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Archive for the ‘Spring Creek Watershed’ Category

Kim-Kathleen-Hill-N-Dale-Sign-CREDIT-BOB-LEE

Protecting open space has always been a quality-of-life issue in the suburbs and the collar counties, a goal under constant pressure from the relentless spread of commercial and residential development.

So, when an opportunity appears to ensure that a large tract is preserved and managed, it is something to be seized and once seized, appreciated. This time, the gratitude goes to the Barrington-based volunteer group Citizens for Conservation.

The group and the Richard Duchossois family announced last week the purchase of the family’s 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South, making it the 14th preserve in Lake, Cook and McHenry counties under Citizens for Conservation’s care.

“We’re going to build a beautiful, complex web of Illinois’ native life here at this preserve,” Jim Vanderpoel, a member of the Citizens for Conservation board, says in a video the group produced on the project.

In reflecting on the family’s goals in selling the site to the conservation group, Kim Duchossois, daughter of the late Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois, discussed how “important this land is to the community,” but it’s worth adding that the preservation’s impact will extend well beyond the Barrington area.

Situated just across Lake-Cook Road from the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Valley Forest Preserve, the addition will expand an important wildlife corridor, providing habitat for native plant and aquatic life, grassland birds and endangered species, such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

It will protect the equivalent of three-quarters of a mile along Spring Creek, which feeds into the Fox River, and strengthen initiatives for greenways, watersheds and green infrastructure in three counties. It will be open to public access through programs to be managed by the conservation group. It will have an impact on the environment for all of northern Illinois.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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PHOTO CREDIT: INDOOR DRONE TOURS

[BARRINGTON, IL – August 29, 2022]  – Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation and The Duchossois Group are pleased to announce today that long-term conservation protection has been provided for the 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property. CFC has acquired the parcel from The Duchossois Group; it is located in unincorporated McHenry County and surrounded by Barrington Hills, bounded on the north by Spring Creek Road, on the east by Ridge Road, on the South by Lake-Cook/County Line Road, and on the west by residents along Meadow Hill Road.

This previously privately owned land in the Spring Creek watershed corridor is considered one of the most desirable conservation-worthy properties not only in the Barrington area, but in the entire Northern Illinois region. The purchase increases CFC’s owned and protected land to 777 acres in Lake, Cook, and McHenry Counties and will be the organization’s 14th and largest preserve.

The 246.5-acre site will be named Hill ‘N Dale Preserve and encompasses 4,060 linear feet of the high-quality Spring Creek, a tributary to the Fox River. The preserve honors the current name of the Duchossois property and reflects the protection of the surrounding upland bluffs (Hill) and the Spring Creek valley (Dale). The land is identified as a priority for protection and restoration in multiple local and regional plans, including the Barrington Greenway Initiative, the Spring Creek Watershed-Based Plan, and McHenry and Lake County Green Infrastructure Plans. It will provide green space connectivity to numerous other protected lands in our area, including the 4,000-acre Spring Lake (Spring Creek) Forest Preserve and the 550-acre state dedicated Spring Lake Nature Preserve.

The purchase will permanently protect the land as open space and improve and protect this sensitive watershed area, which is highly significant to area aquifer recharge. In addition, this acquisition will provide for a critical wildlife corridor connecting to the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Restoration of the landscape’s natural ecosystem will provide important habitat for native plant and aquatic communities, grassland birds (such as Bobolink, Bittern, and Henslow’s sparrows), and wildlife that originally occupied this land, including endangered species such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

Citizens for Conservation (CFC), a volunteer-based organization with a 50-year history in the Barrington area, stepped forward to save this land as part of their strategic focus on protection and restoration of impactful watershed and greenway areas. CFC has been a leader on these initiatives, which are vital for the ecological health of the region. Nationally, this acquisition also aligns with the federal “America the Beautiful 30 by 30 Plan,” which is the federal government’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30 percent of U.S. ocean areas by 2030. This initiative seeks to reverse the negative impacts of biodiversity decline and climate change by protecting more natural areas, and to increase access to nature for communities that lack it. The Hill ‘N Dale Preserve will locally contribute significantly to this national effort, as well as to the recently announced Land Trust Alliance Gaining Ground initiative. Both these efforts were envisioned when Citizens for Conservation rolled out the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

“This property’s high conservation value, coupled with CFC’s strong history of delivering quality restoration results, will have far-reaching impacts for the entire Barrington-area community, as well as the entire Northern Illinois region,” said Kathleen Leitner, CFC’s Board President. “We could not be more pleased to have partnered with The Duchossois Group and Kim Duchossois to facilitate this acquisition of the south part of their family’s iconic farm near Barrington Hills. We believe that our local communities and regional partners will be ecstatic to hear that CFC has been able to permanently protect this vital open space.”

Kim Duchossois agreed. “My family and I could not be more thrilled to have worked so closely with Citizens for Conservation over the past year to facilitate their purchase of the south part of Hill ‘N Dale Farm. We know how important this land is to the community, and it was absolutely critical for our entire family to make certain that the property would be protected and maintained as open space. The key to our decision to sell to CFC was the organization’s long history in the area and its promise not only to preserve the property, but also to restore it over time and return it to its natural splendor. I’m also very pleased that the Barrington-area members of our family will be contributing a significant portion of their proceeds of the sale back to the CFC campaign to protect this land in perpetuity.”

Initial funding for the purchase came in the form of a $4.9 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the largest such grant awarded for a single parcel purchase. This substantial award demonstrates the significant conservation value of this important property. CFC is seeking an additional $5 million in funding to supplement the purchase of the land, conduct ecological restoration, and manage the site for public enjoyment in the future.

Initial site evaluation (partially funded by an ICECF Advancing Wetland Conservation grant) is now being conducted to create multi-year ecological management plans for the property. The open space restoration will bring back native communities and species; provide new opportunities for school children and volunteers to engage with nature; provide increased surface water infiltration; enhance the quality of local groundwater; and increase wetlands, all while protecting one of the most pristine streams in Northern Illinois (Spring Creek).

Future public access to the preserve will be provided through CFC-sponsored activities. No horses remain on the property, but the possibility of horse trails will be evaluated during the preserve planning process. CFC has pledged to maintain the iconic white exterior fences that currently exist on the land.

Kathleen Leitner said, “This incredibly important acquisition is fulfilling CFC’s mission of ‘Saving Living Space for Living Things’ through protection, restoration and stewardship of land, conservation of natural resources, and education. Our organization’s history of dedicated supporters, volunteers, and community support has made this acquisition possible, and we intend to steward this land in perpetuity for the future of our entire community. We thank all who have been involved for their efforts.”

Video Highlights of New Preserve

Restoration Concept Map

Q&A Information

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Flood

“Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will host a virtual flood map information open house on March 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. for communities in northwest Cook and northeast Kane Counties, according to a news release.

Revised areas are within the Poplar Creek and Spring Creek watersheds, including portions of Barrington Hills, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Schaumburg, South Barrington, Streamwood and South Elgin. The open house will give residents the chance to review preliminary versions of a recently completed Flood Insurance Study and its accompanying preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map.

The FIS and FIRMs provide base flood information, designate areas that are subject to significant flood hazards and offer information that public officials may use when permitting development in the floodplain.

At the virtual open house, representatives from local, state and federal agencies will provide the most current information about flood risk, flood insurance, floodplain development regulations and the process for floodplain mapping within the Poplar Creek and Spring Creek watersheds. The newly prepared preliminary floodplain maps can also be viewed at the meeting. FEMA intends that they be used as tools to assist planning processes and outreach efforts to quickly respond to and recover from future events, the release stated.

To attend the virtual meeting visit zoom.com and enter the ID 897 5579 0878 and the password 604044 or click here.”

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“WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?

In our last newsletter (December 2020), we described the additional analysis and evaluation required to select the preferred alternative due to the presence of federally listed threatened and endangered species: Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly and Rusty Patched Bumblebee. Over the last year, the project team has continued coordinating with agencies such as the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPDCC), the US Geological Survey (USGS), and the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) to conduct the Biological Assessment (BA). The BA analyzes and determines the project’s effect on these species and/or their critical habitat, and documents the measures taken to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate the impacts.

Two critical elements of the BA are the groundwater monitoring and analysis, which will be completed in early 2022, and the prescribed burn of the Spring Creek Forest Preserve, which was completed in 2021. You may have also noticed crews trudging through the marshy areas along IL 62 in the late fall as shown in Figure 2 (below). These crews are delineating wetlands within the Spring Creek Forest Preserve to help better identify potential habitat for the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly within the study area. We anticipate the wetland delineation to be completed in the spring of 2022.

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WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

Once the BA is complete, the project team can continue analyzing the impacts of the two remaining alternatives and select a preferred alternative. While the two remaining alternatives are both 4-lanes, one has shoulders, and one has curb and gutter. After the preferred alternative is selected, geometric and drainage improvements, and non-motorized accommodations will be refined and presented to stakeholders.”

A copy of the update can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Restoration efforts known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative in a 14,000-acre area covering portions of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties could get a boost through a pending agreement between seven agencies, including the Cook and Lake county forest preserve districts. The Cuba Marsh is among the preserves that would be expected to benefit from a new agreement meant to speed restoration and preservation efforts in areas covered by the Barrington Greenway Initiative. (Daily Herald File Photo, 2018)

You may have visited forest preserves in southwestern Lake County, northwestern Cook County or a conservation area in southeast McHenry County for a calming respite from the din of daily life.

Cuba Marsh, Spring Lake and Silver Creek in those respective geographic areas, for example, provide different experiences and getaway opportunities.

What you may not know is those and other protected areas in the region all are pieces of a much larger whole known as the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

Now seven agencies, including the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Lake County Forest Preserve District and McHenry County Conservation District, are working on an agreement to speed up restoration of more than 14,000 acres of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and woodlands that comprise the Greenway.

Read more here.

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Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison

Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison and State Rep. Michelle Mussman will host a COVID-19 virtual town hall at noon Friday to discuss the county and state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resources available to residents and businesses.

The meeting will be live streamed on their Facebook pages and abit.ly/2VppIC1. Residents can submit questions beforehand to District15@cookcountyil.gov.

Morrison’s 15th District includes Barrington Township, and his contact information can be found here. He is a voting member of the Forest Preserve District Board which oversees Crabtree Nature Center, Horizon Farm and Spring Lake preserves.

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Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.28.02 PM Barrington Hills’ Sanfilippo estate is a popular venue for elegant, charitable fundraising parties, but Tuesday it was all about scientific research in the property’s spring-fed creek by Shedd Aquarium experts and a local nonprofit conservation group.

In collaboration with the Sanfilippo family, the Barrington Area Conservation Trust organized the monitoring of Spring Creek to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density and species composition. Conservation trust Executive Director Lisa Woolford said the organization is helping the family legally protect a “big stretch” of its land from development in perpetuity.

“So, part of what we do is we identify as many plant, insect and animal species as we can as part of the project,” Woolford said during a break from slogging through Spring Creek in waders. “And we put it into a nice, big, hefty report so we know exactly what it is we’re preserving.”

To read the full text of the Daily Herald feature, click here.

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2013shiningIt is with great pleasure that we announce our choice for the 2013 Shining Star Award.  Our congratulations go to Village President Martin J. McLaughlin.

Clearly this year, as with last year, there were many outstanding candidates submitted to The Observer for consideration.  Everyone nominated shared a common goal of bettering our community and/or our Village government through their time and dedication.

A year ago, if you knew who Martin McLaughlin was, chances are you had children in any one of three District 220 schools.  A devoted father of five daughters, Marty has been very active in school activities ranging from coaching school athletic teams to the mundane, yet necessary at times, carpooling of kids to and from school.

If you did not know Marty a year ago, you were in the majority since about two-thirds of Barrington Hills households do not have school age children.  Needless to say, this situation dramatically changed since then when the April 9, 2013, election results were reported – an outcome that likely stunned many in the Village, and possibly even the unpretentious McLaughlin who won in all four counties in Barrington Hills.

Once sworn into office, it quickly became evident that Marty didn’t shy away from problem issues, both recent and longstanding, within and without our Village that needed immediate attention.  Some, particularly the planned Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) facility proposed in East Dundee and the protracted police union legal battle, were in complete diplomatic disrepair.

Though it was clear the IAA development was a foregone conclusion, Marty still chose to represent the interests of the Pond Gate subdivision residents and the Village by immersing himself in the issues and fashioning some mitigating solutions.  We understand Marty continues to meet with IAA representatives and East Dundee officials toward goals benefiting all parties and protecting Village residents.

The most recent Village Newsletter provides an excellent overview of the situation we faced with our sworn police officers who unionized in 2010.  President McLaughlin can only be described as “politic” in his message to residents, but the fact is our Village was wasting hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars before he finally put an end to it.

Another longstanding and costly legal battle with Sears also drew his attention due to the vast amounts spent.  South Barrington, a codefendant in the case, has also incurred significant legal fees in the case.  Yet in more than ten years of fighting in the courts, neither village government had met to discuss a strategy toward common goals toward resolution.

On June 10 of this year – less than two months into his first term in office – Marty arranged a joint meeting of the Barrington Hills and South Barrington village boards.  While this may not be considered a breakthrough idea, it demonstrated a genuine theme of collaboration that Marty has brought to how our Village government should run.

The best example of Marty’s collaborative acumen was the first annual “The Hills Are Alive Fall Heritage Fest” held last October.  Months in the making, he enlisted funding assistance from vendors serving the Village to cover expenses.  Some supportive Trustees also chipped in some personal funds to help the cause.

He also involved the Barrington Hills Park District early on, as well as organizations throughout Barrington Hills from the equestrian clubs to local restaurants to conservation organizations.  Many residents also volunteered their time to oversee many activities during the fest.

Despite some rather dogmatic questioning from the board and even an eleventh hour thirty line item FOIA request submitted by a local curmudgeon, Marty’s course never swayed in accomplishing his goal of providing a fun-filled venue for residents to gather and interact.  In the end, some eight hundred residents attended the fest throughout a sunny day on October 10, 2013.  His perseverance paid off, and residents appreciated having a gathering that provided attractions for all ages.

These are just some of the highlights of what Marty has accomplished in only eight months in office.  His demonstrated hands-on leadership on tough issues combined with his cooperative approach to most all aspects of Village government are why we once again congratulate him on this award.

–     The Observer

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A PDF version of the latest Village newsletter was released today, and a copy can be downloaded here.

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BACOG has posted a document on their website titled “Spring Creek Watershed-Based Plan.”  This twelve page paper provides general information on past and present conditions of the watershed, and includes some overall suggestions on safeguarding it.

Since seventy-three percent of the watershed is in Barrington Hills, residents may wish to read this piece.  To download a copy (5.71 MB), click here

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