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Land Advisory Council Meeting Minutes 8-4-14

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

 

Land Advisory Council

Minutes of Meeting

August 4, 2014

 

 

Members Present: Jerry Paulson, Chairman. Ann Marie Cain, Pam Cunningham, Bill Hoff, Lee Johnson, James Marshall, Rebecca Olson, and Dan Williams. Members Absent: Steve Clark, Gary Shedd, and Randy Vogel. WCFPD Staff Present: None WCFPD Commissioners Present: Judith Barnard. Guests: Jeff Adams, Jacob Blue.

 

Call to order: Chairman Paulson called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. at the offices of Vision Beloit, 500 Public Avenue, Beloit, Wisconsin.

 

Introductions: Jeff Adams, consultant to Beloit 2020 and Jacob Blue, SAA Design Group, were introduced. The Council members introduced themselves.

 

Adoption of agenda: The agenda was adopted as presented.

 

Minutes of July 7, 2014 meeting: It was moved by Williams, seconded by Hoff and approved unanimously to accept the minutes of the July 7, 2014 meeting.

 

Closed session for discussion of land acquisition priorities: It was moved by Hoff, seconded by Williams and accepted to go into closed session to consider the acquisition of land. Paulson declared a conflict of interest with the project that was being considered for acquisition and left the meeting. Commissioner Barnard and guests also left the meeting. The meeting was turned over to Williams and was closed at 4:15 p.m.

 

Opening of meeting: It was moved by Hoff, seconded by Williams and accepted to reopen the meeting at 4:45 p.m. Williams declared that no action was taken in closed session. Paulson assumed chair of the meeting.

 

Presentation on Nature at the Confluence project: Jeff Adams and Jacob Blue presented the plan for redevelopment of the area in South Beloit at the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River that is a joint project between Beloit 2020 and the City of South Beloit. This is the site of a major Native American village and the location of the first settlement of Beloit. South Beloit and Beloit 2020 have acquired most of the land at the confluence including land along the river and Boney Island, a 16-acre island in the river that supports a bald eagle nest. The plan is to redevelop the land for a park and an urban outdoor education center similar to the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center. The City and Beloit 2020 are looking for partners for the project to take over the management of the land and have talked to the staff of the Forest Preserve District.

 

Paulson pointed out that the land along the river and at the confluence is designated on the greenways plan as a priority for acquisition, but it does not meet the District’s size criteria, and it has contamination and access problems. Blue discussed the potential for development of a trail system and canoe route along the river to link with the Jensen Forest Preserve and trails in Rockton and Nygren Wetland Preserve. Johnson asked about the biology of Turtle Creek. It once had rich mussel beds. Blue said there are some pollution problems with the creek, but it is a popular fishing stream. A walking tour of the area was planned for after the meeting.

 

South Rock River/Sedarquist Farm Acquisition: Olson moved to recommend that the Forest Preserve District staff continue to explore the possibility of acquiring the Sedarquist Farm on the South Rock River, that the staff document the natural features of the property in more detail and consider the costs of restoration and maintenance of the land. Williams seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Barnard asked that the recommendation be taken to the August Board meeting. Paulson asked Williams to present the recommendation.

 

Next meeting: Because of the Labor Day holiday the next meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, September 8th. Cain and Williams said they would be gone.

 

Presentation on Illinois Wildlife Action Plan: Barnard invited members of the Council to attend the Board meeting on September 17th at 5:00 p.m. to hear a presentation about the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.

 

Adjournment: Paulson adjourned the meeting at 5:25 p.m. for a tour of the confluence project area.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jerry Paulson, Chairman