Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Minutes of the 192nd Meeting
(subject to approval of Commission at 193rd Meeting)

Kankakee Elks Club
2283 Bittersweet Drive
Aroma Park, IL 60910

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call to Order, Roll Call and Introduction of Attendees

At 10:0 a.m., pursuant to the Call to Order of Chair Ross-Shannon, the meeting began.

Chair Ross-Shannon read the roll call.

Members present: Jill Allread, Harry Drucker, Ronald Flemal, Richard Keating, Mare Payne, Jill Riddell, Lauren Rosenthal, Bruce Ross-Shannon, and John Schwegman.

Members absent: None.

Others present: Steven Byers, Judy Faulkner Dempsey, Bob Edgin, Randy Heidorn, Tom Lerczak, Angella Moorehouse, Kelly Neal, John Nelson, Debbie Newman, Debbie Reider, Kim Roman, Mary Kay Solecki, and Deborah Stone, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC); Glen Kruse, Eric Smith and Bob Szafoni, Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR); Kathi Davis, Jessica Forrest, Don McFall, and Rebecca Young, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, IDNR; John Evans, Architecture, Engineering, and Grants, IDNR; Randy Nyboer, Endangered Species Protection Board, (ESPB) and Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS); Dr. David Thomas, INPC Advisor and INHS; Marilyn Campbell, INPC Consultant; Valerie Spale, INPC Consultant and Save the Prairie Society; Tom Clay, INPC Consultant and Illinois Audubon Society; Joe Roth, CorLands; Bill Byrns, The Daily Journal; Fran Harty, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); John Sullivan, Indian Boundary Prairies; Stephen Lilly, Kankakee County Board; Mark Henderson, Allen Henderson and Associates, Inc.; Bill Gonterman representing Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs; Roger C. Anderson, Mary Horgan, Angelo Capparella, and Gretchen Knapp, ParkLands, representing Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve; Kenneth Spale representing the buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve; Barbara Turner and Jane Wittig, representing the nature preserve addition to Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve; Chris Merenowicz, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, representing the buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve; and Georganne Higgins; Marianne Hahn, Fiends of the Kankakee, representing the buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve.

Adoption of Agenda
Item 24 will be deferred until the 193rd INPC Meeting in February, 2007. It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Riddell, and carried that the Agenda be adopted as amended.

Approval of the Minutes of the 191st Meeting, August 8, 2006

It was moved by Drucker, seconded by Keating, and carried that the Minutes of the 191st Meeting, August 8, 2006, be approved.

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Kim Roman, Eric Smith, and Fran Harty for arranging and leading the field trip on Monday, October 23, 2006. He also thanked the Elks Club for hosting the INPC meeting.

Chair Ross-Shannon reported that at the 191st Meeting of the INPC, held at the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake, legal protection for six tracts of land totaling 156.75 acres was approved by the Commission. The six 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 the tracts of private land is $6,011,000 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. Private lands protected without State acquisition at the INPCs 191st Meeting were: an addition to Kedzior Woodland Land and Water Reserve, Fulton County; an addition to Sweet Fern Savanna, Kankakee County; Jean Farwell Woods Land and Water Reserve, Lake County; Jean Farwell addition to Middlefork Savanna, Lillard and Farwell Parcels, Lake County; and Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve, Randolph County. Protection of this land came about because the Commission has nine staff in the field working with private landowners. There are now 332 dedicated nature preserves in 81 counties totaling 44,685.688 acres and 134 land and water reserves in 58 counties totaling 37,986.834 acres.

2007 Proposed Meeting Schedule

193rd February 6, 10:00 a.m. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
194th May 1, 9:00 a.m. Giant City State Park, Makanda
195th August 7, 10:00 a.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
196th October 23, 10:00 a.m. Sugar Grove Nature Center, Funks Grove

It was moved by Schwegman, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the proposed 2007 meeting schedule be adopted.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that Angella Moorehouse was recognized by the Illinois Archeological Society and was chosen as a recipient of the Illinois Archeological Public Service Award for the successful protection of archeological resources in the Nature Preserve System for the protection of Wapello Land and Water Reserve. Chair Ross-Shannon presented Ms. Moorehouse with the award.

Chair Ross-Shannon presented Commissioner Drucker with a framed picture of a sandhill crane and plaque which reads, “This token of appreciation is presented to Harry W. Drucker in recognition of his exemplary and dedicated service to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission as its Chair from 2004-2006, presented this 24th day of October, 2006.”

INPC Staff Report

Randy Heidorn presented the INPC staff report, and it is attached as Exhibit A.

Chair Ross-Shannon commended the INPC staff on their hard work and dedication to the protection of natural areas.

Chair Ross-Shannon asked if the development next to Palatine Prairie Nature Preserve will continue.

Steven Byers stated that the concept plan provides for development within three feet of the boundary of the Nature Preserve with a thirty-foot setback; then a seven-story building. This will be the first time the Commission has had to look at the effects of shading of a prairie. This issue has been raised, and the developer has initiated discussion through consultation with the IDNR. The first preliminary planning meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 31, 2006.

Kim Roman stated that in August, 2006, the Forest Preserve District of Will County (FPDWC) notified her that Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve was being buried alive in silt. The origin of the silt is a 10-acre development site owned by In Site Properties. The 10-acre site underwent mass grading approximately two years ago, and a massive amount of fill was introduced with no soil erosion control measures in place. Last year a single row of silt fencing was installed by the developer. The site is too big and unstable to be controlled with only a single row of silt fencing. Each time it rains, the silt and fill is being washed off into the Nature Preserve and into Hickory Creek. The depth of the silt is anywhere from a light dusting to over a foot deep in the worst area.

Ms. Roman stated that she met at the site with representatives from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the developer, the Village of New Lennox, and the FPDWC. More fencing was installed, along with temporary sediment basins. This was effective in slowing down the silt migration, and most of the silt stayed on the In Site Properties’ site. However, she stated that she last visited the site on Monday, October 23, 2006, and there were failures in the fencing. Ms. Roman stated that there is still a lack of cooperation from In Site Properties. She stated that it was the developer’s position that this was not his issue to deal with, and he does not want to take any responsibility to clean up the site. The developer advised her that he purchased the property last year, and he did not do any earthmoving or introduce any fill. Randy Heidorn and Stan Yonkauski, Legal Counsel for the IDNR, have recommended that the Illinois Attorney General’s (IAG) office become involved. The INPC and the IDNR are in the process of putting together the referral to the IAG.

Commissioner Drucker stated that as long as the INPC proceeds in a judicious manner, the owner of the property should be made to stop the sedimentation and the INPC should extract damages from the owner.

Ms. Roman stated that the IEPA is working toward pursuing a violation against the owner. A police report has been completed by a Conservation Police Officer.

IDNR Staff Report

Glen Kruse presented the following staff report:

Natural Areas Evaluation Committee

The Natural Areas Evaluation Committee met in Springfield on September 26, 2006. Actions approved by the committee included:

McCune Sand Prairie, Bureau County: restored to the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) as a Category II site for specific, suitable habitat for broomrape and western hognose snake.

Barnhart Prairie, Champaign County: approved expansion of boundary to include Barnhart Prairie Restoration Nature Preserve, as approved by the Commission at its 187th meeting.

Fults Hill Prairie - Kidd Lake Marsh, Monroe County: approved expansion of boundary to include the Buettner addition which contains two grade B limestone glades with diverse plant communities. Although not yet confirmed, it is anticipated that the eastern narrow-mouthed toad and a state-endangered reptile will be found on this site.

Huddleston Woods, Jasper County: approved name change from Huddleston Woods to Huddlestun Woods to reflect the proper spelling of the landowner’s name.

The next meeting of the Natural Areas Evaluation Committee will be held in Springfield on January 9, 2007.

Land Acquisition

The IDNR acquired two natural area tracts using the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund (NAAF) since the last Commission meeting. The Oakmount tract at Black Crown Marsh State Natural Area in McHenry County was acquired on October 12, 2006. This 113-acre parcel includes part of the marsh along with buffering uplands. Black Crown Marsh is an INAI site that provides habitat for six endangered or threatened wetland dependent birds including the sandhill crane, black tern, and least bittern. Black Crown Marsh State Natural Area is now 338 acres in size with 156 acres registered as a land and water reserve. NAAF money was combined with federal Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) money and a grant from the Conservation Foundation to acquire the property. CorLands provided major assistance in completing this complicated transaction.

One hundred three acres were acquired at the former Savanna Army Depot in Jo Daviess County on October 23, 2006. This tract is part of a 14,200-acre INAI site along the Mississippi River. The site is included on the INAI for significant bottomland forest, sand prairie and sand savanna, and habitat for 17 endangered or threatened species. The 103-acre tract includes sand prairie and sand savanna habitat and populations of six endangered or threatened species. The tract was offered for sale at a public auction with only 11 days notice. The Nature Conservancy stepped up, attended the auction, and was the successful bidder on the 103 acres. The IDNR then finalized the purchase using money from the NAAF. The Conservation Foundation of Jo Daviess County provided significant local support for the purchase, and Randy Nyboer provided critical environmental information to complete the transaction. The new acquisition is adjacent on the north and west to the 9,400-acre Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The IDNR’s 183-acre Primm’s Pond natural area is just east of the new acquisition.

Personnel Changes

The Division of Natural Heritage was fortunate to post three job vacancies in late September. They were: 1) Natural Areas Program Manager (Public Service Administrator), located in Springfield; 2) Invasive Species Specialist (Natural Resource Advanced Specialist), located in Springfield; and 3) District 14 Natural Heritage Biologist (Natural Resource Specialist), located in Charleston. The application periods for each of these positions closed in early October, 2006. Applications are being reviewed and interviews will be scheduled soon.

Wildlife Preservation Fund

Total contributions through the income tax check-off as of October 6, 2006, were just over $196,000, approximately $43,000 behind the same date last year. All check-off funds are down this year by $21,000 to $100,000. The reduced receipts relative to recent years will likely force a reduction in the amount made available for both small and large grants in fiscal year (FY) 2008. There will be 12 check-offs on the 2006 IL1040 (there were 16 on the 2005 form). The Wildlife Preservation Fund will once again be listed first, appearing on line 28A of the tax form.

Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update

The Professional Business Case for the INAI update has been approved by the Department of Central Management Services. This gives the IDNR the go-ahead to publish a request for proposals (RFP) in the Illinois Procurement Bulletin. It is anticipated that the RFP will be published in the next 2-3 weeks with proposals due near year’s end. After review of proposals and selection of a contractor, it is hoped that work on the update will begin in January or early February, 2007. Anticipated to be a three-year project, the INAI update is expected to cost approximately $6-6.5 million.

Endangered Species Protection Board Staff Report

Randy Nyboer, ESPB Manager, stated that the ESPB held its August, 2006, meeting in Springfield. The next meeting will be held Friday, November 17, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. at Apple River Fort in Elizabeth.

Mr. Nyboer stated that he was appointed to the Illinois Fish and Wildlife Action Team (IFWAT) as a representative from the ESPB. The people on the IFWAT belong to different organizations that have supported the action plan. The next meeting of the IFWAT will be on November 15, 2006.

Mr. Nyboer stated that he met with the ORC division chiefs and Randy Heidorn. He stated that Glen Kruse created an outline for developing the needs or guidelines for recovery planning for endangered species. A meeting was also held with ORC staff on the need to find solutions for conserving Blanding’s turtles. He stated that he also attended the Natural Areas Conference.

Mr. Nyboer stated that he has worked on IEPA reports on the state-threatened lined snake at the Savanna Army Depot. He has also been working on reports that involve approximately 12 state-listed species at the Savanna Army Depot.

He stated that he has been reviewing conservation plans for incidental take which mostly involve the Blanding’s turtle. He has also been working with the Illinois Natural History Survey staff to establish the Lost Mound Corp of Discovery. This program is similar to the ones at the Cache River and Emiquon. Volunteers are involved in doing monitoring of the landscape and endangered species. Mr. Nyboer also stated that he will be giving a presentation on endangered species in hill prairies at Principia College on Friday, October 27, 2006.

Randy Heidorn stated for the record that the registration documents have been signed by the landowner prior to coming before the Commission as required by the administrative rules.

Crawford Co. – Edward V. Price Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Bob Edgin presented a proposal to register Edward V. Price Woods as a land and water reserve. This 78.5-acre parcel, owned by John W. Schulte, contains floodplain, upland and successional forests, a 6.8-acre linear wetland, a small pond, and a population of the state-threatened storax (Styrax americanum). The site is located in the Bottomlands Section of the Wabash Border Natural Division. A power line easement is located along the south half of the east boundary, and a small cabin is located in the northeast corner of the proposed land and water reserve. Allowable uses would include natural community restoration, nature observation and study, scientific research with prior approval from the landowner and approval of special use permits (if required), bird watching, photography, hunting, fishing, trapping, fungi foraging, maintenance of a hiking trail, and collection of dead, downed trees as firewood for the owner’s personal use. No commercial timber harvests, off highway vehicles, or equestrian use will be allowed within the proposed land and water reserve. Registration will be in perpetuity.

Mr. Edgin stated that there is electrical service connected to the small cabin, but it is not connected to the transformer at the road. Mr. Schulte has no intention of refurbishing or utilizing this cabin, and he reserves the right to tear it down.

Commissioner Keating asked if it would be possible to restore the original hydrology of the site by blocking the cutoff from operation so the original drainage pattern will return without causing flooding for the adjacent landowners.

Mr. Edgin stated that it may be feasible to restore the original hydrology without blocking the cutoff. The water level is slightly below what it is in Big Creek, and he proposes bringing the water level up another foot. Restoring that meander may be difficult because of objections from the other landowners and the drainage district.

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Edward V. Price Woods in Crawford County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 8 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1914)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked Mr. Edgin to convey the thanks of the Commission to Mr. Schulte for making this registration.

Iroquois Co. – Iroquois Sands Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Kim Roman presented a proposal to register Iroquois Sands as a land and water reserve. The Friends of the Kankakee, Iroquois Chapter, owns and manages approximately 70 acres of sand savanna, sand prairie, and old field in Iroquois County. This 70-acre parcel lies east of Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve and Iroquois County State Wildlife Area Land and Water Reserve. Iroquois Sands harbors assemblages of plants and animals unique to the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division of Illinois. It provides habitat for Carey’s heartsease (Polygonum careyi), shore St. John’s wort (Hypericum adpressum), eastern blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum), and crowded oval sedge (Carex cumulate), all state-endangered species. This site is being managed as a natural area, and the landowner proposes to register the site in perpetuity as a land and water reserve.

Ms. Roman stated that there is a pipeline right-of-way at this site, and the pipeline company has maintained it in an open state. There is a relatively high-quality wet mesic sand prairie along that area. Ms. Roman stated that some of the allowable uses are nature observation, hiking, and hunting. The landowner retains the right to create perimeter trails that will also act as fire lanes. The landowner would also like to create small parking areas in the disturbed home sites and place kiosks, interpretive signs, and other user amenities.

Ms. Roman recognized Marianne Hahn, President of the Friends of the Kankakee, Iroquois Chapter.

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

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Iroquois Sands in Iroquois County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 9 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1915)

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Ms. Hahn for her diligence in protecting this site.

192-10) Lee Co. – Ryan Wetland and Sand Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

John Nelson presented a proposal to register Ryan Wetland and Sand Prairie as a land and water reserve. Ryan Wetland and Sand Prairie, owned by the Lee County Soil and Water Conservation District, is a 41.5-acre site located in south-central Lee County. The site is situated on glacial till and sandy eolian deposits of the Bloomington Moraine overlooking the broad outwash plain of the Green River Lowlands. The proposed land and water reserve is part of the larger 202.3-acre Ryan Wetland and Sand Prairie INAI site (#1681). The INAI site consists of low to moderate quality ephemeral sand ponds and sand prairie, and it provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species, including two state-threatened species: Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia). The landowner wishes to register this site in perpetuity.

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

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Ryan Wetland and Sand Prairie in Lee County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 10 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1916)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the thanks of the Commission be relayed to the Lee County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Commission Drucker stated that this is the second registration before the Commission today that was made possible by funds from Illinois Clean Energy.

192-11) Monroe Co. – Angela’s Prairie Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Debbie Newman presented a proposal for registration of Angela’s Prairie Land and Water Reserve. Angela’s Prairie, owned by Charles and Joan Frederick, is a 283-acre site that includes part of the 232-acre INAI site known as the Renault Herpetological Areas (#761). The Herpetological Area was noted for its important collection of five rare or state-listed reptiles and amphibians. Angela’s Prairie consists of approximately nine acres of grade C loess hill prairie, 202 acres of grade C dry-mesic and mesic upland forest, 12 acres of grade C dry upland forest/talus slope, and 60 acres of crop field. In addition, a grade A limestone cliff stretches for 3,400 feet across the proposed land and water reserve. The site is located adjacent to Angela’s Prairie Natural Heritage Landmark, approximately 800 feet from Brickey-Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, and one-third of a mile from William A. DeMint Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve. The proposed land and water reserve is the 15th site in a 35-mile corridor of bluffs to receive some level of protection from the INPC. This corridor contains 4,000 acres of INAI sites.

Ms. Newman stated that some of the allowable uses will be hunting, installation of deer stands, timber harvest in accordance with an IDNR-approved plan, mushroom picking, firewood collection for personal use, one primitive camp site, and use of ATVs specifically on existing trails for maintenance and retrieval of deer. The existing trails and rock road will be maintained. Ginseng and goldenseal will be harvested in accordance with the IDNR-approved regulations. There are approximately 60 acres of agricultural land in this proposed land and water reserve. The agricultural section has a conservation plan with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that calls for minimum tillage residue to retain wildlife habitat and to minimize soil erosion. The fields are mostly no-till, which exceeds the NRCS’s requirements. The landowner has approximately 3-4 acres of the 60-acre section in food plots for wildlife. Two of the food plots are perennial food plots. The landowner has agreed to plant some field border strips of prairie and/or non-native cool season grasses to minimize soil erosion and provide additional nesting habitat for birds and other species. There are also two silt dams that were constructed by the NRCS to minimize erosion going into the forested land adjacent to the crop fields. The landowner would also like to have the right to maintain these by mowing them periodically and keep the trees off of the silt dams. She stated that it is staffs’ opinion that the crop fields are not negatively impacting the feature for the proposed land and water reserve. If the crop fields are excluded from the land and water reserve and the fields subsequently developed, there would be a negative impact on the species found in this area. Whenever the landowner decides to retire the crop fields, they will be restored back to natural lands as is outline in the Natural Areas Preservation Act and the Administrative Rules for land and water reserves.

Commissioner Drucker commended Ms. Newman’s work in this area.

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Angela’s Prairie in Monroe County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 11 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1917)

192-12) Monroe Co. – Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs Land and Water Reserve, Registration

Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal to register Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs as a land and water reserve. This 42-acre site, owned by J. W. Gonterman, Jr., is a portion of the Renault Herpetological Area (INAI #761) and is located with the Northern Section of the Ozark Natural Division. This site encompasses 1-1/4 miles of southwest-facing Mississippi River bluff above the American Bottom in Monroe County which provides habitat for six rare or state-threatened or endangered reptiles and amphibians. Renault Herpetological Area contains grade A limestone cliff communities, as well as loess hill prairies and upland forests. The southeast one-fifth of the area, also owned by J. W. Gonterman, Jr., was dedicated as Brickey-Gonterman Memorial Hill Prairie Nature Preserve in 1998. The proposed land and water reserve is composed of dry upland, dry-mesic upland, and mesic upland forested slopes on the backside of the adjoining limestone cliff/hill prairie Nature Preserve.

Ms. Faulkner Dempsey stated that some of the allowable uses will be primitive camping, picnic tables, environmentally-friendly toilet, and hunting. Mr. Gonterman would also like to retain the right to lease the right to hunt the property from time to time. He would also like to establish a series of platform tents, along the ridge and down along the creek. There will be a minimal charge to cover the maintenance of the tent sites.

Mr. Gonterman thanked the Commission for saving the land and the environment for future generations. He stated that he is setting up a family foundation with a 100-year plan for the continued ownership and maintenance of this site.

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

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Brickey-Gonterman at Renault Bluffs in Monroe County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 12 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1918)

Commissioner Allread stated that it is a privilege to see Mr. Gonterman registering the property with a vision that will invite people to the property. The reason for a land and water reserve designation is to bring people to a site and get them to embrace the special features. She stated that he is helping people to connect with nature, and she thanked him for having the foresight.

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Mr. Gonterman for coming to the meeting. He stated that the work and dedication that Mr. Gonterman has shown in preserving his land is an inspiration.

Washington Co. – Wieland Woods Land and Water Reserve, Registration
(Actually presented after Item 23)

Debbie Newman presented a proposal to register Wieland Woods as a land and water reserve. The proposed land and water reserve, owned by Steven Powers, is a 20-acre site in Illinois’ largest contiguous forest block (7,302 acres) in the Kaskaskia River corridor located in the Effingham Section of the Southern Till Plains Natural Division. Wieland Woods is comprised of grade C wet-mesic floodplain forest with approximately one-fourth acre of a larger shrub swamp/open marsh known as Clear Lake. The Kaskaskia large forest block harbors Illinois’ largest breeding population of the state-threatened cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulean). Wieland Woods provides breeding habitat for the cerulean warbler, as well as 12 Illinois Wildlife Action Plan Species in greatest need of conservation and/or species having a high sensitivity to forest fragmentation. The proposed land and water reserve is one-fourth of a mile east of the 160-acre Nature’s Way Natural Heritage Landmark (NHL) and three-quarters of a mile northeast of the 40-acre Recker Woods NHL. One-half mile to the south of Wieland Woods is the 30-acre Marilandica Areas Land and Water Reserve (LWR) and Serendipity Acres NHL. Two miles northeast, and also with the large forest block, are the 55-acre Chip-O-Will LWR and the 40-acre Sipple Slough LWR. In addition to this, Original Kaskaskia Area Wilderness Land Trust holds several conservation easements in the area.

Ms. Newman stated that some of the allowable uses are hunting, maintenance of deer stands, mushroom picking, trail maintenance, use of an ATV to retrieve deer, fishing, and firewood collection for personal use.

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

The Commission grants approval for the registration of Wieland Woods in Washington County as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 13 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1919)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the Commission’s appreciation be conveyed to Mr. Powers.

Lunch break was taken from 12:30 pm – 1:05 pm.

Cook Co. – Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve,
Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 20)

Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) for preliminary dedication of an 8.74-acre nature preserve buffer addition, consisting of two separate parcels, to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve (INAI #256). Both the Nature Preserve and the proposed addition are located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in southern Cook County. The proposed addition lies just upstream from the Nature Preserve and includes a continuation of the dolomitic cliff community, which is a hallmark of Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve. Other natural communities include degraded elements of dry-mesic and mesic forest arrayed along soil and moisture gradients. Dedication of the two parcels as a buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve will further protect the headwaters of the Nature Preserve, thereby helping to prevent serious alteration of surface hydrology and stream hydraulics within the canyon. Formal protection of the two parcels honors the commitment of the INPC to work with the FPDCC and CorLands to effect the terms of a purchase agreement. Dedication of this buffer addition will increase the size of Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve from 135.0 to 143.74 acres.

Chris Merenowicz, FPDCC, thanked the Commission for its work on this project, along with the help of CorLands.

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Mr. Merenowicz for attending the meeting, and he stated that the INPC looks forward to a strong partnership with the FPDCC.

Mr. Byers stated that he would like to recognize the efforts of Joe Roth of CorLands.

Mr. Roth thanked the Commission for its partnership in the protection of these sites. He also thanked the FPDCC for dedicating this buffer addition.

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

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of the nature preserve buffer addition to Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 14 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1920)

192-15) Cook Co. – Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve,
Dedication

Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of Save the Prairie Society for preliminary approval of a 0.9-acre parcel as nature preserve buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve (INAI #251). Wolf Road Prairie supports high-quality mesic prairie and has been recognized as the largest and best-quality “black soil” prairie located east of the Mississippi River. Both the prairie and the proposed buffer addition are located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division in Cook County. The proposed addition is part of a 5-acre lot referred to as 10 Hickory Lane. The Commission conferred final approval for most of the balance of this lot at its 168th Meeting in August, 2000 (Resolution #547). Dedication of the proposed buffer addition will protect elements of a restored prairie and stream corridor, maintain the existing landscape linkage with the prairie, buffer the prairie from incompatible development, and serve as a model for protection of other lots located adjacent to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve. Dedication of this addition will increase the size of Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve from 53.9 to 54.8 acres.

Valerie Spale, Save the Prairie Society, stated that she is pleased to be here today seeking the additional protection for this site and the watershed. She stated that the volunteers have been working to eliminate invasive species, and new species are being discovered in the northwest corner. With the FPDCC vacating the road, it is hoped that the road will never be built. She stated that she would also like to thank the Commission for its letter of support to the FPDCC for the vacation of the road and defending Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve.

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Ms. Spale for her comments and stated that she is a valued defender of the prairie.

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 a nature preserve buffer addition to Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve in Cook County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 15 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1921)

Iroquois Co. – Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature
Preserve, Dedication

Kim Roman presented a proposal on behalf of The Friends of the Kankakee, Iroquois Chapter, for preliminary approval of a 2-acre nature preserve buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer addition is adjacent to the existing Nature Preserve. Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve, owned by the IDNR, was dedicated in 1985. The Nature Preserve is 560 acres in size and is located in the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. This INAI site (#577) was purchased by the IDNR in 1984 as an addition to its holdings at the Iroquois State Wildlife Area. Known for its high-quality dry and dry-mesic sand savanna and sand flatwoods communities, Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve is one of the best natural areas in the Kankakee Sands region. Hooper Branch Savanna provides habitat for numerous uncommon plants and animals indigenous to sandy regions in Illinois, and it is also known to harbor five state-endangered species: shore St. John’s wort (Hypericum adpressum), Carey’s heartsease (Polygonum careyi), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum) bristly blackberry (Rubus setosus), and primrose violet (Viola primulifolia). The 2-acre buffer addition to the existing Nature Preserve currently does not share the same high-quality natural character or habitat; however, it does lend itself towards the completion of good preserve design. Protection of this addition and its subsequent restoration will enhance the ecological value of Hooper Branch Savanna.

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

The Commission grants preliminary approval for the dedication of a nature preserve buffer addition to Hooper Branch Savanna Nature Preserve in Iroquois County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 16 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1922)

Crawford Co. – Emma Vance Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication

Bob Edgin presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of Emma Vance Woods as a nature preserve. The 41-acre parcel is owned by the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Eastern Community College District #529. The site is located in the Effingham Plain Section of the Southern Till Plain Natural Division and is included on the INAI for the presence of 11.7 acres of grade B dry-mesic upland forest and 8.5 acres of grade B mesic floodplain forest (#1735). The site also contains 20.8 acres of successional floodplain forest. Protection is made possible by a donation of the property by Nellie Morris Miles to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 1976. TNC transferred the property to the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Eastern Community College District #529 in 1982. The proposed nature preserve will be named in honor of Mrs. Miles’ mother, Emma Vance Morris. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1897).

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Rosenthal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Emma Vance Woods in Crawford County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 17 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1923)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the thanks of the Commission be conveyed to the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Eastern Community College District #529.

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

Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the City of Lake Forest for final approval for dedication of a 0.26-acre parcel as a buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. The site is located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Natural Morainal Division and is between two parcels (Lillard parcel #2 and Farwell parcel) that were conferred preliminary approval for dedication at the Commission’s 190th Meeting in May, 2006. The site includes elements of mesic forest and dry-mesic forest (INAI #1245) that extend east from Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. The City of Lake Forest reserves the right to maintain an existing water line that was installed approximately 75 years ago and install other public utilities and services as provided for in a pre-existing easement. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1898).

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

The Commission grants final approval for the buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 18 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1924)

 

 

Lake Co. – Jean Farwell Woods Buffer Addition (Portion of Lillard Parcel #1) to
Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, Dedication

Steven Byers presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of the 1.5-acre Jean Farwell Woods buffer addition to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve. This 1.5-acre parcel, owned by the Paula Polk Lillard Trust, is a portion of Lillard parcel #1 that is not grazed. While this parcel is subject to a conservation easement that recognizes the right of the owner to maintain “…the continuation of land use patterns existing at the time of this grant…” the operative phrase “…at the time of the grant,” will be construed to reflect that horses currently do not, and will not, have access to this proposed buffer addition. The proposed buffer addition includes surviving elements of mesic savanna (INAI #1245) that extend from Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve and transition into dry-mesic forest. This parcel, located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division, is part of Lillard parcel #1 located adjacent to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve that was presented to the INPC for preliminary approval for dedication as nature preserve buffer at its 190th Meeting in May, 2006. At that meeting, the Commission tabled granting preliminary approval for dedication of Lillard parcel #1 because of the precedent the proposal would have established for grazing on a designated nature preserve buffer. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1899).

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

The Commission grants final approval for the Jean Farwell Woods buffer addition (portion of Lillard Parcel #1) to Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 19 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1925)

Lake Co. – Nature Preserve Addition to Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve,
Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 13)

Steven Byers presented a proposal on behalf of the Village of Long Grove for final approval for dedication of a 2.216-acre parcel as an addition to Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve. The parcel is located in the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division, adjacent to Reed-Turner Woodland (INAI #228) and will further consolidate a protected landscape between Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve and Heron Creek Forest Preserve. The proposed addition includes elements of grade C dry-mesic forest and mesic forest that were part of a surviving 45-acre woodland referenced by the Commission at its 42nd Meeting in 1972. At that time, the Commission encouraged Harold and Barbara Tuner to preserve a portion of those woods (Resolution #243). In 1980, the Commission conferred final approval for dedication of 32 acres as the Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve (Resolution #559). Since then, the Commission has also approved a master plan for this site (Resolution #637) and two additions that have increased the size of Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve from 32 to 36 acres. This proposed addition will protect suitable habitat for the state-listed pale vetchling (Lathyrus ochroleucus) and increase the size of Reed Turner Woodland Nature Preserve from 36 to 38.216 acres, thereby protecting much of the original 45-acre woodland referenced by the Commission in 1972. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1900).

Mr. Byers stated that the landowner reserves the right to route and construct trails to connect Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve with the nearby Heron Creek Forest Preserve.

Barbara Turner thanked the Commission for its efforts in protecting this site.

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked Ms. Turner for her dedication to protecting natural areas.

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

The Commission grants final approval for an addition to Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve in Lake County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 20 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1926)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the thanks of the Commission be conveyed to the Village of Long Grove.

Madison Co. – Bohm Woods Nature Preserve, Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 19)

Judy Faulkner Dempsey presented a proposal for final approval for dedication of Bohm Woods as a nature preserve. This 92-acre parcel, owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), is considered to be the best remaining example of mesic and dry-mesic upland forest located in the Glaciated Section of the Middle Mississippi Border Natural Division. The INAI described Bohm Woods (#184) as containing very high-quality upland forest and identified three natural communities, totaling 83 acres, within the boundaries of the woods. The three natural communities found at Bohm Woods include grade A mesic upland forest, grade B and C dry-mesic upland forest, and grade C wet bottomland forest. In 1981, the INPC approved in principle the dedication of the entire 83 acres of Bohm Woods INAI site as an Illinois Nature Preserve (Resolution #592). In 1982, Dora Bohm dedicated the northwest 10.3 acres of Bohm Woods as the William and Emma Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve. In 1995, Dora Bohm’s family dedicated the northeast 6.14 acres of the woods as the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve. In 1996, an addition of buffer to the E. Dora Bohm Memorial Nature Preserve, known as Toadwood Scrubs addition as buffer, was dedicated by neighbors John and Kay Kendall. With the proposed dedication, the entire INAI site will be protected. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1905).

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

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Bohm Woods in Madison County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 22 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1927)

Commissioner Keating stated that Clarence Bohm gave him a tour of this property 20 years ago with the hope that it would be saved.

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the thanks of the Commission be conveyed to the IDNR for their partnership in protecting the natural areas of Illinois, and the Commission appreciates the working relationship with the IDNR.

McHenry Co. – McAndrews Glen Nature Preserve Buffer Addition to Boloria
Meadows Nature Preserve, Dedication

John Nelson presented a proposal on behalf of Legacy Homes of Crystal Lake for final approval for dedication of the 6.4-acre McAndrews Glen nature preserve buffer addition to Boloria Meadows Nature Preserve. Boloria Meadows (INAI #1705) is a 36-acre site purchased by the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance in 2003. The purchase of the property was part of a conservation development plan for the McAndrews Glen residential subdivision in the Village of Bull Valley. During the subdivision plat review process and crafting of an annexation agreement with the Village, the developer of McAndrews Glen agreed to incorporate conservation design principals to protect the on-site natural areas. The original development plan was significantly changed by the reduction of home sites from 90 to 30 clustered home sites along with the sale of the high-quality natural area to the Boone Creek Watershed Alliance. Legacy Homes now requests the dedication of 6.4 acres of restored open space land within the subdivision as a buffer addition to Boloria Meadows Nature Preserve. The proposed buffer, located in the Morainal Section of the Northeastern Morainal Natural Division, borders the eastern boundary of the Nature Preserve and is in the initial stages of prairie and woodland restoration. The proposed buffer also provides the only public access to the Nature Preserve. The purchase of the property was accomplished with the assistance of the IDNR’s C2000 program. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1901).

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Payne, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission grants final approval for the McAndrews Glen nature preserve buffer addition to Boloria Meadows Nature Preserve in McHenry County, as described in the proposal presented under Item 22 for the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1928)

McLean Co. – Merwin Savanna Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer,
Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 12)

Tom Lerczak presented a proposal on behalf of the ParkLands Foundation for final approval for dedication of the 78-acre site known as Merwin Savanna as a nature preserve and nature preserve buffer. The site includes the 61.5-acre ParkLands Foundation Merwin Preserve Natural Area, recognized on the INAI (#1734) for an 11-acre, grade C, “best-of-its-kind,” dry-mesic, black-soil savanna. A single 30-acre tract is being proposed for dedication as a nature preserve. This tract contains the 11-acre savanna, 10.5 acres of grade C dry-mesic upland forest, plus peripheral areas supporting upland and bottomland forest. A 0.75-acre hill prairie remnant, listed as a notable feature on the INAI, occurs on the southward-facing river bluffs. Approximately 48 acres in two wooded tracts adjacent to the proposed nature preserve tract (12 acres on the west and 36 acres on the north) are being proposed as nature preserve buffer. Each of the two tracts contains a small gravel parking area. Most of the north buffer tract is listed on the INAI as grade D upland forest. This area contains some of the oldest bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) trees on the site, and its savanna structure is being restored by thinning woody plants and conducting prescribed burns. The southern boundary of the proposed nature preserve and buffer is defined by the centerline of the Mackinaw River, which is a 0.6-mile reach of the Mackinaw River Natural Area (INAI #788). Natural communities at Merwin Savanna are representative of the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1903) for the nature preserve tract (35 acres) and the two nature preserve buffer tracts (48 acres). The nature preserve tract has been reduced to 30 acres so that its boundaries better conform to legal descriptions on existing property deeds.

Mr. Lerczak introduced representatives of the ParkLands Foundation, President Mary Horgan, Vice President Angelo Capparella, Grants Administrator Gretchen Knopp, and Board member, Roger Anderson.

Mr. Anderson stated that he was pleased to be at the meeting. He stated that he served on the INPC for six years, and he understands the importance of preserving natural areas in Illinois. He stated that the ParkLands Foundation is a grassroots organization that was started in 1967. Until recently, the Foundation was operated by an all volunteer staff.

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

The Commission grants final approval for the dedication of Merwin Savanna and buffer in McLean County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described under Item 23 of theAgenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1929)

Chair Ross-Shannon thanked the ParkLands Foundation for their hard work in preserving this site.

Peoria Co. – Peoria Wilds Preserve Buffer Addition to Detweiller Woods Nature
Preserve, Dedication

The dedication proposal for the Peoria Wilds Preserve buffer addition to Detweiller Woods Nature Preserve was deferred to the February 6, 2007, meeting.

Will Co. – Dellwood Park West Nature Preserve and Nature Preserve Buffer
Dedication
(Actually presented after Item 22)

Kim Roman presented a proposal on behalf of the Lockport Township Park District for final approval for dedication of approximately 26 acres of Dellwood Park West as a nature preserve and 83 acres as dedicated buffer. Dellwood Park West is a 196-acre site owned by the Lockport Township Park District. The northern 25 acres is recognized as Lockport Prairie East on the INAI (#14) for its dolomite prairie habitat which harbors the state and federally endangered leafy prairie clover (Dalea foliosa). In addition, the state-endangered Butler’s quillwort (Isoetes butleri) was recently discovered here. While the quality of Lockport Prairie East has declined since its original inventory in 1977, a recent grant allowed for the implementation of a large-scale management and restoration plan. Dolomite prairie and savanna and sedge meadow remnants are still present, and the quality of these communities has been increasing over recent years with aggressive management. Dellwood Park West is also known to contain significant historic and prehistoric archaeological resources. The Commission conferred preliminary approval for dedication at its 191st Meeting in August, 2006 (Resolution #1906).

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

The Commission grants final approval for dedication of Dellwood Park West and buffer in Will County as an Illinois Nature Preserve, as described in the proposal presented under Item 25 of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1930)

Chair Ross-Shannon asked that the thanks of the Commission be conveyed to the Lockport Township Park District.

Public Comment Period (3 minutes per person)

There was no public comment.

Other Business

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that five sets of minutes from closed meetings of the Commission were included in the Commissioners’ packets. The minutes are from the following closed meetings: August 7, 2001, August 6, 2002, August 3, 2004, August 2, 2005, and May 2, 2006. These meetings were closed in accordance with the Open Meetings Act to discuss the purchase of real property. Section 2.06 of the Open Meetings Act provides that public bodies, “shall periodically, but no less than semi-annually, meet to review minutes of all closed sessions. At such meetings, a determination shall be made and reported in an open session that: 1. the need for confidentiality still exists as to all or part of those minutes, or 2. that the minutes or portions thereof no longer require confidential treatment and are available for public inspection.”

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

In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the closed session minutes from the August 7, 2001, August 6, 2002, August 3, 2004, August 2, 2005, and May 2, 2006, meetings will remain confidential but will be reviewed semi-annually to ascertain the need to be kept confidential.

(Resolution 1931)

Steven Byers stated that over the last ten years the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) has not been able to discharge its full responsibility with regard to restoration and management. This may be due in part because of concerns expressed by private individuals. Recently the FPDCC, under the leadership of interim President Bobbie Steele, adopted a resolution that would lift the moratorium on restoration and management and would provide for restoration and management in a way that the INPC is accustomed to and has typically been described by Commission staff. A copy of Cook County’s Executive Order 06 was given to each Commissioner, and Mr. Byers requested that Commission staff be directed to prepare a letter on behalf of the Commission supporting the action taken by Ms. Steele in lifting the moratorium. Mr. Byers stated that Steve Bylina, General Superintendent of the FPDCC, expressed interest in receiving letters from natural resource partners prior to the FPDCC’s Board meeting on October 31, 2006.

Commissioner Riddell stated that she would like to echo what Mr. Byers has presented. She stated that she felt it was very important that the natural areas community show its support and make its voice heard in support of carrying out stewardship activities such as brush control and burning. She stated that it was her opinion that it is very commendable that the FPDCC has lifted the moratorium, and she recommended that Commission staff prepare a letter of support in this matter.

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

The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will forward to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County a strong letter of support for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Executive Order 06 lifting the moratorium on restoration and management of natural areas under the jurisdiction of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

(Resolution 1932)

Randy Heidorn introduced John Evans, Manager of the Division of Architecture and Engineering, IDNR. He stated that Mr. Evans will give a presentation on the trail bridge replacement project at Beall Woods Nature Preserve.

Mr. Evans stated that he is here with Mark Henderson, Project Engineer for Allen Henderson & Associates, Inc. Mr. Evans stated that the issue before the Commission is the installation of pre-engineered, prefabricated, free-span steel bridges. The bridges will replace the existing deteriorated wooden structures that are currently at Beall Woods Nature Preserve. The existing bridges were built in the mid 1970s. This project began in FY03 as a Capital Development Board (CDB) project. The engineering firm of Allen Henderson & Associates, Inc. was selected at that time. The project was designed to 100%; then shelved due to lack of funding. The project was reactivated in late 2005, and it was taken to bid. A contract has been awarded to H & N Construction. Soon after the award of the contract, in keeping with the CDB procedures, a preconstruction meeting was held on site with all the involved parties, including the IDNR, the contractors, the CDB, site personnel, and a representative from the Division of Natural Heritage. The INPC did not have a representative at the preconstruction meeting. At that time there was concern about the impact to the site when installing and erecting the bridges. Initially, there was some misunderstanding on the part of the contractors as to what machinery could be used and to what areas the contractor would need to restrict his machinery. Subsequent to those concerns being voiced, a meeting was held on site to try to rectify and reach a solution. At that point, it was determined that the method of construction would be revised to utilize the “stick built” type of construction. The longevity of the conventional wooden structure and overall esthetics of that type of structure was a concern. After subsequent meetings, it was the IDNR staffs’ opinion that the pre-engineered, prefabricated bridges were going to be best in regard to the longevity of the structure. Numerous recommendations and suggestions in the installation of the pre-engineered, prefabricated bridges have been compiled to minimize the impact on the site and the surrounding area. The engineers made some suggestions utilizing the old bridges as a means of transportation in the process of constructing the bridges at those locations, as well as the abutments; however, those details have yet to be worked out with the contractor. The contractor has made it clear that he will cooperate and be very conscientious about the concerns for the site. The IDNR has indicated to the contractor that he will need to provide matting where necessary to protect any exposed roots or in other areas that would need that type of protection. Most importantly, a commitment has been made on the part of the project engineer and on the part of the Division of Architecture and Engineering (specifically Gary Iles, Regional Engineer) to be on site at all times during the critical portions of the construction process. He will monitor very closely the processes and types of equipment that are being used by the contractor. Mr. Iles will be keeping the equipment track width sizes to a minimum and will be providing a higher level of oversight during this construction project that will give the IDNR assurances that the negative impact to the site and to the surrounding area will be kept to a bare minimum. From an architectural and engineering standpoint, it has been the IDNR’s opinion that these structures are the most suited in terms of the longevity, how the project was initially designed and bid, and getting the bridges replaced in the most expeditious manner. He stated that he is aware of the concerns of the Commission and would not move forward with the activities until is agreed upon by the Commission.

Commissioner Riddell asked if ATVs currently use the existing bridges, and she asked if a picture of the proposed bridge was available.

Mr. Evans stated that the public is not allowed to use ATVs at this site. The ATVs are used by site personnel for their duties in maintaining the site. The current bridges do not accommodate the ATV use.

Mr. Evans stated that he does not have a picture of the proposed structure; however, he could best describe the structure as being a clear span, arch-type, weathered steel structure with a timbered deck. The structure will be in compliance with the codes.

Randy Heidorn stated that he has talked with Jody Shimp, Region V IDNR Administrator, when looking at some of the designs for a stick bridge. The construction of a stick bridge, to meet the codes for the ATV traffic, would be much more intense because of the amount of lumber needed. A stick bridge, with the necessary piers and supports, would be less esthetically pleasing than a clear span bridge.

Commissioner Keating stated that he is concerned about the size of the equipment that will be needed to bring in the replacement bridges.

Mr. Evans stated that the bridges will be brought to the site in sections, and the largest section will be no more than 20 feet long. The sections will be assembled at the location. He stated that Mr. Iles has located a rubber tire, narrow track, piece of equipment that is capable of moving the sections into place. It is preferable that the ground be frozen during the construction phase of the project.

Commissioner Drucker asked if Mr. Evans would be personally overseeing this project.

Mr. Evans stated that he will make efforts as needed to go to the site, but Mr. Iles will be the one overseeing the project.

Commissioner Drucker stated that if the person overseeing this project is sympathetic and sensitive to the concerns raised by the INPC, be an astute and attentive observer, and partner with the parties involved in this project, it would go a long way toward addressing any concerns.

Chair Ross-Shannon asked when Beall Woods Nature Preserve was dedicated.

Mr. Heidorn stated that Beall Woods Nature Preserve was dedicated in 1966. The three bridges were constructed in the 1970s as part of an approved master plan for the site. The trails were in place when the site was dedicated.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that even though provisions have been made to minimize the ground impact from the equipment, approximately 20 trees will need to be removed before the sections can be brought in.

Mr. Evans stated that the number of trees to be removed will be kept as low as possible.

Chair Ross-Shannon asked if the INPC staff feel that, if this project goes forward, there will be no permanent impairment of the Nature Preserve.

Mr. Heidorn stated that the key to making this work will be the oversight. Any disturbance should be kept to a minimum. If any downed trees are moved, the contractor will put them back to their original location. If that care is taken, he has been assured that this job will be done without a problem. Bob Edgin, Jody Shimp, and Terry Esker will also be overseeing the project. Mr. Heidorn stated that he will ensure that the commitments to restore the site are met.

Mr. Evans stated that there is a commitment from the Division of Lands and the Division of Architecture and Engineering to see that any disruption to the site is mitigated at the completion of the project.

Commissioner Drucker asked if the possibility of floating the pieces to their destination was an option.

Mr. Evans stated that the water depth would not be sufficient to accomplish this mode of transportation. He also stated that the helicopter concept was discussed in the early stages of this project, but because of the damage caused to the canopy, it would be more negative to the site.

Chair Ross-Shannon stated that Mr. Heidorn has related to the Commissioners the efforts that the Division of Architecture and Engineering has put forth in trying to make the project work, and the INPC appreciates those efforts.

Commissioner Keating stated that once the visitation level gets to a certain point in a rugged topography, it is much better to have hardened trail features to save the habitat. If the bridges are installed correctly, it should enhance the habitat qualities.

It was moved by Keating, seconded by Flemal, and carried that the following resolution be adopted:

The Commission approves the installation of the three replacement bridges at Beall Woods Nature Preserve as presented under Other Business of the Agenda for the 192nd Meeting.

(Resolution 1933)

192-28) Adjournment

It was moved by Allread, seconded by Payne, and carried that the meeting be adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
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Springfield, IL 62702
217-785-8686

 

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