Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board of Commissioner Minutes Feb. 20

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Severson Dells Nature Center

February 20, 2013


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard- President                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Mike Eickman                                                             Mike Durand, Golf

Audrey Johnson                                                          Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Gloria Lind                                                                 Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara-Bernsten – absent

Randy Olson                                                               EX OFFICIO

Lee Johnson


The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


INVOCATION and PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Gloria Lind led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for January 16 and February 15, 2013 were approved.  The corrections to the agenda were as follows:  Aaron Fleming from the Rock Cut Trail Crew did not make a presentation and was removed from the agenda, the Executive Director discussion was removed from the action items and dinners and partnerships were removed from the board discussion. Motion passed unanimously.



Kishwaukee River Corridor Green Infrastructure Plan – Rebecca Olson, Jerry Paulson and Dennis Dreher on behalf of the Kishwaukee River Ecosystem Partnership, Nancy Williamson from the IDNR, and Nathan Hill from the Rockford Park District were all introduced.  The Kishwaukee River Ecosystem Partnership were chosen by Chicago Wilderness to receive technical assistance for the development of the Kishwaukee River Corridor Green Infrastructure Plan.  This project is funded through Chicago Wilderness’ Sustainable Watershed Action Team program, through a grant from Boeing Corporation.  Nancy showed a map of the Kishwaukee River Corridor, and briefly described the project.  Dennis Dreher then described what green infrastructure is, the long term benefits and the importance of incorporating green plans and policies.  He also talked about incorporating conservation design into new developments, and finding creative ways to infiltrate runoff, protect natural areas and create greenway & trail connections.  Nathan Hill then presented mapping green infrastructure, including hydric soils, groundwater sensitive areas, floodplains, and buffers for waterways. These maps helped to identify natural resources and green infrastructure for the corridor.  Dennis then went through the Winnebago County Green Infrastructure policies including ordinances, the 2030 Land Resource Management Plan, and Winnebago County’s goals and policies.


Severson Dells outdoor classroom project and events – Don Miller and Jamie Johannsen gave an overview of the Severson Dells programming.  Don also gave a PowerPoint presentation on Severson Dells’ outdoor classroom project.  So far, this school year there have been twenty schools groups that have gone out to Pecatonica Education Center.  Don thanked the County and the District for their assistance and support of the Foundation.  He advised the Commissioners that Severson Dells wants to raise $85,000 for their new outdoor classroom.  One of the many challenges outdoor recreation facilities face today is getting people outside.  Most of this is due to people being so busy with work, school activities, homework, organized sports, and technology (computer games, smart phones, hand held games), that people are not getting outside as much.  He then went through the benefits of nature play, and what great things come from playing in nature.  Don indicated that the time frame for completing the outdoor classroom project will be Summer 2014.  Jamie then ran through the list of educational events they have planned for the 2013 season, along with a description of each event.  These events will also be promoted at other District events such as Garden Fair and Bird Fest.  Gloria made a motion to endorse the outdoor classroom project.  Motion passed unanimously.



Payment of bills – Steve Chapman went through the District’s invoices for the month of February, which was prepared by the Winnebago County Finance Department.  Cheryl Maggio asked for clarification about Marquee Aviation, Midwest Business Systems and MS2 Graphics.  Vaughn Stamm indicated that Marquee Aviation was for the deer aerial count.  Mike Durand clarified that Midwest Business Systems was for cash registers.  Jamie Johannsen clarified that MS2 Graphics was used for the Winter Four Rivers brochure and that the District agrees to pay for 50% of the brochure and Four Rivers pays for the other 50%. Audrey Johnson made a motion to authorize the payment of the February bills totaling $452,571.31 to be paid by the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District for the month of February 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.


Bids – fertilizers & chemicals – Mike Durand explained that some of the fertilizers and chemicals are used in the preserves, but most are used in the golf operations.  These are routine, and this year the cost is lower than average.  Some of these chemicals will last into next spring as well.  They are all approved by the EPA.  Gloria Lind made a motion to approve the purchase of chemicals and fertilizers for a total price of $72,977.73.  Motion passed unanimously.



Procedure for Commissioner employment recommendations – Judy Barnard gave the Commissioners a memo regarding employment recommendations.  As Commissioners, citizens may approach them and ask for assistance in obtaining a job with the District.  Judy is suggesting that in order to be fair and consistent and not put staff in a compromising position, she would like to adopt a procedure for Commissioners.  In the event a Commissioner is approached by anyone asking about employment at the District, Commissioners can submit a Job Recommendation Form to the Board President.  This form will then allow a chain of command to be followed.  This process will need to be formalized a little more, but there needs to be formal procedure in place.  Judy is asking everyone to look it over and there will be a vote on it at the March meeting if everyone finds it acceptable.



Board Governance Committee – Mary McNamara-Bernsten is the Chairman of this committee.  Judy has asked they convene in the next month to go over some things that need to get into place.  Commissioners are to let Judy know if they are interested on being on the committee.  It will also be helpful to a new Executive Director.


Gloria Lind inquired as to a set program for volunteers.  Jamie Johannsen said there is no formal plan since the District does not have a volunteer coordinator.  She indicated that each department takes care of their own volunteers.  If the Commissioners know of anyone who would like to volunteer, Vaughn Stamm suggested forwarding the name to Judy and it can be forwarded on as some departments need people at different times.  Jamie suggested creating a form, similar to the Job Recommendation Form, so the potential volunteer can indicate availability, interests, and which department they would like to volunteer in.  Don Miller stated that Severson will share the one they use, and it can be adapted for the District.



Preserve Operations –Vaughn reiterated that the PDRMA loss control review and analysis happens this year.  Everybody is getting ready for inspections, completing documentation, and field review.  PDRMA investigators will come to the shops, and talk to the staff.  They will then give the District a rating.  The District will have a chance to tidy things up, and PDRMA comes back to review again at the end of the year.


Shelter house reservations started the first week of February.  Hopefully that will continue through the spring and summer.  The Park District raised their rates, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts the District’s reservations.  Jamie reported that the Blackhawk Spring shelter is all booked for the summer weekends.


Vaughn and Jamie attended the intern fair at NIU on February 19.  They met lots of nice professional people and made a lot of contacts.


Vaughn gave an update of Frank Williams.  Unfortunately all of his leave has expired as of the first of February.  His family did get an official letter from the District stating he was released from his job.


Golf report – Mike Durand reported that three of the maintenance managers attended the Horticulture/Turfgrass Job Fair at Kishwaukee College on February 20.  They got a few great prospects for golf operations, maintenance work, landscaping and horticulture internships.   A lot of the prospects were from the Dekalb area.


Food service operations – In January 2013 a Request for Proposal for clubhouse food service operation at the Ledges golf course was published.  The P’s Restaurant has been appointed to be the food service concessionaire for the 2013 season.  The P’s also serves as the concessionaire at Atwood.


Mike distributed an update on the winter/spring work plans for golf operations.


Golf statistics – Mike announced that the discount period ends March 31.  Season pass sales and private golf cart registration is behind, however it is still early, and last year we had a very mild winter, which helped sales.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley reported that the Barbara Mae Atwood overlook at Seward Bluffs bids will be received in March for the completion of the overlook.


The Seward Bluffs master plan is in progress.  As for the Seward Bluffs bridge, Arnold Lundgren Engineers has completed their study of the limestone bridge and their cost estimate was as cost effective as demolition and placement of new culverts.  Repair work will be bid in March, however only a portion of the work will be done this year as only $23,000 is budged for 2013.  Vaughn then inquired if any of the Commissioners had heard from Bruce Atwood regarding the Seward Bluffs Overlook.  Judy then recommended that Vaughn make a personal contact, and take two board members with him.


Grove Creek water quality study will be done by two members of the Janesville chapter of Trout Unlimited.  They have volunteered to collect the stream data.  The data will be used to assess the quality of the stream for catch-and-release fishing in the future.


Stone Bridge – Roscoe Township donation – The preliminary agreement is being reviewed and the transfer is planned to occur in April after the new Township Supervisor, Jim Bankovitch is in office.


Greenways Plan – the updated version is expected to be complete in the fall of 2013.


Four Lakes Addition – Salvage quotes are due March 6 for the purchase and removal of the remaining structure.  Removal will begin April 15 and will be completed by July 1.


Removal of Severson Dells shop – A salvage quote will be advertised for the purchase of interior wall siding, flooring, and any other interior items at the old shop.  Salvage quotes for this project area also due March 6.


Marketing & Communications – Jamie Johannsen reported that in addition to the collective effort with Don Miller and Severson Dells, she is working with Rockford College interns on a Favorite Forest Preserve Hikes promotion and a What is Restoration brochure/web page development.  Other projects she is working on include the web site redesign, an on-line field guide, Amphibian Survey, Roving Naturalist, Fall Bird Festival, Guided fall hikes, a smart phone application, and updating the Visitors Guide.  She is also working on several upcoming exhibits including the Green Earth Expo, Macktown Gathering, BirdFest, Garden Fair, Love your River Day, a River Gathering, and the Winnebago County Fair.


Administrative Services – Brenda Unger submitted the Administrative Services Report.


Law Enforcement report – Terry Nordberg submitted the monthly Law Enforcement report.



The meeting closed at 7:09 p.m. to go into closed session to discuss a personnel issue.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:18 p.m.   No action taken while in closed session.


Leave of Absence – Richard Eertmoed has requested a leave of absence for knee replacement surgery and will be gone approximately 6 months.  Audrey Johnson made a motion for Richard Eertmoed to be permitted to have a leave of absence for up to six months.  Motion passed unanimously.



Pheasants Forever dinner – 5:00 Thursday, February 28, Giovanni’s

NLI annual dinner – 6:00 Tuesday, March 19, Cliffbreakers

Invitation to Severson Dells’ Spring Celebration at the Pecatonica Ed Center, March 23



Meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m.

Next board meetings 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20 and April 17, District Headquarters

Please Note:  May Board meeting date change to Wednesday, May 22 at Klehm Arboretum


Respectfully Submitted

Ronelle Johnson