commission give permission to the WCFPD to install a 0.3-acre septic field within the upland buffer portion of the Lake Renwick East Land and Water Reserve. After ground was broken for the operations field facility it was discovered that the site that was earmarked for a septic system had unsuitable soils due to underlying hydrology as well as some other problems. The site directly south of the operations field facility does have suitable soils but it is in the land and water reserve. There will be no negative impacts, the nearest recreated wetland/marsh habitat is about 1400 feet away from the proposed area and in combination with the appropriate soils below and native flora above WCFPD feels that this will address any concerns with the waste water problems. If WDFPC had known about this problem during the original dedication they would have exempted it from the dedication or included it in some of the paperwork.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if staff recommendations were part of the record.
Don McFall stated that the staff recommendations are included in the agenda package and will be recorded that way.
It was moved by Commissioner Riddell, seconded by Commissioner Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the installation of a 0.3-acre septic field within the boundaries of the Lake Renwick East Land and Water Reserve in Will County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the 185th Meeting.
185-21) Vegetation Management Guidelines
The Management Guidelines give landowners 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 white poplar (Populus alba) and osage orange (Maclura pomifera) 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. These revisions were drafted by Bob Edgin and Bill Glass. 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 Commissioner DeLaurentiis, seconded by Commissioner Ross-Shannon and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the revised vegetation management guidelines for white poplar and osage orange as presented under Item 21 of the Agenda for the 185th Meeting.
185-22) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
There was no public comment.
185-23) Other Business
Don McFall stated that the Lake Forest Openlands Association
has requested, on behalf of a private adjacent landowner, installation of
a water and sewer line through Skokie River Nature Preserve.
Steven Byers presented a letter from Steve Bartram and attachments showing the boundaries of Skokie River Nature Preserve and the area that is being proposed for installation of a water and sewer line. The purpose is to accommodate the development of a subdivision to the north and east of the northern part of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. A draft memo was prepared by Randy Heidorn that indicates that the water and sewer lines are within a portion of Skokie River Nature Preserve. In the draft memo Mr. Heidorn states that The Rules for Management of Nature Preserves require that all structures and facilities like the sewer and water line, are to be included in buffer areas or in a property outside the boundaries of the dedicated nature preserve, not within the nature preserve." Mr. Heidorn further quotes "Nature preserves cannot be taken for another use except for another public use and accept upon approval of the Commission, the Governor and any public owner of a dedicated interest there in, after a finding by the Commission of the existence of an imperative and unavoidable public necessity for such public use." Mr. Heidorn goes on to state in the draft memo, the Commission does not have the authority to approve the introduction of the sewer line or water lines without invoking the takings process. It is unlikely a residential development could be considered a public necessity.
Mr. Byers states that it is the opinion of the staff that the proposal from Lake Forest Openlands Association does not meet the standard. This residential development is an unavoidable public necessity. It is his recommendation to the Commission that staff go back to the Lake Forest Openlands Association and explore if there are options to route the sewer and water lines just outside the boundaries of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. This would dictate that Lake Forest Openlands Association attempt to secure an easement or some use on railroad property right of way. It would also be incumbent upon them to demonstrate that there would be access to the existing trunk line or the sewer through a pre-existing easement for that stated purpose.
Commissioner Keating stated that the Commission should be sure that all options have been looked at.
Mr. Byers stated that there is some opportunity to show some collaboration with Lake Forest Openlands Association. First the request that the water and sewer line remain outside the boundaries of the nature preserve, a permit could be granted for access for the purpose of installation and demand that they do some prairie restoration.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis stated that there should be written recommendations from staff.
Chair Drucker commented that yes there should be a written recommendation from staff. No action is being taken today other than to direct staff to get some more information and recommendation.
Mr. Byers reemphasized the Commission’s concern that this infrastructure should clearly be outside the boundaries of the nature preserve.
Commissioner Riddell stated that she wanted to acknowledge the hard work of the staff who are picking up so much work and having to wear dual hats.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that he wanted to second that. He has been very inspired by everyone’s hard work. As a citizen’s representative, he thanked everyone.
Commissioner Schwegman commented that in conjunction with the
Illinois State Academy of Science meeting on April 9, at Knox College, there
will be a symposium celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Illinois Natural
It was moved by Commissioner DeLaurentiis, seconded by Commissioner Allread, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702