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Land Advisory Council Minutes August 31, 2015

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

 

Land Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

August 31, 2015

 

Members Present:, Steve Clark, Pam Cunningham, Bill Hoff, Lee Johnson, James Marshall, Rebecca Olson, Jerry Paulson, Randy Vogel and Dan Williams. Members Absent: Ann Marie Cain. FPWC Commissioners Present: Judy Barnard and Audrey Johnson. FPWC Staff Present: Tom Hartley and Mike Holan.

 

Call to order: Chairman Paulson called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. at the FPWC offices, 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford, Illinois.

 

Adoption of agenda: Hoff moved to approve the agenda as presented; seconded by Clark and accepted.

 

Minutes of June 1st meeting: Paulson said that he mislaid his notes from the June meeting and did not have the minutes to approve at this time. He asked Hartley to keep notes of motions etc. so there is a backup copy for future use.

 

Strategy Screening questions: Paulson said that he had presented the screening questions to the Board of Commissioners of the Forest Preserve District in July. Hartley said the questions were on the Board’s agenda for approval at their next meeting.

 

Strategic Land Conservation Plan: Paulson said that he and Hartley had prepared a list of policy options for the FPD Board to consider to direct future land acquisition ranging from no new land to creating new preserves. Each option was discussed in detail. Johnson pointed out that other funding sources are available for land and management and that tax revenues should not limit the choices for expansion of preserves. Holan explained how the District is dealing with its current funding problems by raising fees, using volunteers, restructuring staff responsibilities etc. Barnard said that property values are going back up so there will be more property tax revenues in future years. Hoff asked if the District has to manage and restore every new acquisition. Holan said they can “moth-ball” land, but can’t let it go to weeds. Barnard said that the District wants to demonstrate that they are good stewards of the land they have been entrusted with. Johnson said that the primary policy should be to protect natural communities with rare species of plants and animals, and that healthy ecosystems don’t need a lot of management. Olson asked if management funds are tied to land acquisition. Holan said “no.” Williams said that he favors options 2-6. Vogel suggested adding Option 7 – “Acquire properties with significant (high) natural resource values (natural areas, natural communities, rare or endangered species habitat).” It was agreed to add this as an option. After additional discussion it was agreed not to limit the options for acquisition of additional land, but instead to base it on the availability of land. Barnard said that she will invite Paulson to attend the District Board Strategic Planning session to discuss the options for a policy on land acquisition priorities.

 

Land Conservation & Management S.W.O.T.: Paulson said that one of the first things done when developing a strategic plan is to spell-out the organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T.). He and Hartley had prepared a preliminary S.W.O.T. analysis to initiate the discussion. Hartley reviewed the Strengths and Weaknesses, and several things were added. Paulson reviewed the Opportunities and Threats, and more things were added to both lists. Paulson will add the items to the SWOT and present it at the next meeting.

 

Closed Session to Consider Land Acquisition Projects: Williams moved to go into closed session to consider land acquisition projects; seconded by Hoff, and approved. Paulson closed the session at 5:24 p.m.

 

Return to Open Session: Williams moved to return to open session at 5:35 p.m.; seconded by Clark and approved. Paulson noted that no action was taken in closed session.

 

Next Meeting Date: It was agreed that the next meeting would be on October 5th at 4:00 p.m. Clark, Marshall and Vogel said they could not attend.

 

Adjourn: Paulson adjourned the meeting at 5:38 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jerry Paulson, Chairman