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

Land Advisory Council Meeting Minutes 7-7-14

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Land Advisory Council

Minutes of Meeting

July 7, 2014



Members Present: Jerry Paulson, Chairman. Ann Marie Cain, Bill Hoff, Steve Clark, Lee Johnson, Gary Shedd, Randy Vogel, and Dan Williams. Members Absent: Pam Cunningham, James Marshall, and Rebecca Olson. WCFPD Staff Present: Tom Hartley. WCFPD Commissioners Present: Audrey Johnson


Call to order: Chairman Paulson called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. at the WCFPD headquarters at 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford, Illinois.


Introductions: Gary Shedd was introduced as a new member of the Council. The other Council members and WCFPD staff introduced themselves.


Adoption of agenda: The agenda was adopted as presented.


Minutes of June 2, 2014 meeting: It was moved by Hoff, seconded by Cain and approved unanimously to accept the minutes of the June 2, 2014 meeting. Paulson reminded the members to send in their financial disclosure forms to the Co. Clerk.


Open Meetings Act on-line training: Paulson asked the members to hand in their Certificate of Completion from the on-line training for the Illinois Open Meetings Act. He will send Shedd the link to the website.


Discussion of current land acquisition priorities: Hartley reviewed the current priorities for land acquisition:


  1. Preserve significant natural communities. Hartley presented a chart of the current acreage of land in the three land classifications:
  2. Reserve or Conservation = 7678.57 ac (74.65%)
  3. Recreation = 2190.0 ac (21.34%) 605 ac golf courses/47 ac camping
  4. Support and Cultural = 407.4 ac (4.01%) 158 ac Klehm Arb.


He then presented a chart showing the acreage of different plant communities in the current district land holdings:

  1. Forest = 3980 ac (38.63%)
  2. Savanna = 423 ac (4.10%)
  3. Prairie = 2680 ac (26.01%)
  4. Wetland = 211 ac (2.05%)
  5. Plantations = 210 ac (2.04%)
  6. Cliff = 79 ac (0.77%)
  7. Other = 2720 ac (26.40%) Golf courses, parking, camp grounds etc.

Hoff asked if any of the land was being farmed. Hartley said a few acres were farmed.


Endangered and threatened species: Hartley distributed copies of lists of state endangered and threatened plants found in the forest preserves (SRA = Sugar River Alder; CS = Colored Sands; HM = Hartley Memorial; LH = Laona Heights; SR = Sugar River; CF = Cal Ferguson; BS = Blackhawk Springs; KG = Kishwaukee Gorge; RR = Rockford Rotary; SD = Severson Dells; DR = Deer Run; OR = Oak Ridge; FPD = Headquarters; HON = Hononegah; JNJ = J. Norman Jensen; KB = Kieselburg; MT = Macktown; SB = Stone Bridge; SWB = Seward Bluffs):


Species name/Common Name (Forest Preserve)

Calamagrostis insperata – Bog Reed Grass (BS, OR)

Spiranthes vernalis – Spring Ladies Tresses (DR, RR)

Vaccinium macrocarpon – Large Cranberry (KG)

Trillium cernuum – Nodding Trillium (OR, HM, LH, SR)

Berberis Canadensis – Allegheny Barberry (RR)

Chimaphila umbellate – Pipsissewa (RR)

Lycopodium clavatum – Running Ground Pine (RR)

Lycopodium dendroideum – Ground Pine (CS)

Lonicera dioica – Red Honeysuckle (SD)

Juniperus communis – Common Juniper (BS, KG, SD)

Lathyrus ochrolecus – Pale Vetchling (BS)

Carex woodii – Wood’s Sedge (RR)

Viola conspersa – Dog violet (RR)

Aster furcatus – Forked Aster (SD)

Penstemon grandiflorus – Large-flowered Beard Tongue (FPD)

Silene regia – Royal Catchfly (FPD, MT)

Ulmus thomasii – Rock Elm (HON)

Artemisia dracunculus – Dragon Wormwood (JNJ)

Besseya bullii – Kitten Tails (SB, CF, CS, SR, SWB)

Alnus rugosa – Speckled Alder (SRA)

Arctostapylos uva-ursi – Bearberry (CS)

Botrychium matricariaefolium – Grape Fern (CS)

Botrychium multifidum – Leathery Grape Fern (CS)

Botrychium simplex – Dwarf Grape Fern (CS)

Gymnocarpium dryopteris – Oak Fern (CS)

Viola Canadensis – Canada Violet (CS)

Carex tuckermanii – Bent-seeded Hop Sedge (SR)

Amelanchier interior – Inland Juneberry (SRA, CS, SR)

Oenothera perennis – Small Sundrops (SRA, SR)

Corallorhiza maculata – Spotted Coral Root (CS)

Lechea intermedia – Savanna Pinweed (CS)

Lespedeza leptostachya – Prairie Bush Clover (BS, DR, SRA, CS, SR, JNJ, KB, SWB – planted in these areas)


Paulson pointed out that Larix laricina, Tamarack, Pinus banksiana, Jack Pine, and Pinus resinosa, Red Pine, are on the state list of E & T plants, but are widely planted. Only the naturally occurring locations of these trees are considered endangered. He said that Lespedeza leptostachya is also on the Federal list of Threatened plants, and is found in only a few states in the Midwest. Another Federally listed species, Prairie White Fringed Orchid was once found in the County, but there are no known locations now. It was last found in the wet prairies west of the Sugar River.


Vogel said there are two Federally endangered animals found in the area: Indian Bat and Long-eared Bat. There are several state-listed animals, including Ornate Box Turtle and Blandings Turtle, found in the county. Sandhill Cranes and Bald Eagles were recently removed from the list of endangered and threatened species. Hartley said he did not have an inventory of the animals in the preserves.

  1. Expand existing preserves. Hartley presented the priorities for expanding the existing forest preserve holdings:
  2. Kishwaukee River – In-holdings next to Kishwaukee Forest Preserve and Kishwaukee Gorge; additions to County Line F.P. and Oakridge F.P.
  3. Kilbuck Creek – Airport property next to Kilbuck Bluffs, and wetlands along the creek.
  4. Rock River – Additions to J. Norman Jensen F.P.; Blackhawk Island and floodplain along the lower Rock across from the airport; additions to Severson Dells and Fuller F.P.
  5. Sugar River – Inholdings of Sugar River Alder F.P. and Colored Sands F.P.; lower Sugar River.
  6. Laona Heights and Hartley F.P. – Expand both areas.
  7. Pecatonica River – Inholding in Pecatonica Wetlands F.P.; expansion of Grove Creek and Seward Bluffs F.P.s ; expand Trask Bridge F.P. and Four Lakes F.P. ; Atkins WRP site.


  1. Create corridors along rivers and streams. Paulson said that a parcel of land on the lower Rock River near the county line was coming up for auction that includes large tracts of forest and bluffs along the river. He also mentioned the effort in South Beloit to protect land along the Rock River at the mouth of Turtle Creek.


4.   Natural Areas. Paulson said that there were only a few sites in Winnebago County that are listed on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory that have not been protected or destroyed. One is County Line Woods on South Kinnickinick Creek, some small dolomite prairies, and a gravel prairie next to Stone Bridge Nature Trail with a population of Lespedeza leptostachya. Vogel asked if the District had information from the update of the INAI? He will check to see what is available.


Strategic Land Conservation Planning: Paulson asked if the District should give priority to protection of wildlife habitat, providing recreation, protecting scenic views like the bluffs along the Rock River, or to help shape land use. Clark thought that opportunities will dictate priorities, and mentioned a camp along the Kishwaukee River that may be sold. Williams thought that large tracts of wildlife habitat should be given highest priority, in addition to land along the Kishwaukee River. He said it is difficult and expensive to acquire land along the Rock River and preferred to focus on land along the Pecatonica and Sugar rivers. Hoff asked about the use of Eminent Domain. Williams told the history of the effort to acquire land on Blackhawk Island where Eminent Domain could have been used. Hartley said the District did not use Eminent Domain in the past. Vogel asked about the Forest Preserve statutory mandate. Hartley read the statute. Paulson said that the mission statement was the important direction to consider when discussing priorities.


Other planning strategies: Hartley presented the County 2030 Natural Resource Plan map. Paulson pointed out the proposed areas around the cities where conservation design principles would be used for new development and the proposed industrial development south of the Kishwaukee River.


Hartley presented a map of the drainage watershed for Four Lakes F.P. that was requested at the last meeting. Paulson said that there are other methods to protect the watershed that does not involve acquisition of land.


Next meeting: The next meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4th. Hartley said he would be on vacation. Paulson suggested doing a field trip that day.


Adjournment: Paulson adjourned the meeting at 6:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jerry Paulson, Chairman