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 Commissioners Minutes March 18, 2015

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

BOARD MEETING

Preserves Headquarters

March 18, 2015

 

PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Audrey Johnson                                                          Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Don Miller, Education

Jeff Tilly

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Gloria Lind                                                                 Lee Johnson

Mike Groves

 

ROLL CALL

The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Cheryl Maggio led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for February 18, 2015 were approved. Minutes stand approved as mailed. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Agency Accomplishments – Mike Holan gave an overview of the Preserves accomplishments of 2014 and gave each Commissioner a handout outlining all of them. Judy mentioned that Mike’s annual review is coming up and she will be contacting all Commissioners to meet to discuss his performance.

 

Prescribed Burns – Vaughn Stamm and Natural Resource Manager Mike Groves gave a presentation on the prescribed burns program, what it is and why it is done in the preserves.   When prescribed burns are done, it assists nature in releasing and dispersing dormant seed pods of native plant species, and also provides valuable nutrients for the native plants to thrive. Burning inhibits growth and helps destroy non-native plant species. When performing prescribed burns, it requires planning, requiring permits, and possible zoning of certain sites. When a burn is being conducted, the public is notified before, during and after a burn, via signs at the location. Preserves staff notifies the fire and police departments. All full-time staff who participates has been fully trained. Vaughn and Mike also showed photos and a video of the most recent burn.

 

ACTION ITEMS

Bills for March – Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for March in the amount of $413,486.38. Motion passed unanimously.

 

Electric Line Easement/Right of Way at Deer Run Forest Preserve – There is a 12” underground petroleum pipeline that travels through Deer Run Forest Preserve. The pipeline was installed in 1954, well before the property became a forest preserve. There is a block valve (shut off) for the pipeline in Deer Run Forest Preserve on the north property line, approximately 300 feet west of River Road. The block valve is a manual valve. In the event there is ever an emergency and the pipeline needed to be shut off, the pipeline company (West Shore Pipeline) would have to send someone to the site to physically shut off the valve. This process could take hours. West Shore Pipeline would like to convert the block valve from manual to automatic so that the pipeline could be shut off remotely in minutes rather than hours. To make the conversion requires electric service to the block valve. West Shore Pipeline has been willing to work with the Preserves to provide service in the least disruptive manner. Preserves staff have agreed the best route is an underground electric service along the north property line. The line would be installed by directional boring (no trenching required). West Shore Pipeline has agreed to the proposed route and installation and will pay the Preserves $1,000 to cover recording expenses and other items such as staff time required to make the preparations. The pipeline company could run the service in their existing easement thereby causing damage to an existing mature oak and disrupting an established restored prairie without any approval from the District. The offer to run a line along the north property line is generous. Staff recommends approval of the proposed amendment. Audrey Johnson made a motion, Mary seconded, to approve the proposed easement. Motion passed unanimously.

 

CFNIL Foundation Funds – Mike Holan reminded the Commissioners that in May of 2014 the Board passed the Endowment Fund and Land Acquisition Fund Resolutions. Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) sent a list of the items they needed to get these two funds opened. Those items were fund names, mission, and purpose, signatures to the accounts, the Resolutions and initial contribution amount. Mike distributed proposals for each fund to the Commissioners, listing the fund names, mission, and suggested signatories. Funds have been contributed toward the land acquisition fund by Judy Barnard’s mother’s Estate, and the Holan’s will contribute the startup funds for the endowment fund. Audrey will be the liaison with CFNIL to get both Funds set up. Audrey thanked Mike and Judy for their assistance in getting the Funds started.

 

NEW BUSINESS

2015 Events – Judy asked Mike to put together a calendar of all scheduled events for 2015. He distributed that list. Judy reminded the Commissioners that she would like two Commissioners present at each event.

 

STAFF REPORTS

Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report. He also announced that the deer management program is complete, and a total of 39 deer were taken even though 75 were planned. Only one had chronic wasting disease of those 39, which is a very low percentage. At the end of this year another aerial count will be done and the program will be reassessed. One of the new programs implemented this year, Hooked on Fun, will be taking place June 6. Lastly, Vaughn announced that all Preserves gates are open.

 

Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. Mike announced that currently the courses are at the same pace as 2014. Atwood opened on the 16th, and it has been open every day. Atwood was the first golf course in the area to open. Mike made special mention that the Illinois Gaming Board has a backlog of gaming license applications which may result in a delay in the Preserves obtaining its gaming license for Macktown Clubhouse. The liquor license from the Village of Rockton was obtained on March 18; however the Illinois liquor license has been applied for but not received yet.

 

Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report. He also gave an update on the bids for the Sugar River Campground. The schedule for work is to be done by May 1. The transformer on site has to be removed by ComEd, and that is scheduled for removal on April 7 and it will be re-energized on April 14, and new pedestals will be installed. With regards to the Unified Development Ordinance, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted to not have the Forest Preserves receive impact fees. Tom needs to know if the Board wants him to do anything additional, such as talking to County Board Chairman, however he would have to have direction from the Board. After discussion, the Board would like to pursue the impact fees issue further.

 

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

 

Education – Don Miller submitted a written report. Don thanked the staff for getting the Grove ready for the year. Severson Dells Newsletter is now in the mail. In January and February the Severson Dells staff completed 154 in-school programs, reaching 3,600 kids.

 

Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted a written report.

 

CLOSED SESSION

Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:47 pm. At 7:13 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

April 6 – Land Advisory Council Strategic Planning Meeting

April 9 – Land Restoration Open House, held at Preserves Headquarters

 

Judy announced that Julie Swanson attended a grant workshop at the Rockford Public Library. The library is connected to programs such as the Illinois Foundation Directory which allows grant research to be done using that program. Julie attended the workshop to learn how to use that system, which will help her in setting up the Preserves grant database. Judy is discovering that some of the granting organizations only open their grants to not for profit organizations. Judy would like the Boards permission for Mike to begin the process of setting up the Friends of the Forest Preserve and get it incorporated. In doing so, the Friends of the Forest Preserve may be able to apply for some grants as a not for profit.

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 7:14 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, April 15, Klehm Arboretum

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary