of Natural Resources
Lake Level Conference Room A-B
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702-1271
Tuesday, February 7, 2006 - 10:00 a.m.
189-1) Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees
At 10:05 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chairman Drucker, the meeting began.
Commissioner Drucker read the roll call.
Members present: Jill Allread, Kristi DeLaurentiis, Harry Drucker, Ronald Flemal, Richard Keating, Jill Riddell, Lauren Rosenthal, Bruce Ross-Shannon, and John Schwegman.
Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Tammie McKay, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Kim Roman, and Mary Kay Solecki, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Scott Ballard, Todd Bittner, Mike Conlin, Tara Kieninger, Glen Kruse, Nancy Rogers, and Diane Tecic, Office of Resource Conservation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Tim Hickmann, Office of Land Management, IDNR; Kathi Davis, Hal Hassen, Don McFall, and Todd Rettig, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, IDNR; Bill Richardson, Office of Legal Services, IDNR; Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) and Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS); Michelle Bloomquist, Jeannie Barnes, Ben Dolbeare and Brad Wilson, INHS; Sue Dees, and Dennis O’Connell, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Tanner Girard, Illinois Pollution Control Board; David Thomas, INPC Consultant and INHS; Marilyn Campbell, INPC Consultant and Illinois Audubon Society; George B. Rose, Friends of the Sangamon Valley; Jill Kennay, Natural Land Institute (NLI); Chris Young, The State Journal Register; Fran Klaas, Kendall County Highway Department; Jason Petit, Kendall County Forest Preserve District; and Russ Clenendin, landowner for the proposed Degognia Canyon Land and Water Reserve.
189-2) Adoption of Agenda
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the Agenda be adopted.
Chair Drucker reported that at the 188th Meeting of the INPC, held at the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton on October 18, 2005, legal protection for nine tracts of land totaling 1,046.02 acres was approved by the Commission. Six of the areas totaling 601.22 acres 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 the tracts of private land is $1,911,560, 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. Private lands protected without state acquisition at INPC’s 188th Meeting were: Two Branch Peace Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Calhoun, County; North Elkhart Hill Grove Land and Water Reserve, Logan, County; Maunk-Sook Sedge Meadow and Savanna Land and Water Reserve, McHenry County; Columbia Quarry-White Rock Land and Water Reserve, Monroe County; Martha and Michelle Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Monroe County, and Sinking Creek Nature Preserve, St. Clair County. Protection of this land came about because the Commission has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 329 dedicated nature preserves in 80 counties totaling 44,094.75 acres and 127 land and water reserves in 56 counties totaling 36,656.02 acres.
of the Minutes of the 188th Meeting, October 18, 2005
One correction was made to the Minutes of the 188th Meeting. On page 23 for the Kedzior Woods Addition to Harper-Rector Woods Nature Preserve, Resolution 1850, the Resolution should read "The Commission does not grant final approval for the dedication....," not preliminary approval as it states.
It was moved by Rosenthal, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the Minutes of the 188th Meeting, October 18, 2005, be approved as amended.
189-4) Next Meeting Schedule
Meeting Date Location
190 2 May, 10:00 a.m. Ballard Nature Center, Altamont
191 1 August, 10:00 a.m. McHenry County Conservation District, Woodstock
192 24 October, 10:00 a.m. Nature Center, Bourbonnais Park District, Bourbonnais
Chair Drucker stated that the meeting scheduled for August 1, 2006, may need to be rescheduled due to conflicts with Commissioners’ schedules. The possibility of rescheduling the 191st meeting to August 8, 2006 was discussed, and it was decided to make a final decision on rescheduling the 191st Meeting at the May 2, 2006 meeting. Chair Drucker asked that Mr. Heidorn check with the McHenry County Conservation District to see if the meeting room would be available on August 8, 2006.
Chair Drucker stated that he would like to thank Don McFall for his years of dedicated service to the INPC. He stated that Mr. McFall is dedicated to conservation, and he worked hard as the Acting Director of the INPC. Even though he has left the Commission, he is still working with the IDNR and the Commission to purchase land that needs to be protected.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Illinois Nature
Preserves Commission wishes to recognize Donald W. McFall who served as an influential
staff leader for the Commission for over nine years as Deputy Directory for
Protection. Don also served as Acting Director in his last year and a half with
the Commission. His passion for working with landowners to help them protect
their land for future generations of Illinoisians, while being sensitive to
their desires as owners, has been contagious to his field staff. His knowledge
and experience with the Nature Preserves System, nature protection, and the
natural heritage of Illinois is unrivaled. During his time leading the Commission’s
natural areas preservation staff, 60 new Illinois nature preserves were dedicated,
and 117 new land and water reserves were registered.
Although Don will no longer be working on the Commission staff, the citizens of the State of Illinois will continue to benefit from Don’s efforts to protect land through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources land acquisition programs. The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission appreciates Don’s legacy of lands protected during his tenure and looks forward to his continued service and advocacy for Commission programs in his new position.
189-5) INPC Staff Report
Randy Heidorn presented the following staff report:
I. Illinois Wildlife Action: INPC staff attended a series of regional workshops on the implementation of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP) with other divisions of the IDNR’s Office of Resource Conservation. At these meetings, and in subsequent questionnaires, INPC staff gave input into the development of an implementation strategy for the INPC. All divisions within ORC were required to develop this strategy. The draft strategy that was sent to Commissioners in the agenda packet was compiled by Randy Heidorn and reviewed by the remainder of the staff. The draft implementation strategy lays out the INPC’s role in the IWAP and is based primarily on staff input and the approved INPC Strategic Plan.
a. The following are bills that have been introduced which directly impact the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act
1. SB 2504
a. Short Description: ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION
b. Senate Sponsor: Sen. Pamela J. Althoff (R), Crystal Lake
c. Bill Status as of January 31, 2006: 1/18/2006 In Senate: Referred to Rules Committee
d. Synopsis As IntroducedAmends the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act. In a Section requiring units of local government and State agencies (now, agencies and local governments) to consult with the Department as to whether actions authorized, funded, or carried out by them are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Illinois listed endangered and threatened species or are likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of the essential habitat of such species, authorizes any party seeking authorization or funding to initiate the consultation process on behalf of the State agency or unit of local government from which the authorization or funding is sought. Provides that if a unit of local government or State agency is diligently proceeding with the consultation process in accordance with this Act, the unit of local government or State agency shall not be subject to any claim of inverse condemnation. Requires the Department to assign an expiration date to each individual compliance consultation. Adds certain definitions. Amends the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act to make corresponding changes. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.
e. Comments: This amends both the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act and The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act, clarifying when and which units of government are required to consult with the IDNR. The proposed legislation also exempts units of government from reverse condemnation claims for participating in this process and requires that an expiration date be set for each consultation.
f. Full text may
be found at:
2. HB 4303
a. Short Description: ENT ZONES-EXEMPT FROM IESA-NAP
b. House Sponsor: Rep. Jim Sacia (R), Freeport
c. Bill Status as of January 31, 2006: 1/31/2006: In House: Assigned to Local Government Committee. Hearing on bill scheduled for 4:00 Wednesday, February 8, 2006
d. Synopsis As IntroducedAmends the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act and the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act to provide that areas designated as Enterprise Zones under the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act that are located on a former U.S. military base that was closed in 1990 or thereafter are exempt from the provisions, duties, obligations, and penalties provided under these Acts. Effective immediately.
e. Comments: This bill is designed to exempt the enterprise zone at the former Savanna Army Depot from compliance with the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act and the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act.
f. Full text may
be found at:
B. Farm Land Assessment Issue: The Illinois Department of Revenue is requiring counties to follow the most recent guidelines relating to the assessment of lands receiving the farmland assessment rates. This is resulting in properties previously assessed as farmland to be assessed at the same rate as non-farmland (33 1/3 % of market value). Farmland is assessed at rates much lower based on productivity and kind of use. Farmland assessment rates are even lower than the rates available to persons receiving the public benefit certification for conservation easements. This is creating a disincentive for landowners to register lands as a land and water reserve. Several efforts are underway in the legislature to address these issues.
III. INPC Operations
A. As a result of the vacancies in the Springfield office of the INPC, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Kelly Neal, and Mary Kay Solecki have taken on additional administrative duties. Tammie McKay continues to provide support for INPC meetings and input of annual report data on contract.
B. Staff changes: As of December 20, Michelle Klintworth came off of leave and resigned her position with the Commission. She accepted a call back to her former job title at a position in the Illinois Department of Transportation. The INPC has received approval from the Governors Bureau of the Budget to post this position. The job description and option are now being clarified with CMS. Once that is completed, the position will be posted.
IV. Training, Presentations
and Meetings Attended
A. On January 20-22, 2006, Angella Moorehouse assisted IDNR staff in Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in Keokuk, Iowa. This annual event offers the public a close-up look at Bald Eagles along the Mississippi River, hundreds of which utilize the nearby Cedar Glen Nature Preserve as a winter roost.
B. Tom Lerczak conducted an interpretive field trip at Coon Hill Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark (Tazewell County) for students from Mackinaw High School, October 28, 2005..
b. Randy Heidorn and Mary Kay Solecki attended a Statewide Land Trust Conference held in Bloomington February 1-2, 2006. In addition to training on board development and fund raising, the meeting was an opportunity to help establish a statewide association of land trusts for Illinois.
V. Protection Program
A. Judy Faulkner Dempsey:
1. met with landowners to conceptualize a preservation plan for Campbell Lake and Gonterman properties.
2. followed-up with the attorney on the Gillespie property to try and salvage preservation of Nancy’s Place where the landowner recently passed away.
B. Kim Roman met with the new managers of Camp River Trails Land and Water Reserve after a new Girl Scout Council took over the camp.
VI. Land Acquisition
A. Randy Heidorn approved the addition of one Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) site to the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) acquisition list as per our agreement with the IDNR.
B. Judy Faulkner Dempsey continued to work with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Edelman family assisting with land acquisition of Cave Spring Cave, Union County.
VII. Defense Program
A. On November 15, 2005, John Nelson (INPC) and Brad Semel (IDNR) testified in a US District Court civil case for a wetland fill violation involving the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Mr. Greg LaPlant. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires permitting of fill materials in the waters of the US. Mr. LaPlante and associates were reported to the US Army Corps of Engineers for potential wetland fill violations at the Black Crown Marsh INAI site by John Nelson in 2002. Defendants argue that Black Crown Marsh is non-jurisdictional, therefore not requiring Section 404 permitting. The court case lasted over a week and the outcome should be decided sometime in March, 2006. The defendant is also attempting to re-active the Nunda-Wauconda Drainage District to drain the Black Crown Marsh INAI site.
B. Bob Edgin investigated a report of a possible timber theft at Dry Fork Woods Natural Heritage Landmark that was received from the landowner. Upon review of the timber harvest and property boundaries, it was determined that no encroachment onto the Landmark had occurred. However, all of the natural heritage landmark signs and sign posts along the boundaries of the the site had been removed. The signage will be replaced as weather and fuel constraints permit.
C. Site Threats
1. Site: Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve - Steve Byers
a. Issue: Proposed residential development (27 houses) on two 5-acre lots located west of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve and north of the Nature Preserve buffer and 5-acre lot owned by the IDNR.
b. Threat: The proposed development poses the greatest threat to the Nature Preserve by impacting water quality/rates of flow entering designated the Nature Preserve buffer and Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. Other issues include lighting, impact on management (controlled burning), and increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic adjacent to the Nature Preserve. Also, development adversely impacts preserve design for Wolf Road Prairie by reducing the current open-space character of Hickory Lane Estates (there are ten 5-acre lots). The proposed development will impact two of the lots and may serve as the catalyst for future development in Hickory Lane Estates.
c. Status: The Westchester Planning Commission has approved the proposed development plan. Attorneys for Save the Prairie Society argue that existing covenants (that maintain 5-acre estates) should preclude the proposed development. The Corps has denied the petitioners’ request for No Objection. A wetland delineation will have to be preformed. The IDNR Consultation remains open. The Village Board meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2006, to consider approval of the proposed development.
2. Site: Illinois
Beach Nature Preserve - Steve Byers
a. Issue: A high-density residential development has been proposed for a site adjacent to Illinois Beach State Park along Wadsworth Road (main entrance to the Park) in the Village of Beach Park.
b. Threat: The proposed development will alter the surface hydrology of the site (from sheet flow to a single discharge point) and poses a threat to the quality of surface water entering Illinois Beach State Park. Two small wetlands located within the proposed development, apparently with little floristic value, will be destroyed, and mature oak woodlands occupying steep slopes overlooking the Park to the east will be impacted by either destruction or erosion. The threat posed by the density and amount of impervious surface to the groundwater resource remains unknown as does the potential use of the eastern boundary of the proposed development for nesting habitat by the State-endangered Blanding 's turtle. Finally, the location and character of the proposed development violates tenets of good preserve design.
c. Status: The proposed development has triggered endangered species consultation with the IDNR. Commission and IDNR staff have petitioned the Corps to exercise its jurisdictional authority regarding permitting of this project. The consulting firm retained by the developer responded to those stated concerns in mid-January, 2006. Commission staff is unaware of a formal response by the Corps to the consultant's report. The proposed development plan shows an access point along Wadsworth Road for ingress/egress into the development. IDNR staff has determined that the IDNR owns the right-of-way along Wadsworth Road extending from Sheridan Road to the entrance to Illinois Beach State Park. The IDNR has communicated to the developer that access to the proposed development from Wadsworth Road will not be permitted. Commission staff will continue to work with the Corps, the IDNR, other regulatory agencies, and the developer to eliminate (or at least minimize) threats posed by this development to Illinois Beach State Park.
3. Site: Wagner
Fen Nature Preserve - Steve Byers
a. Issue: Proposed residential development (71 houses) on 109.3 acres adjacent to Wagner Fen Nature Preserve.
b. Threat: Commission staff raised concerns regarding impacts of this development on the site. Direct impacts include sedimentation and alteration of surface water runoff from sheet flow to a single discharge point. Indirect impacts include altering the amount/quality of groundwater maintaining the fens.
c. Status: Both the Planning Commission and the Village of Lake Barrington have granted preliminary approval for the project; but have stated the developer is proceeding "at his own risk" and that final plat/engineering remains subject to modification as the Village Board "may determine" in order to respond to "comments provided by agencies (INPC, Lake County Forest Preserve District, IDNR) which have standing." Village Board has hired consultants (Huff and Huff) and Bruce Hensel to evaluate and determine impact of proposed development on Wagner Fen Nature Preserve. Jim Miner, Illinois State Geological Survey, has also been asked to provide input. The Lake County Forest Preserve District and the INPC have granted a permit for Huff and Huff to install a groundwater monitoring well. Future meetings of the technical consultation group are planned for February, 2006.
4. Site: Hybernia
Nature Preserve - Steve Byers
a. Issue: Proposed residential development (3 houses) on three lots that are located within the Hybernia INAI site that are enveloped by Hybernia Nature Preserve.
b. Threat: The proposed development (3 lots) will have direct impacts to existing high-quality prairie and sedge meadow that support the federally-listed eastern prairie fringed orchid. In addition to destruction of habitat, development of these three lots and supporting roads (platted but as yet unbuilt) will also adversely impact both the quantity (in terms of flow rates) and quality of surface water in this wetland basin. Sedimentation and impact on management protocols (controlled burning) are also threats posed by this proposed development.
c. Status: The threat posed by this proposed development is not new. Representatives of Hybernia Homeowners Association (owners of the Nature Preserve) have been trying for some time to acquire these three remaining lots. Recently, however, an attorney representing the three landowners has petitioned the City of Highland Park to build a road to provide access to the lots. The City informed the attorney that permission from the adjacent property owner (Hybernia Homeowners Association) would be needed. Commission staff was informed that both the Association and the INPC (as an interested party) may be subject to a lawsuit pertaining to permission to construct a road. Other issues: Commission staff have confirmed that the Corps considers these wetlands "jurisdictional." Also, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission has standing regarding development at this site and would require the petitioner to provide relevant information regarding the 100-year floodplain.
5. Site: Bluff
Spring Fen Nature Preserve - John Nelson
a. Issue: Deep underground mining operation, industrial facilities, business park.
b. Threat: Impacts to the groundwater system that sustains Bluff Spring.
c. Status: Efforts continue to obtain permits from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to allow routing of stormwater through underground pipes as per the Fen Protection Plan. A fen wetland restoration is an important component of this project. Permitting has been slow due to involvement of several governmental agencies and reviews. Offsite, Vulcan Materials is preparing a mine pit (portal) water control plan which should be available for INPC review in late February, 2006. This plan will detail how Vulcan plans to further reduce groundwater interception by the mine portal. An on-site meeting is anticipated for late February or early March, 2006.
6. Site: Busse
Woods Nature Preserve - John Nelson
a. Issue: Proposed spillway modification to reduce downstream flood impacts along Salt Creek.
b. Threat: Potential for increased flood duration and frequency upstream at the Busse Woods Nature Preserve.
c. Status: Applied Ecological Services (AES) and Christopher B. Burke Engineering (CBBE) provided recommendations and formulated a dam operational plan to prevent flood impacts within Busse Woods Nature Preserve. At the 188th INPC meeting, Commissioners approved the spillway modification contingent upon the following: approval of project by Cook County Forest Preserve District, dam operations must be in accordance with AES recommendations and CBBE Decision Matrix, and if procedures are followed and a rain event results in violation of any of the AES recommendations, DuPage County agrees to pay $10,000 per day. Once executed, work could begin as early as April, 2006.
7. Site: George
B. Fell Nature Preserve - John Nelson
a. Issue: The Unimin Corporation owns an open quarry mining operation adjacent to George B. Fell Nature Preserve in Ogle County. Unimin is planning to recover deeper reserves at this mine, and this will require further dewatering and lowering of the groundwater table.
b. Threat: Dewatering at the Unimin quarry has lowered groundwater levels at George B. Fell Nature Preserve and has potential to negatively impact the unique flora within the Nature Preserve. New monitoring wells are needed to document the next phase of mining and pit dewatering.
c. Status: In 1995, Unimin entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the IDNR and the INPC. This memorandum has been successful in coordinating and addressing private and public interests during the past ten years. Recent meetings have been held to coordinate the drilling of new deeper wells in the Nature Preserve and to review all groundwater monitoring data collected to-date. Dr. Randy Lock, Illinois State Water Survey, continues to advise the INPC in the planning and review of groundwater monitoring at this site. It is anticipated that new wells will be drilled in August or September, 2006, to monitor the next phase of mining.
8. Site: Long
Run Seep Nature Preserve - Kim Roman
a. Issue: An encroachment has been observed on the south boundary of the Nature Preserve. The encroachment consists of about three feet of fill, tree damage, concrete debris, and damage to an IDNR-owned fence. It appears the encroachment is associated with the expansion of a parking lot/driveway on an industrial lot.
b. Threat: Direct impact to a dedicated nature preserve.
c. Status: Investigating who is responsible, followed by violation notification.
9. Site: Stemler
Cave Nature Preserve and INAI site - Debbie Newman
a. Issue: Proposed residential development on 350 acres adjacent to IDNR land and within the recently designated Class III ground watershed.
b. Threat: Potential impacts range from loss of groundwater recharge to subterranean failure of stormwater detention basins. The Stemler cave system is highly unique and susceptible to hydrologic alterations. Groundwater degradation and pollution and/or contamination is a primary concern.
c. Status: Staff has attended public hearings and has sent a letter to the Columbia Planning Committee, Zoning Committee, and the City Council explaining the protected status of the Nature Preserve, its ecological significance, and INPC concerns. IDNR consultation is open.
A. MANAGE-MATS: A contractor has been selected, and work has begun on the development of a web-based land management tracking and reporting system for the INPC. This project is serving as a pilot project for the IDNR. When completed, the new system should meet INPC needs for a web based tool for annual reporting, development of management plans and schedules, and preparation of the INPC’s biennial reports.
B. Volunteer Stewardship
1. On November 9, 2005, Angella Moorehouse gave a presentation on protection and stewardship of lands enrolled within the Nature Preserves System to the Master Naturalists trainees in Rock Island. This group has been working with the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) to provide volunteers to assist with stewardship on nature preserves, land and water reserves, and natural areas at several locations throughout the State.
2. The VSN Steering Committee met on January 11, 2006, at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Hosts Julie Sacco and Cindy Klein gave a presentation on Midewin's volunteer program. The group was given a tour of the site. Kelly Neal chaired the business portion of the meeting. Because many volunteer groups are involved in monitoring programs, Jeannie Barnes, IDNR's Natural Heritage Database Manager, gave an update on procedures for getting information to the database. Updates were given on plans to launch the statewide Master Naturalist Program and the New Invaders Program, a program to aid in detecting new invasive exotics entering Illinois. Several new volunteer groups and landowners were represented at this meeting.
With Other Organizations:
1. Judy Faulkner Dempsey attended meetings about, read about, and commented on behalf of INPC, on the Shawnee National Forest Trails Designation Project-Phase 1.
2. Tom Lerczak attended a field trip, sponsored by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, to view check dams in Illinois River bluff ravines.
3. Tom Lerczak and Randy Heidorn participated in a planning meeting for the Landowner Incentive Program. This is a federal grant program that will provide money to private landowners to manage their lands for species of conservation concern. This program can help manage lands not eligible for support through other farm related programs due to a lack of cropping history. Private lands protected in the Nature Preserve System are an example. This should prove to be an important way to fund land management on nature preserves and land and water reserves.
4. Kelly Neal represented the Commission at Hine's Emerald Dragonfly Right-of-Way Management Team meetings.
1. Class III Special Resource Groundwater: The Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois State Geological Survey completed and published a method to delineate recharge areas for nature preserves. Funded by the NAAF, this project is important in our efforts to designate Class III Special Resource Groundwater for nature preserves. Copies of this report are available at the Illinois Sate Water Survey web site.
2. Angella Moorehouse assisted IDNR staff and local citizens in the preparation of a strategic plan for the C2000 La Moine River Ecosystem Partnership. This plan will serve to guide the Partnership in meeting land preservation and stewardship goals within the west-central Illinois watershed.
3. Judy Faulkner Dempsey prepared a management schedule updates for Halesia Nature Preserve and Ren-Dill Shale Glade Nature Preserve.
4. Kim Roman applied for $60,000 from US Fish and Wildlife Service for the restoration of Butterfield Creek Headwaters Land and Water Reserve.
5. Numerous prescribed burning plans were prepared by staff. These plans are for prescribed burns scheduled during the 2006 calendar year and are used to obtain burn permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency via the IDNR’s regional forestry administrators.
1. On November 12, 2005, Angella Moorehouse assisted the Karst Conservancy Inc. in a clean-up of Twin Culvert Cave at the Twin Culvert Cave Nature Preserve in Pike County. The workday included removal of graffitti on the interior walls of the cave as well as the removal of numerous large railroad ties that had been thrown into the cave. These railroad ties were likely having a negative impact on the cave's hydrology and chemical properties.
2. Helesia Nature Preserve/RenDill Shale Glade Nature Preserve: Judy Faulkner Dempsey has been working to implement a contractual stewardship project at both nature preserves.
3. Valmeyer/Salt Lick Point: Debbie Newman has been preparing to conduct a survey of air shafts on this site.
F. Land Management
Activities Conducted by Staff:
1. Several staff have been preparing fire breaks in anticipation of prescribed burning this spring.
2. Bob Edgin :
(1) led or assisted on six burns, five grassland and one woodland, totaling 80 acres.
(2) assisted with fire suppression efforts on the Green River State Fish and Wildlife Area - a peat fire associated with a prescribed burn at the site.
3. Kim Roman:
(3) led a ten-person utilities crew with the Village of Matteson to cut, chip, and haul off site 40-year old cottonwoods, cherries, and osage orange trees. Cleared a half mile on either side of Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve, on both sides of trail.
(4) performed on the ground management at: Sweet Fern Savanna LWR, Superior Street Prairie Land and Water Reserve and Long Run Seep Nature Preserve.
4. Mary Kay Solecki led one burn at Baber Woods Nature Preserve in Edgar County where approximately 25 acres of woodland were burned. Other burns did not occur due to unfavorable conditions.
Chair Drucker stated that it was his understanding that the new implementation is having unintended consequences causing people to harvest timber in order to lower their taxes.
Mr. Heidorn stated that people who have their property enrolled in the land and water reserve program and have agreed not to harvest their land will be assessed at a higher level than those landowners who have agreed to go into a forestry development act plan where they would be harvesting the timber.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon requested more information regarding the motivation behind House Bill 4303.
Mr. Heidorn stated that there was some concern that the development at the former Savanna Army Depot would be constrained.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked if it would be appropriate for the Commission to take any action on the proposed bills.
Chair Drucker stated that he felt it is important for the Commissioners to understand the legislative initiatives that would impact the mission of the Commission. If passage of House Bill 4303 results in takings and destruction of endangered or threatened species, it is counter to the mission of the INPC.
Commissioner Keating stated that there is a LEAD program (Leadership, Environmental, and Energy Design) which involves the development of sites in such a way as to preserve most of the natural functions, including the hydrology of a site, and many of the natural features of a site. This can be done through good design.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the IDNR Governmental Affairs office has taken a position on any of these legislative initiatives.
Mike Conlin stated that the representatives from the IDNR are scheduled to meet with the bill’s sponsors on February 7, 2006, to explain that the consultation process is not an impediment to the development at the former Savanna Army Depot.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the IDNR has taken a position on Senate Bill 2504.
Mr. Conlin stated that to his knowledge the IDNR was still reviewing the information and had not taken a position on this bill.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if staff guidance and recommendations regarding any long-term impact with any of the proposed legislation with regard to the Commission’s mission was available. She was concerned that if there is legislation approved that weakens some of the strict guidelines it would lead to further problems. She felt that it should be the position of the Commission that it would work to oppose these changes.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that it may be beneficial for individual Commissioners to work with their local legislators as far as their own positions with regard to the bills discussed today, however, in the future, the Commission may want to consider a more unified response on issues after the Commissioners have had time to review all the information. It was his recommendation that in the future, the topics could be assigned an agenda item so there would be enough time for review, discussion, and recommendation.
Chair Drucker stated that the Commission determines if land meets the specifications of the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act in order to be dedicated or registered. He stated that he felt it would be appropriate for the Commission to play a role in providing information and input to the IDNR with regard to House Bill 4303. In the past the Commission has written letters to the Governor or to appropriate public agencies to bring information to their attention so that the information can then be used appropriately to create and implement policy.
Chair Drucker stated that the Commission needs to be kept informed regarding proposed legislation which affects the work of the INPC.
Commissioner Flemal asked if a synopsis of the opinion regarding the court decision in the Black Crown Marsh case could be sent to each Commissioner when it becomes available. He also asked if a copy could be obtained of the Illinois State Water Survey’s report regarding the delineation of Class III groundwater.
Mr. Heidorn stated that he would send the requested information to each Commissioner.
stated that this staff report shows the increasing threats issues at various
protected sites. This highlights the need for well-drafted laws and a good consultation
process so that when these conflicts occur, they can be appropriately and expeditiously
189-6) IDNR Staff Report
Glen Kruse presented the following staff report:
The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee met in Springfield on January 10, 2006. Actions approved by the committee included:
Beloit Gravel Prairie, Winnebago County - deletion of the site from the inventory. This INAI site was bulldozed and cleared for development. District Heritage Biologist Todd Bittner coordinated the salvage of kitten tails (Besseya bullii) and prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya) from this site for relocation to non-dedicated portions of Harlem Hills.
Pingree Prairie, McHenry County - deletion of the site from the inventory. This INAI site was destroyed by the owner. The site had been identified as potential habitat for the state-threatened red-veined prairie leafhopper (Aflexia rubranura). The owner first applied herbicide to eliminate herbaceous vegetation on the site and soon thereafter graded the entire site in preparation for development.
The IDNR has acquired five natural area tracts using the NAAF since the Commission’s October, 2005 meeting. These were:
A 14-acre addition to the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area in Vermilion County. This state site protects 5 miles of frontage on the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only designated scenic river. The small acquisition will extend DNR ownership to a nearby road, prevent incompatible development and allow restoration of vegetation along one of the ravines that drains into the river. The Middle Fork of the Vermilion support populations of six endangered or threatened fish or mussel species.
A 79-acre addition to Kinkaid Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area in Jackson County. This tract adds to public ownership of a large wooded block of which the IDNR and the U.S. Forest Service are the primary owners. This tract supports a population of a state-endangered reptile.
A 40-acre addition to Cache River State Natural Area in Johnson County. Twenty endangered or threatened species are known from this 14,000-acre state natural area.
A 390-acre addition to Fults Hill Prairie State Natural Area in Monroe County. This addition on the bluffs above the Mississippi River contains hill prairies and nearly 300 acres of forest. Three endangered or threatened species use these habitats. The total area of Fults Hill Prairie is now 1,386 acres.
One hundred nine acres at Big Grand Pierre Creek in Pope County. This outstanding natural area is in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. The new acquisition includes more than a mile of Big Grand Pierre Creek, a high-quality stream on the INAI. The tract also supports extensive forest and populations of three endangered or threatened species. The significance of this acquisition was enhanced by the purchase of an adjacent 222 acres by the Illinois Audubon Society. Illinois Audubon used funds provided by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to make the purchase.
It is anticipated that the IDNR will close on a 320-acre tract at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Jasper County by the end of this week.
Since the inception of the NAAF, 154 tracts at 62 different natural areas have been acquired. The 154 tracts include a total of more than 21,000 acres.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked what action could be taken regarding the owner of Pingree Prairie applying a herbicide.
Mr. Kruse stated that herbicide application, as long as it is done according to label directions and on private property, has no legal recourse. A person is entitled to spray vegetation on their own property if they choose to do so. The good thing is that the IDNR seldom encounters this type of response by a landowner. The downside is that when it does occur, there is very little, if anything, that can be done.
189-7) Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report
Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board (ESPB) Manager, stated that the ESPB has been dealing with the proposed legislation that has already been discussed by the Commission.
The final review on the 2004 changes for the animal listings book has been done. The book will be sent out for printing in the near future. He stated that Janet Boyer was instrumental in this project.
The bald eagle count was done in January, 2006, and he participated in the Quad Cities Bald Eagle Days. He stated that school children participate in this program, and the event usually draws approximately 20,000 people.
Mr. Nyboer stated that he has also been working with the Illinois Audubon Society on the important bird areas throughout Illinois. He stated that the former Savanna Army Depot has eight active bald eagle nests with approximately 500 birds that are staging in the area, using it for feeding in the backwaters.
He stated that he worked with Tara Kieninger and Joe Kath with the IDNR on the national monitoring program for bald eagle nests sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There are 190 element occurrence records for nesting of bald eagles in Illinois. Some of the nests have either fallen down or have been abandoned.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the ESPB has issued a statement of opposition to House Bill 4303.
Mr. Nyboer stated
that no statement has been issued as of yet, however, the ESPB will be meeting
on February 17, 2006. The Board is aware of that particular bill, and it will
be discussed at that time.
Randy Heidorn stated that all registration agreements for today’s land and water reserve presentations have been signed and executed by the landowner as required by administrative rule.
189-8) Clinton Co. - Lost Creek Marsh Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Bob Edgin presented a proposal to register Lost Creek Marsh Land and Water Reserve. The proposed site, owned by Bonnie Nehrt and John W. Schulte, is a 74.5-acre parcel that includes marsh and floodplain forest communities. The site was identified by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a grade C best of its kind marsh (#418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division. Allowable uses include natural community restoration, hiking, hunting, fishing, trapping, nature observation and study, and scientific research with prior approval from the land owner and approval of special use permits, if necessary. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) will be allowed for management purposes only. The family would like to retain the right to keep the road open within the boundaries of the proposed land and water reserve. The road provides them with access to the southern portion of the property and provides the landowners to the south and west to access to their property as well. No commercial timber harvests will be allowed within the land and water reserve. Registration will be in perpetuity.
Mr. Edgin stated that Judy Faulkner Dempsey worked with this site in the past, and the site was in the Natural Heritage Landmark program. There has been a change of ownership, and it has progressed to a land and water reserve and nature preserve. He stated that the Natural Heritage Landmark program is a significant program to introduce the landowner to the INPC. He thanked Ms. Faulkner Dempsey for her contribution to this project.
Commissioner Keating asked about the flood potential of Lost Creek.
Mr. Edgin stated that the area does flood frequently, and some sedimentation is occurring. He stated that it was his opinion that the sedimentation does not impose an immediate threat.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Lost Creek Marsh in Clinton County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-9) Clinton Co. - Lost Creek Marsh Nature Preserve, Dedication
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of Lost Creek Marsh as a nature preserve. The proposed nature preserve, owned by Bonnie Nehrt and John W. Schulte, is an 88-acre parcel that includes marsh, floodplain forest, upland forest and Lost Creek. The site was identified by the INAI as a grade C best of its kind marsh (#418) and is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Lost Creek Marsh in Clinton County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Chair Drucker asked that Mr. Edgin convey the thanks of the Commission to Ms. Nehrt and Mr. Schulte for their generosity in protecting these significant areas.
Co. – Circle B Ranch Land and Water Reserve, Registration
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal on behalf of Robert, Sara, and Michael Brkljach to register Circle B Ranch as a land and water reserve. The proposed site is a 102-acre forested natural area located in the Greater Shawnee Hills Section of the Shawnee Natural Division. It is significant because it is a large block of forest that contains habitat for a State-threatened reptile. Circle B Ranch is on State Highway 3, a well-traveled road in Jackson County, located nine miles west of Murphysboro, Illinois. The timber has not been harvested here for over 20 years, and the forest is a mature oak-hickory forest interspersed with a series of sandstone cliffs, all 30 to 50 feet high. The registration would be for ten years.
The landowner would like to maintain the trail system. The main management feature will be to maintain and enhance the State-threatened reptile population for which the area is preserved. Prescribed burning will be done to open the forest for this species and to maintain the oak-hickory forest component. The landowner uses an ATV to maintain and mow the trails. The landowner also maintains the right to cut dead and downed timber for personal use for firewood and reserves the right to selectively harvest a few trees for personal use.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if there would be any restriction on the number of trees that the landowner could remove for personal use.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that the number was not specifically defined. The landowner may not take any trees but wanted to maintain this right to be able to remove a tree to have lumber to repair a barn or other structure.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon asked why the registration was only for ten years.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that the landowners are new to the program, and they feel they will probably renew the registration in ten years. She stated that it is a way for the landowners to become acquainted with the INPC and see if this type of protection is going to work for them.
Commissioner Keating asked if the management plans for the adjacent forest are known.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that the US Forest Service land behind this site is not a natural area and is open to multiple use. She stated that she is not aware of any plans to harvest the timber in that area.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that he reviewed the site management schedule for this site, and he did not see any mention of allowing the removal of timber.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that she would review the document and correct it as necessary.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
grants approval for the registration of Circle B Ranch in Jackson County as
an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under
Item 10 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-11) Jackson and Randolph Counties - Degognia Canyon Land Water Reserve, Registration
Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal for registration of Degognia Canyon as a land and water reserve. This 124.1-acre site, owned by Russell Clendenin, is a natural area that contains forest and glade communities located in the Central Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The Central Section is characterized by sandstone outcrops and an Ozarkian floral element. The area is significant because it is a large block of forest and glade complex. The forest is a mature oak-hickory forest with a 100-foot high sandstone cliff forming an impressive canyon. The site contains habitat for a State-threatened reptile and a high quality sandstone glade community. The registration would be for ten years.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey introduced Russell Clendenin. She stated that Mr. Clendenin reserves the right to harvest ginseng in a sustainable manner at some point in the future. He would also like to reserve the right to keep the primitive cabin that is under the bluff for his enjoyment. The management will focus on maintaining and enhancing the State-threatened reptile with prescribed burning. The prescribed burning will also maintain and improve the oak-hickory forest. Mr. Clendenin also reserves the right to use an ATV to check his property.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if a total plant list has been made for the area.
Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that there is not a complete plant list, however, she has included that idea in the proposal.
Commissioner Schwegman stated that he would like to visit the site.
It was moved by DeLaurentiis, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Degognia Canyon in Jackson and Randolph counties as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Chair Drucker thanked Mr. Clendenin for his efforts to protect this important site.
Mr. Clendenin stated that this means a lot to him, and he wanted to thank Ms. Faulkner Dempsey and Mr. Ballard for their efforts.
A lunch break was taken from 12:20 - 1:00 p.m.
Co. – Wapello Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 19)
Angella Moorehouse presented a proposal for registration of Wapello Land and Water Reserve. The Archaeological Conservancy, established in 1980 and based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the nation’s best remaining archaeological sites. The Conservancy seeks to register 78.74 acres to be known as the Wapello Land and Water Reserve. The proposed reserve is located immediately south of the town of Hanover in Jo Daviess County and within the Wisconsin Driftless Natural Division of Illinois. The area proposed for registration includes one-half mile of the eastern portion of the Apple River and is located within the central portion of the Apple River INAI site (#1647). The Apple River INAI site includes approximately 5.3 total stream miles and is recognized as a Category II site for the presence and specific suitable habitat for at least one State-threatened mussel and for evidence of breeding for a State-threatened bird and as a Category VI site for an unusual concentration of invertebrates (mussel beds supporting 18 live species of native mussels). The site also contains significant archaeological values having the only known ceremonial platform mound remaining within the Apple River Valley. The site is unique in that it contains a settlement of a mixing of peoples of the Terminal Late Woodland and Mississippian cultures.
stated that the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation will be the eventual owners
of the land. The Foundation obtained a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy
Community Foundation for $200,000. That money will be used to purchase the site
from the Archaeological Conservancy. To qualify for the grant, the site must
be enrolled in a perpetual easement. The land and water reserve designation
was chosen over dedication as a nature preserve because they wanted to have
some recreational opportunities at this site. Upon the finalization of the registration,
the money from Clean Energy will be transferred to the Foundation, and the Foundation
will acquire the site. Within the next couple of years, the Foundation hopes
to donate this land to the Hanover Township Park District. The Hanover Township
Park District will manage the site as a minimal recreation park. She stated
that the Foundation does want to develop some mowed hiking trails through the
site with a possible canoe launch site. At the present time the Apple River
is not a public waterway, so canoeing is not legal. If that is changed, the
canoe launch site may be a possibility. They do want to allow bank fishing.
A visitor parking lot with an information kiosk is also proposed. Any activities
that require ground disturbance below the plow line level will require the permission
of the INPC and the IDNR and may require an archeological investigation of the
area. Permission for such activities, as well as permit applications for archeological
research, will be reviewed by the IDNR Cultural Resources Coordinator, Hal Hassen.
ATVs will not be allowed. The proposal does provide for future excavation for
Chair Drucker stated the INPC is especially grateful to the Archaeological Conservancy
for the extra efforts in helping to negotiate this deal. He stated that it is a tremendous partnership, and he thanked the Conservancy.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants approval for the registration of Wapello Land and Water Reserve in JoDaviess County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-13) Clinton Co. – Schulte Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
Bob Edgin presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of Schulte Woods as a nature preserve. The proposed site, owned by John W. Schulte, is a 35.15-acre parcel that includes floodplain forest, upland forest and a nearly one-quarter mile segment of the Kaskaskia River INAI site. The segment of the Kaskaskia River from Route 50 to its confluence with Shoal Creek, including the portion within the proposed nature preserve, was identified by the INAI as a Category VI - high mussel diversity stream (#1514). It is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division.
Commissioner Schwegman asked if any mussel surveys have been done in this area.
Mr. Edgin stated that there is no record of mussel species in the database. It was nominated as a high mussel diversity stream, but there is no species list that could be directly tied to that entire stretch.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that he noted in the proposal that Mr. Schulte does not own the mineral rights to the property. He asked if the person who does own the mineral rights would have the ability to come in and mine the property.
Mr. Edgin stated that mining would be a possibility, however, there is not a lot of mineral production of any type in this area.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of Schulte Woods in Clinton County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Chair Drucker stated that he would like to note that the Schulte family is protecting approximately 200 acres. He wanted Mr. Edgin to convey the thanks of the Commission for their generosity.
Mr. Edgin stated that Mr. Schulte recently bought 80 acres along the Embarras River in Crawford County that has two Native American mound structures on the property. He stated that Mr. Schulte is hopeful that this site will be brought before the Commission in August or October.
Co. – Addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 11)
Kim Roman presented
a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of a 20-acre addition to
Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. In August of 2005, Pembroke Savanna was dedicated
as an Illinois nature preserve. Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve is a 65-acre
site, owned by the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and is
recognized on the INAI (#54) for its high quality, dry sand savanna, and it
also provides habitat for a State-threatened butterfly. It lies within the Kankakee
Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This site is one of
the best examples of a black oak sand savanna in all of Illinois. TNC has prioritized
this site for conservation efforts and has been acquiring additional tracts
of land in the immediate surroundings of Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. The
Illinois Chapter of TNC will close on the acquisition of a 20-acre tract of
the INAI site in the very near future and wishes to dedicate it as an addition
to the existing nature preserve.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Flemal, and carried, with Drucker abstaining, that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition to Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve in Kankakee County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-15) Lake Co.
– Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Skokie River Nature Preserve,
(Actually presented after Item 13)
Steve Byers presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of a 1-acre addition of nature preserve buffer, Lake Forest Open Lands Association (LFOLA), to Skokie River Nature Preserve. This 1-acre addition to Skokie River Nature Preserve would increase the size of the Nature Preserve to137 acres. Skokie River Nature Preserve (INAI #658) encompasses a mosaic of wetlands, mesic prairies, and dry-mesic forest arrayed along subtle elevation, moisture, and soil gradients within the Skokie River valley. The Nature Preserve is located in the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division. Embedded within Skokie River Nature Preserve are two high-quality prairies, McLaughlin Prairie and Shaw Prairie, that were recognized by the INAI. Eleven tracts of land, including the proposed addition (often referred to as the DeBiase Tract), were recently conveyed to the LFOLA by TNC. Of those eleven tracts of land, all except the proposed addition have been formally dedicated as part of the Skokie River Nature Preserve. The conveyance specifically directed the LFOLA to "...take all actions necessary to dedicate the DeBiase Tract as a Illinois State Nature Preserve...". Initial consideration of the ecological significance of this preserve by the INPC dates back to the Commission’s 60th Meeting in October, 1976 when the Commission approved "...in principle, dedication of suitable portions of the Lake Forest Open Lands areas as a nature preserve." It was not until 1992, at the Commission’s 136th Meeting (Resolution 1142) that the Commission conferred final approval for 100 acres as Skokie River Nature Preserve. Since then, the Commission has conferred final approval for seven additional tracts of land totaling 36 acres. The proposed addition of prairie encompasses a small portion of Skokie River INAI site, and its designation as nature preserve buffer is consistent with the provisions of earlier proposals for dedication that call for linkages to "...be expanded through dedication of adjacent lands as buffer and improved by natural community restoration."
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Skokie River Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Chair Drucker asked Mr. Byers to convey the thanks for the Commission to the LFOLA.
Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserves,
(Actually presented after Item 14)
Kim Roman presented a proposal for preliminary approval for dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserve. Starved Rock Nature Preserve is one of the first Illinois state parks and Illinois nature preserves. The Nature Preserve, which lies within the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, was dedicated by the IDNR because of its unique natural and archaeological resources. The existing 592-acre Nature Preserve is recognized for its habitats for State-listed species, outstanding wildlife habitats, unique geological exposures, and cultural significance. The IDNR wishes to dedicate 108 acres of its holdings as buffer to the Starved Rock Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer shares some of the same qualities as the original Nature Preserve and is included on the INAI (#1077) for its wildlife habitat features as a winter roost site for a State and federally threatened bird. The dedication of this parcel as nature preserve buffer will ensure long-term protection of its resources and help complete preserve design for Starved Rock Nature Preserve.
It was moved by Allread, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve buffer to Starved Rock Nature Preserve in LaSalle County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Co. – Addition of Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer to Harlem
Hills Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 15)
John Nelson presented a proposal for preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. The IDNR and the Natural Land Institute propose to dedicate nine land parcels as addition and buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. Presently, Harlem Hills Nature Preserve is 54.2 acres in size. The Nature Preserve has been owned and managed by the IDNR since 1972, with the exception of a 1.8-acre private land addition by Dr. Barbara M. Atwood in 1996. The gravel prairies at Harlem Hills represent the last of their kind in the Winnebago Section of the Northeast Morainal Natural Division. The total acreage of dry-mesic gravel prairie in Illinois is 51.7 acres. The Harlem Hills INAI site (#918) contains 35 of those acres, or 67.7 percent of all remaining gravel prairies within the State. The proposed nature preserve addition includes the remainder of the unprotected INAI site and includes one State-listed plant not known from the existing Harlem Hills Nature Preserve. It is the recommendation of INPC and IDNR staff that parcels 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, comprising 28.83 acres, be dedicated as addition to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve and that parcels 9, 10, and 11, comprising 11.58 acres, be dedicated as buffer to same. These additions will help protect unique natural communities, two State-endangered plants - downy yellow painted cup (Castilleja sessiliflora) and redroot (Ceanothus herbaceus) and provide potential habitat for a State-threatened butterfly.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that it was his understanding that George and Barbara Fell spent their wedding night camped out at Harlem Hills.
Jill Kennay, NLI, stated that this was true. When Mr. Fell was in high school, he wrote an essay about Harlem Hills. He talked about the plants that grew there and that one day this may not be here because development had started in that area. Through the INPC, this site has been protected. She stated that anything that can be done to further protect this area should be done.
It was moved by Riddell, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried, with Ross-Shannon abstaining that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of an addition of nature preserve and nature preserve buffer to Harlem Hills Nature Preserve in Winnebago County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-18) Lake Co.
– Old Mill Flatwoods Addition of Nature Preserve Buffer to Florsheim Park
Nature Preserve, Dedication
Steve Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Village of Lincolnshire for final dedication of the Old Mill Flatwoods addition of nature preserve buffer to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve. The Old Mill Flatwoods addition of nature preserve buffer to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve is 31 acres in size. The proposed addition is part of a 55-acre tract recently annexed into the Village of Lincolnshire that provides for development of the Old Mill Woods subdivision. The Old Mill Flatwoods addition is located adjacent to Florsheim Park within the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in Lake County. Florsheim Park Nature Preserve was included on the INAI for sedge meadow, mesic prairie, dry-mesic forest and northern flatwoods natural communities that support four State-listed plant species (INAI #1500), including the federally listed eastern prairie fringed orchid (Plantanthera leucophaea). The dry-mesic forest and northern flatwoods extend into the proposed addition. This proposal provides for siting, constructing, and operation of a storm water detention basin designed to improve water quality. Protection of the natural resources at this location represents a real success story beginning with the gift of Florsheim Park to the Village of Lincolnshire. This 40-acre site received final approval for dedication at the Commission’s 151st Meeting in May, 1996 (Resolution #1315). In 1999, the Village acquired North Park and subsequently chose to formally protect a portion of the park (38 acres) as an addition to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve (171st Meeting in May, 2001; Resolution #1570). The 31-acre Old Mill Flatwoods addition received preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 187th Meeting in August, 2005 (Resolution #1835). Upon final approval of this addition by the Commission, the amount of land formally protected as part of Florsheim Park Nature Preserve will increase from 78 to 109 acres.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the stormwater detention basin is part of the original proposal.
Mr. Byers stated that it was part of the original proposal that was presented for preliminary approval. He stated that the stormwater detention basin is designed to the best management practice specifications, and it will provide additional water quality benefits.
It was moved by
Allread, seconded by Schwegman, and carried that the following resolution be
The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of the Old Mill Flatwoods addition of nature preserve buffer to Florsheim Park Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
189-19) Kendall Co. – Maramech Woods Nature Preserve - Request to use Nature Preserve Buffer for Road Drainage Purposes
(Actually presented after Item 16)
Fran Klaas, Kendall County Highway Department, gave the presentation regarding this subject. The junction of Griswold Springs Road and Fox River Road, adjacent to Maramech Woods Nature Preserve, is a dangerous intersection with a history of accidents and a recent fatality. The Kendall County Highway Department, with the support of the Nature Preserve’s landowner (Kendall County Forest Preserve District) proposes to improve its safety. All alternatives were explored, and the only feasible option involves re-grading and vegetating swales just outside the existing road right-of-way within dedicated buffer. No hard surface or new right-of-way is proposed. While the proposal will involve earth-moving within the dedicated buffer, it will actually improve the condition of the swale, which is currently a constant source of weeds and siltation within the higher quality Nature Preserve. The existing roadway would be expanded to three lanes at the intersection which will allow a protected turn lane. An eight-foot shoulder would be installed, and the entire roadway would be paved over with a bituminous resurfacing. Landscaping would be done to all the disturbed areas. The road will be cut down approximately four feet, then taper it back to the existing pavement. Mr. Klaas stated that in order to guarantee that everything is done in accordance with the wishes of both the Kendall County Forest Preserve District and Kendall County, an intergovernmental agreement would be establish to govern the work. The Kendall County Highway Department and Forest Preserve District are seeking approval from the Commission to move forward with its plans.
Jason Petit, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, stated that the Kendall County Forest Preserve District has worked closely with Fran Klaas and the Kendall County Highway Department to alleviate a lot of the concerns that the Forest Preserve District had regarding this project. He stated that it was his opinion that the proposed project will have no impact on the buffer area. This project will alleviate some of the erosion problem within the ditch area, and the prairie restoration will add to what has already been done to manage the site. He stated that it was also his opinion that this project will not have any negative impacts to Maramech Woods Nature Preserve.
Commissioner Keating asked what checks and balances will be in place to monitor the restoration to insure the prairie does get established.
Mr. Petit stated that he would be responsible for that aspect of the project.
Commissioner Riddell stated that she wanted to compliment Mr. Klaas on his excellent report, and she appreciated the fact that the Kendall County Highway Department has worked so closely with the Kendall County Forest Preserve District.
Commissioner Riddell asked what type of impact would road salt have on the Nature Preserve and would there be any change in the hydrology of the site.
Mr. Klaas stated that road salt is used, however, this not a capacity improvement. The proposed change is for a safety improvement. The amount of new pavement that is being added is minimal. They will be looking at the low profile prairie and using species that are more salt tolerant. He has been working with Brook McDonald from the Conservation Foundation, and Mr. McDonald has been giving the Highway Department information from a Morton Arboretum study on some of the species that are better tolerant to salt. Mr. Klaas stated that it was the opinion of the Highway Department that they would use whatever the Forest Preserve District feels would work the best and be the most tolerant to those conditions.
Kim Roman stated that this project will actually improve the existing situation farther down stream when the water flows into the higher quality Nature Preserve. There would be an improvement in the hydrology.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that Kendall County is rapidly developing, and he asked if further changes would be needed for capacity at this intersection.
Mr. Klaas stated that he certainly would not rule that out, but no capacity improvements in this area are planned in the Highway Department’s 2030 plan.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked if the Highway Department has considered using a four-foot shoulder at this site rather than the proposed eight-foot shoulder.
Mr. Klaas stated that it is possible to do this, but the Highway Department would need a variance because of the traffic count on Fox River Drive. He stated that the IDOT standard for this type of traffic count is an eight-foot shoulder, but it is something that could be considered.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis urged the Highway Department to explore the possibility of using a four-foot shoulder.
It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Allread, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the proposed safety improvements at the junction of Griswold Springs Road and Fox River Road, adjacent to Maramech Woods Nature Preserve in Kendall County as presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting.
Chair Drucker stated that he also felt the presentation was very well done and this shows that the consultation process does work well.
189-20) Hancock Co. – Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve - Proposal to use a Portion of the Land and Water Reserve for Road Right-of-Way for Expansion of IL Rt. 136 to 4 Lanes
(Actually presented after Item 18)
Dennis O’Connell, District 6 Environmental Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), presented a proposal to use a portion of Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve for road right-of-way expansion of IL Route 136 to four lanes. Mr. O’Connell stated that IDOT is requesting that an interagency agreement be signed between the INPC and the IDOT, and the IDNR. The interagency agreement spells out terms and conditions to allow the IDOT to go forth with construction of Illinois 336 which is located adjacent to Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve. The Cecil White Prairie is a 33-acre tract in eastern Hancock County donated in 1998 to the IDNR by Cecil and Eleanor White of Tennessee, Illinois. The donation included a significant portion of the 62-acre Cecil White Prairie INAI site (#155) recognized for having 1 acre of high quality loess hill prairie. The entire site given to IDNR was registered as the Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve in October, 2002 with the qualifying features being a high quality loess hill prairie community and significant archeological resources. IDOT has been working with INPC and IDNR staff to develop a solution to allow use of a minimal portion of the Land and Water Reserve for road construction (drainage ditch improvement) and temporary and permanent right-of-way easement while providing the means to protect and improve the condition of the significant natural features.
Angella Moorehouse stated that Cecil White passed away in December, 2005. His son, Gerald, had power of attorney for his father. She stated that she had discussed this project with Gerald White, and Mr. White had a few concerns. One of his concerns was having a wildlife corridor underneath the road, and that was addressed. Mr. White is now satisfied with the proposed project, and he sees it as a positive because of the additional $15,000 which can be used to address some of the problems at the site. She stated that Tim Kelley and Hal Hassen from the IDNR were also involved in the negotiation.
Randy Heidorn stated that since this is a land and water reserve, there needs to be a finding both by the IDNR and the INPC that this action is in the public interest. There is a signed public interest finding from the IDNR that was approved on January 25, 2006.
Commissioner DeLaurentiis asked what type of animals will be using the wildlife corridor.
Ms. Moorehouse stated that the wildlife corridor will be further west of the Land and Water Reserve, and it will be used mostly by deer.
Mr. O’Connell stated it will be a 7 x 8 foot box culvert, and this type of culvert has been used in other areas.
Chair Drucker stated this was another example of a good consultation process.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission finds that the proposed road improvements, construction, mitigation activities, and land transfer involving Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve for the expansion of Illinois Route 136 as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 189th Meeting are in the public interest.
It was moved by Ross-Shannon, seconded by Keating, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:
The Commission approves the plan for the road right-of-way expansion of Illinois Route 136, including work within Cecil White Prairie Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the189th Meeting.
Mr. O’Connell stated that the IDOT would like to specifically thank Angella Moorehouse for working on this project.
189-21) Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)
There was no public comment.
189-22) Other Business
Commissioner Allread stated that Marilyn Campbell will be retiring as Executive Director of the Illinois Audubon Society at the end of March, 2006. Ms. Campbell has been an advisor to the INPC for quite sometime, and she would like to note her service in leading the Illinois Audubon Society to the level that she has. She has also been a good voice for the INPC. She stated that she would like to have a resolution prepared that could be presented to Ms. Campbell at the 190th Meeting.
Randy Heidorn stated that he will work on an appropriate resolution for Ms. Campbell that will be presented at the next INPC meeting.
Commissioner Ross-Shannon stated that there have been some challenging issues brought before the Commission over the last year, and he felt that with the help of the INPC staff, the Commission has been able to reach good resolutions. He also felt that the INPC staff has done a tremendous job considering the constraints and staff reductions that they have had to deal with.
It was moved by
Riddell, seconded by Allread, and unanimously approved to adjourn. The meeting
was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
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