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 March 15, 2017

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

March 15, 2017


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                                 Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Jeff Tilly                                                                     Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jake Henry                                                                 Ann Wasser, Education

      Tyler Knapp, Golf Course Supervisor

ABSENT                                                                    Kim O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator

Cheryl Maggio




The meeting was called to order at 5:33 PM, by President Barnard.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Jeff Tilly led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for February 15, 2017 were approved.  Mike Eickman made a motion, Gloria Lind and Jeff Tilly seconded.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Bills for February – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Jeff Tilly seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for February in the amount of $489,858.26.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Land Acquisition Ordinance – South Rock River Property – The Land Advisory Committee has recommended the purchase of the 169.1 acres of the Hoisington Property on the South Rock River in Winnebago County.  The board approved the pursuit of an acquisition grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for this property in December 2015.  An agreement to purchase the property has been reached with the Hoisington property owners for the appraised value.  There are five siblings that own the property.  The appraised value of the property is $3,700 per acre for 169.1 acres, for a total price of $626,000.  The purchase is contingent upon funding from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.  The application from Illinois Clean Energy is requesting the maximum funding level of 80%.  The project cost is $626,000 ($125,200 is the Forest Preserve’s 20% and $500,800 is Illinois Clean Energy’s 80%).  There is an estimate of approximately $9,000 in expenses for the Forest Preserve, bringing the cost to the Forest Preserve approximately $135,000.  The Land Acquisition Fund balance is approximately $950,000 bringing the balance down to approximately $815,000 after this project.  Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Gloria Lind seconded to authorize the purchase of 169.1 acres along the Rock River.   Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed unanimously.


Acceptance of Bids for Fertilizers & Chemicals – Bids on fertilizers and pesticides have been received and presented.  These materials are used for application on the golf courses and forest preserve restoration sites.  These products are handled and applied by personnel licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  These quantities are similar to last year’s and are budgeted out of various departments.  All the fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides included in this bid are registered through the Environmental Protection Agency and have been approved for use on public golf courses and forest preserves.  Tyler Knapp was present for questions.  Gloria made a motion and Jeff Tilly seconded, to approve the purchase of fertilizers and chemicals as presented for a total price of $57,368.86.  Motion passed unanimously.




Strategic Plan – Every year the Board reviews the Strategic Plan.  The goals are in order of priority.  Goal #1 is to demonstrate excellence and good stewardship in management of natural resources.  This goal brought a lively of discussion about land acquisition, farming, and the maximum acreage the forest preserve can own.  Mike Holan mentioned the data that has been collected over the last couple of years, as well as the Citizen Science Program, which has brought in a lot of specific data about specific species, has been instrumental in achieving this goal.  Data sharing has also been implemented more in the last few years.  The volunteer program, data sharing with other agencies, programming and restoration projects makes the Preserves strive to be a premier organization for natural resources management.  Goal #2 is to engage the public to increase awareness of the forest preserves and their value to the region.  Judy asked Jamie Johannsen how she felt this goal was going.  Jamie feels the Preserves has done an excellent job utilizing the tools and resources the Preserves has, especially in light of the budget cuts that have had to be made.  The volunteer program has been a wonderful addition in getting people invested in the community and Preserves.  Kim O’Malley reported there are 501 active volunteers and 700+ volunteers in total.  Judy suggested having a volunteer business card made so that the Commissioners can hand them out to people interested in volunteering.  Jake Henry suggested going onto a Sunday talk show such as Rockford Listens.  Partnerships are going very well and they are occurring regularly, big and small.  Sponsorships are also going well.  Jamie is looking for more and hoping it will build up this year.    Goal #3 is to expand opportunities for educational and recreational activities for all ages.  Ann Wasser reported there will be more exhibits in the nature center this year.  Vaughn reported that interpretive signage has been added at Klehm and Ferguson, which has been very beneficial.  Hopefully some signage will also be added at Severson this year.  There is an outdated recreational policy in place currently and that policy will be emailed to the Commissioners for review.  It will be revisited this year with the Board and updated in the future.  Due to the meeting running long it was decided that Goals 4 and 5 will be discussed in April.



Pecatonica Forest Preserve Burn – Mike Eickman had several citizens call him regarding the winds and the controlled burn that was done on March 8.    The prairie was burned as well as a small portion of woodland.  Mike Holan and Vaughn Stamm explained the reasoning behind the controlled burn that day and using the wind to their advantage due to the difficulty of burning the type of foliage and saplings in the preserve in that particular area.


Commissioner Boot Camp – Audrey Johnson would like to recommend that each Commissioner attend Commissioner Boot Camp.  There are several available around the State of Illinois.  Judy Barnard also reminded the Commissioners that several years ago Nancy Sylvester came and talked to the Commissioners about Board Governance.  Judy asked the Commissioners if they were interested in having her come and talk about it again, given the addition of a few new Commissioners.  Gloria would like her to come and talk again.  Mike Holan announced there are a few boot camps coming up in this area, one in Huntley and one also in Mundelein, coming up in the next few months.  Nancy Sylvester is available in March.  Mike asked the Commissioners for available dates.  Judy asked Mike to call IAPD to get a specific agenda for the boot camp classes.




Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.  Ann announced the hiring of the new Severson Dells Educator, Ellen Rathbone.


Law Enforcement – Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office submitted a written report


Volunteer Program – Kim O’Malley announced the Species Spotlight this Saturday (March 18), will be on dragonflies and damselflies.  Last Saturday (March 11), the Species Spotlight was on Bluebird monitoring.  Kim also announced a group from FedEx will be picking up garbage between Espenscheid and Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserves on March 21.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:16.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:37 p.m. No action was taken while in closed session.




April 15th – R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday and guided “Signs of Spring” hike at Kishwaukee Gorge Forest Preserve from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.



Meeting adjourned at 7:38 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, April 19, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary