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State increases nature preserves and adds land and water reserve     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 3, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission announced on Oct. 28 the dedication of five nature preserve additions and the registration of a new land and water reserve.

Areas dedicated as nature preserves and nature preserve buffers may be used for activities including wildlife viewing, nature photography, hiking and approved scientific research. Areas registered as land and water reserves may be used for the same activities, as well as hunting, fishing and other approved activities that do not harm the natural features of the protected area. The use of nature preserves and land and water reserve property is allowed only with the permission of the landowner.

"Working with the landowners of these parcels, the commission is extending long-term protection for these natural parcels and the wildlife and plants that inhabit them," said Don McFall, acting director of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. "Illinois now has 321 dedicated nature preserves in 79 counties, totaling 43,548 acres, and has 109 registered land and water reserves in 51 counties, totaling 33,846 acres."

The nine-member commission assists private and public landowners in protecting high-quality natural areas and the habitats of endangered and threatened species. The commission determines whether an area warrants protection as a nature preserve or as a land and water reserve. After approval by the landowner and the commission, the dedication of nature preserves or additions to nature preserves must be approved by the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the governor. Registration of land and water reserves requires the approval of the landowner, the commission and the director of the Department of Natural Resources.

Private and public landowners interested in preserving high-quality natural lands through nature preserve dedication or land and water reserve registration should contact the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271; phone (217) 785-8686, via voice-TTY relay (800) 526-0844 or TTY (217) 782-9175.

The new nature preserve additions and the new land and water reserve are detailed below.

Jo Daviess County -- Addition to Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve

The Nature Conservancy proposed dedication of 48.466 acres as an addition to the 361.7-acre Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, increasing the size of the nature preserve to more than 410 acres. Hanover Bluff Nature Preserve in western Jo Daviess County was dedicated in 1987. One state-listed plant, meadow horsetail, has been observed within the new addition, which also includes habitat for the state-endangered shadbush and hairy white violet. Contact person: Angella Moorehouse, (309) 776-4066.

Lake County -- Addition to Hybernia Nature Preserve

The Hybernia Homeowners Area Association proposed dedication of three lots, a .46-acre addition to the 24-acre Hybernia Nature Preserve in Lake County. The ecological significance of this site was first recognized in 1990 for high-quality mesic prairie and sedge meadow habitat supporting the state-endangered and federally threatened Eastern prairie fringed orchid and the state-threatened small sundrops. The addition supports high-quality sedge meadow and wet mesic prairie natural habitat. Protection of the three lots that comprise this addition is critical for the long-term survival of the Eastern prairie fringed orchid. With the addition, the size of the Hybernia Nature Preserve is now 24.75 acres. Contact person: Steven Byers, (815) 385-9074.

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St. Clair County -- Addition to Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve

The Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve addition is 74.82 acres of mixed forest and old field prairie restoration owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The addition is adjacent to and bisects the original 105-acre Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve. The addition is comprised of two parcels, one approximately 5.5 acres running through the southern end of the nature preserve, and the other 69.3 acres located on the west side of the nature preserve, bringing the total acreage at the nature preserve to approximately 200 acres. The addition protects dry and dry-mesic upland forest and numerous sinkholes within the Stemler Cave recharge area. The area is at the northern edge of the sinkhole plain karst region of Randolph, Monroe and southwestern St. Clair counties. The cave is recognized for its high-quality terrestrial and aquatic features. Contact person: Diane Tecic, (618) 462-1181.

Vermilion County -- Addition to Fairchild Cemetery Prairie and Savanna Nature Preserve

Grand Prairie Friends-Prairie Grove Volunteers sought dedication of the .89-acre addition to Fairchild Cemetery Prairie and Savanna Nature Preserve in Vermilion County, located approximately six miles northwest of Danville. The existing half-acre nature preserve was dedicated in 1986 to protect the high-quality savanna found there. Owned by the Vermilion County Conservation District, the nature preserve is included within the larger 1.5-acre Fairchild Cemetery Savanna Natural Area. Grand Prairie Friends-Prairie Grove Volunteers recently acquired the unprotected area of the site. Fairchild Cemetery Prairie and Savanna Nature Preserve and the new addition contain the only high-quality savanna known in east-central Illinois, and it is one of the few remaining savanna remnants in Illinois. Contact person: Mary Kay Solecki, (217) 688-2622.

Will County -- Addition to Long Run Seep Nature Preserve

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources sought dedication of the 35.75-acre parcel as an addition to Long Run Seep Nature Preserve and the dedication of 5.75 acres as nature preserve buffer. The addition may provide suitable habitat for the state-threatened and endangered species already found at Long Run Seep, which is recognized for its high-quality fen and seep habitat. The area provides habitat for three state-listed species: beaked spike rush, grass pink orchid and slender bog arrow grass. In addition, Long Run Seep is one of the few sites in Illinois to provide habitat for the federally and state-endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly. Contact person: Kim Roman, (630) 553-2746.

Schuyler County -- Williams Creek Bluff Land and Water Reserve

The Williams Creek Bluff Land and Water Reserve, owned by the Department of Natural Resources, is a 75-acre parcel located within Weinberg-King State Park in Schuyler County. The land and water reserve includes sandstone cliff, eroding bluff and shale glade natural features. The site will be managed to limit off-road and off-trail use of the reserve to control erosion. Efforts will also be made to control invasive plant species on the site. Existing hunting programs will still be permitted on the site. Contact person: Tim Kelley, (309) 543-3262.

[News release from the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission]

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