Spring Creek Watershed Grant
The recently formed Spring Creek Watershed (SCW) is a partnership between community leaders, local stakeholders and technical experts. A watershed is all the land that drains into a water-body. The goal of the partnership is to create a watershed based plan for the communities following the guidelines of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recommendations and with the input of local stakeholders who have a vested interest in the communities involved. SCW will set goals and objectives for the watershed, assess the current conditions, issues and key protection areas, and then formulate a plan for the protection and maintenance of the region. All residents, community leaders and local interested parties are welcome to attend meetings, have input and partake in the development of the plan.
SCW has received a grant for $91,000 to create the plan and is seeking donations to raise matching funds.
Sponsors will be featured in the final plan and on the SCW website at www.springcreekwatershed.info. Donations should be made to our fiscal agent, Citizens for Conservation and sent care of Schumm Consulting, 220 A Thornhill Ct., Lake Barrington, IL 60010.
SCW partners include: Citizens for Conservation, Village of Barrington Hills, Village of Fox River Grove, Dundee Township, Fox River Grove Parks Commission, Barrington Township, Friends of Spring Creek, Riding Club of Barrington Hills, Village of Carpentersville, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Barrington Area Council of Governments, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Flint Creek Watershed Partnership, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Photo of Beverly Lake by Cecily Cunz. Article Nancy Schumm
Fresh Ideas for Local Pond Management
Pond lovers who are having trouble with algae overgrowth, there are new products that naturally re-establish pond bacteria, products which eat up the muck on the bottom and control and/or eliminate the algae. Using a "bubbler" system that puts oxygen into the water, rather than the aerator type-pretty sprayer pond apparatus, may also help you reduce the algae population.
Patsy Mortimer, of Citizens for Conservation and The Watershed Project, has recommendations for assistance if you need an aquatic expert to help you. The new products do not harm fish, fowl, amphibians, or aquatic plants and they are active with water temperatures beginning at 45 degrees so you can begin to make your pond healthy starting this spring.
Article information provided by Beautification Committee Chairperson
Citizens for Conservation
Celebrating Forty Years Saving Living Space for Living Things
Citizens for Conservation
Community Education Environmental Programs
Baker’s Lake Bird Walk with
Monday, March 7th
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Meet at the parking lot at
Cornell Avenue & George Street in Barrington
BRING YOUR BINOCULARS!
You MUST register by calling Janis Wesley,
Audubon, at 847-328-1250 ext. 10
Sponsored by Citizens for Conservation and Audubon
Be on the lookout for herons, ducks and
Get Results go to www.bacog.org
Annual water quality tests for bacteria and nitrates are recommended for all homeowners with private wells.
This March BACOG in partnership with Lake County Health Department are facilitating local access to water quality tests to Barrington Area Residents.
How to participate:
1. Sign-up and purchase a test kit between Monday, March 7thand Thursday, March 10th at the Barrington Hills Village Hall. Tests cost $10.00.
2. Take the water sample on March 14th or March 16th (as specified on your kit) and drop it off between 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. that same day at the Barrington High School located at 616 W. Main Street in Barrington. (Park in the visitor’s lot)
Bring the sample to the drop-off location as soon as possible after collecting the water. Samples must remain cool and be analyzed within 24 hours. Lake County Health will notify residents of results.
Through this program BACOG will offer annual reminders for participants and free well & septic informational materials . Drop off your sample at 5:00 PM on March 14th to hear several short presentations and to talk with water experts
Saturday, April 9 – Native Trees and Shrubs for your Home
You know you want to go native, but you’re not sure how to choose trees and shrubs for your yard? Members of CFC’s Community Education Committee present helpful native tree and shrub information illustrated with photographs from their own yards. Whether you’re looking for blossoms, berries, fall color, or winter interest, you’ll come away with loads of ideas. Order forms for CFC’s native plant sale will be available for advance orders.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposal
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has recently initiated a study to evaluate the possibility of establishing the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge would be located on a section of land of more than 30,000 acres in McHenry and Lake Counties in Illinois and the two adjoining counties in Wisconsin. The study area is more than 350,000 acres. The review process is expected to take 1-2 years. The Hackmatack will be part of the National Wildlife Refuge System which is a national network of public lands set aside specifically to protect wild animals and plants. Found in all 50 states and five U.S. territories and encompassing 95 million acres, 560 refuges currently exist. National Wildlife Refuges are special places with significant natural resources where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquires land and/or conservation easements. The National Wildlife Refuge System was created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt with Florida’s 5.5 acre Pelican Island named the first refuge.
The name ‘Hackmatack’ comes from the common reference to the American Tamarack tree which is a deciduous conifer native to the area. The tree is the inspiration for the proposed reserve. The Village is in contact with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support their efforts and help to integrate land planning efforts, and to facilitate the boundaries of the planning area. As with many other large scale regional conservation plans, the Village is working to coordinate our land use with that of the Hackmatack and investigate possible joint efforts. I will have more about the Hackmatack and our participation in the next newsletter. You can see more about the Hackmatack at:
Larix laricina - Tamarack
Tamarack is one of only three native North American larch species and is the most common. This larch sheds its needles in the fall like baldcypress. Tamarack is the most cold-hardy of any native tree and has the strongest wood of all the conifers. Tamarack also has the widest range of all the North American conifers.
tamarack Pinaceae Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch symbol: LALA
Leaf: Deciduous, flat needle, light green, appear in spirals on spur shoots after first year,
3/4 to 1 inch long, turn yellow in the fall.
Flower: Monoecious; males yellowish, small and round in clusters near branch tips;
females reddish-brown, numerous scales, egg-shaped.
Fruit: Small, 3/4 to 1 inch, light brown, egg-shaped cone; persist throughout the winter.
Twig: Slender, light brown, numerous short, spur branches.
Bark: Rough, small scaly patches, grayish brown to reddish brown.
Form: Open, narrow, conical crown; trunk straight, grows to 80 feet; 1 1/2 feet in diameter.
Looks like: Dunkeld larch - western larch - subalpine larch - European larch
Spring Creek Forest Preserve joined the
Illinois Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program
Spring Creek Forest Preserve joined twenty six other new entries to the Illinois Important Bird Areas (IBA) program on June 10th, 2010.
Chicago Tribune article and photo presented to Wendy Paulson by Linda Fox at Village Hall. Wendy's work with t he Audubon Society is known worldwide. She is a major supporter of local Conservation efforts which helped Barrington Hills achieve IBA status. .
On hand to celebrate this honor were Steve Bylina, General Superintendent, Forest Preserve District of Cook County; Janice Engle, Field Supervisor, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Wendy Paulson, Bird Monitor and Conservationist; Judy Pollock, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Chicago Region; John Rogner, Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; along with scores of local conservationists.
Important Bird Areas are important habitats that our birds depend on for survival. Illinois plays a critical role in the conservation of many birds. The sites selected may host tens of thousand of migrating land birds or waterfowl in a year, or thousand of migrating raptors or shorebirds. They may provide nesting habitat for hundreds of herons and egrets, or for scores of rare grassland, woodland or wetland birds. Others may be wintering destinations for birds like Bald Eagles, Short-eared Owls or Rusty Blackbirds, a species whose precipitous decline in recent years puzzles ornithologists.
The Illinois Illinois IBA program is part of a worldwide effort. Sites may be chosen for their state-wide importance, and those that are critical to a bird’s population are nominated fro the global network. Illinois has a number of sites that meet the global criteria. The Henslow’s Sparrow is endemic to the tallgrass prairie - its population is centered in Illinois and a few surrounding states. There are 14 IBA’s in Illinois that have significant populations of this rare songbird. More than a tenth of the population of American golden-plovers migrate through the state. The re-headed woodpecker, long a common sight in the state, has declined dramatically, and is another bird of global concern.
National Audubon Society coordinates the Important Bird Areas program in the United States. Audubon Chicago Region has identified significant bird habitat across Illinois based on peer-reviewed scientific criteria. The IBA Program focuses attention on the areas needed to sustain our native bird populations and helps private and public land managers provide the best stewardship practices for bird conservation on their properties.
The IBA program points out concerns and celebrates successes. Illinois habitats face many threats - chief among them are invasive species, disruption of natural processes such as prairie burns and drainage patterns, certain intensive farming practices, and destruction of habitat. The Chicago region, citizens, agencies, and other conservation partners have joined forces on many sites to improve habitat, and dramatic increases in bird populations have resulted.
Cook County Forest Preserve District’s Spring Creek Preserve is a great success story. When habitat restoration began six years ago, rare grassland bird populations were barely holding on. Through the hard work of the Cook County Forest Preserve District, its many partners and dedicated neighbors, hundreds of acres of grassland habitat have been improved and the numbers of rare birds such as bobolinks and Henslow’s sparrows have skyrocketed.
Audubon Chicago Region promotes the protection and proper management of birds, wildlife, and their habitats through advocacy and education. Audubon provides conservation leadership based on sound science with specific projects supporting habitat restoration, and natural areas monitoring and stewardship volunteers in the Chicago region.
The IBA program reminds us that our bird populations need help, that our state provides critical habitat, and that the excellent efforts of many talented individuals and organizations are needed to protect and maintain these habitats. More information about the program is available at www.audobon.org/bird/iba
Barrington Area Council of Governments
The 19 groundwater presentations to BACOG and its member villages and townships are complete! An additional community presentation was held on November 30th, and this filmed meeting with slides and videos can be seen at BACOG's website under “water resources/publications”.
Barrington Hills Board of Trustees received three (3) separate BACOG presentations on Ground Water in 2009. Barrington Hills is a significant source of quality ground water for the BACOG area. Activities in our Village directly and immediately affect the quality and quantity of the groundwater available to thousands of residents in villages nearby who, like us, do not have access to Lake Michigan water.
President Abboud was featured in Quintessential Barrington Magazine addressing the topic of groundwater. For the QB PDF click here.
Award to Grigsby Prairie
Barrington Hills Grigsby Prairie 2009 - photo courtesy of Debbie Stone
The Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards Program is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness. This is the 10th year for this awards program. The goals of the awards program are to provide recognition for exemplary sites and projects within the Chicago Wilderness region which:
- Feature native landscaping;
- Demonstrate the principles and best practices of conservation-style development; and/or
- Restore ecosystems
A site can be nominated if it is within the Chicago Wilderness region and is owned by:
- A local government (or park district or school district);
- A non-profit organization; or
- A for-profit corporation
(i.e., the program does not cover single family homes)
In addition to providing recognition for exceptional sites and projects, the awards program is intended to raise awareness about conservation design, ecosystem restoration, and native landscaping practices and encourage others to implement these practices.
We are recognizing Grigsby Prairie this year. This is well-deserved recognition for the prairie itself and the work done to get it to where it is today. The award will be bestowed December 10 at the Awards Ceremony at the Botanic Garden. Here is some info (below) about the prairie. We hope you (and others, including in particular Tom V.) will be able to make it to the awards ceremony.
CFC Note: This is a very special award. Citizens for Conservation is deeply grateful to Peggy Richards of Barrington Hills, who donated this land to CFC. Without her generosity and gracious flexibility this renowned habitat restoration, an educational site widely enjoyed by school children and adults, would not have been possible. Sam Oliver
Barrington Hills Grigsby Prairie- Award winner in 2009 - photo courtesy of Debbie Stone
Overview: This 42.4-acres prairie restoration in 1986, with only a few native species on the land. After 23 years of restoration, there are now 175 native species, some quite rare. Invasives have been mostly eliminated and continue to be controlled. The prairie is a source of seed for other local restorations, including a cooperative effort with Spring Creek Forest Preserve.
The land was farmland that has been donated by Peggy Richards in parcels since 1980 when the original 14.5 acres were given to CFC. Since then approximately every five years additional acreage has been donated. The land was being invaded by box elder and locust trees, buckthorn and honeysuckle bushes and reed canary grass.
Year around management activities include brush clearing, planting plugs and seeding, annual burns in various sections. Seed collecting started in 1992 as a seed source for other restorations. Bird monitoring is regularly conducted at the prairie.
As the prairie develops and becomes increasingly stable, species which might not have survived early on are now being restored. Burn patterns are being used to support the greatest diversity of plants and returning birds. Restoration work has been almost totally by volunteers over the years. CIC and volunteers spend approximately 1000 person hours per year in restoration and maintenance efforts at Grigsby.
Approximately 90% is now covered in native vegetation, with some non-natives still being crowded out. Invasives are constantly being pulled or herbicided.
CFC’s management plan guides ongoing work at the site. Biodiversity has been greatly restored at this site. From farmland, it is now habitat for 175 species of native plants in wet, mesic and dry prairie, wetlands and savanna. Some plants include prairie grasses such as prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepsis; big bluestem, Andropogan gerardii; little bluestem, Andropogan scoparius. Many forbs, some rare, are thriving: wild white indigo, Baptisia leucantha; rattlesnake master,
Eryngium yuccafolium, spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana; Indian paintbrush, Castileja coccinea, and four gentians. Because of the restored prairie ecology and its open aspects in a continuum from dry prairie to marsh, nesting birds now include eastern meadowlarks, bobolinks, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, sedge wrens, king birds, savanna sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers and bluebirds.
The restoration includes species from northeastern Illinois tallgrass prairies and savannas, specifically those found within a twenty mile radius of the Barrington Hills area. White fringed orchid seed has been sown and we expect to see these come up in the next year or so
Concern about Road Expansion in Barrington Hills
Barrington Area Conservation Trust is currently working with a number of Barrington Hills residents to protect the rural and scenic character of our residential roadways and to help prevent their expansion.
The Trust’s Heritage Corridor program aims to address possible future widening of roads which are currently being used as cut-throughs, including Otis, Old Sutton, Brinker, Oak Knoll, Bateman, Ridge, Plum Tree, Spring Creek, Meadow Hill, Braeburn, and others.
Here’s how it works: The Trust works with you to place an easement 10 to 20 feet from the edge of the roadway into your setback property. The easement is then held jointly by BACTrust and the Village of Barrington Hills. When enough easements are placed by multiple homeowners along both sides of the roadway, IDOT or other municipalities have a much more difficult time trying to widen that road. It is a very effective tool that Barrington Hills residents can use to help protect the scenic character of our back roads.
If you live along one of these cut-through roadways, you may be eligible to participate in the program. Call BACTrust at 847-381-4291 to find out more!
Flint Creek Receives Excellence Award
Barrington Hills view of Flint Creek in winter 2009 - photo courtesy of Laura Ekstrom
Flint Creek Watershed Partnership has been selected to receive the Chicago Wilderness Excellence in Conservation award in the “Projects, Programs, and/or Initiatives” category! Flint Creek Watershed’s Action Plan has been chosen for its exceptional contributions in protecting biodiversity in the Chicago Wilderness region. The annual conference is the premier event to highlight the resources, science and collaborative conservation action of the Chicago Wilderness consortium. Congress 2008 featured the strategic initiatives of Chicago Wilderness: Green Infrastructure, Leave No Child Inside, Restoration and Management, and Climate Change.
Per the announcement letter sent by Ms. Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness Alliance:
"The Flint Creek Watershed Partnership is an outstanding example of visionary planning that will ensure a healthy habitat for people, flora and fauna. The formation and growth of the partnership demonstrates an exemplary commitment to involving diverse stakeholders and government agencies. Laying the groundwork for restoration of the watershed has resulted in numerous positive steps including: the inventory of creek and detention basins; educating residents on each individual’s impact on the watershed; and beginning the implementation of the watershed plan with neighbors restoring a section of Flint Creek along the Flint Creek Dreamway Path in 2007.
The Flint Creek Watershed Partnership is to be lauded for its efforts to develop and strengthen partnerships among local government, not for profit organizations and other stakeholders. The thorough and thoughtful plan in which everyone can play a role results in everyone feeling engaged in this wonderfully ambitious plan. This project is an extraordinary model and source of inspiration everywhere. Restoring the health of the Flint Creek Watershed directly advances the mission and vision of Chicago Wilderness to preserve nature and enhance quality of life in the region."
The award ceremony was held November 13th at 4:00 pm at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Attending the award ceremony were Janet Agnoletti, Executive Director, Barrington Areas Council of Governments (BACOG) Patsy Mortimer, Watershed Coordinator, Sam Oliver, Staff Director, Citizens for Conservation, and Lauren DeJesu and David Raclaw, Village of Lake Barrington Trustees.
To learn more about these organizations, please visit: http://www.chicagowilderness.org or http://www.flintcreekwatershed.org.
Living Green - CFL Disposal
The subject of CFL bulbs can best be addressed in the following UEPA News Release:
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Do Energy-savings Outweigh Mercury Hazard?
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / firstname.lastname@example.org
With the issue of climate change on everyone's mind these days, people are looking for ways to cut down on energy use. Many people are turning to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
But there is also a concern because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury. One Pennsylvania resident recently emailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mid-Atlantic region to ask what she should do:
"The problem with CFLs," she wrote, "is that these bulbs contain mercury and they need to be disposed of properly but the box does not give any instructions. Should we be more concerned with energy saving or mercury hazards?"
EPA's electronics recycling specialist Dan Gallo, who responded to the question, says the benefits of lower energy consumption outweigh the disadvantages but "EPA promotes and encourages the safe disposal of old CFLs to prevent the release of mercury into the environment,"
"Although CFCs do contain mercury, it is present in trace amounts -- five milligrams -- an amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen," said Gallo. "It would take 100 CFLs to equal the amount of mercury contained in older thermometers, which is about 500 milligrams."
The good news is that old CFC bulbs can be taken to Home Depot, IKEA and Ace Hardware for recycling. And Wal-mart is piloting a CFL recycling program at its stores in the Richmond, Va. area.
Since CFLs use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, if every American switched one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would save more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars.
"Using CFLs is a quick and easy way for Americans to save energy and money everyday, while they also protect the environment," Gallo said.
But if a bulb accidentally breaks, proper clean-up is necessary.
"The first thing you want to do is to get everyone out of room, including pets," Gallo said. "Open a window to air out the room for at least 15 minutes. If you broke the bulb on a hard surface, take a piece of stiff paper or cardboard and scoop up as much of the debris and residue as you can."
Gallo advises to use an old glove or sock to protect hands and then wipe up any remaining residue with a moist paper towel. "If you broke the bulb on a carpeted surface, you'll want to use sticky tape to blot up any residue. Put everything in a plastic bag or a jar that can be sealed with a lid and dispose of it with the regular household trash."
For more information on CFLs go to:
Barrington Area Conservation Trust
Protecting the beautiful character of the countryside depends upon three key elements working together; private landowners, community planners, and the incorporation of conservation strategies in the development of the local environs. The BACTrust works with private residents and community leaders to bring the tools for land protection into the hands of the planners and landowners. With this strategy they have successfully saved 426 acres of open space and are working hard to protect even more. This year, BACTrust has launched a Heritage Corridor Program, accredited its Lawyers Roundtable, and worked successfully with local communities on updating their comprehensive plans.
BACTrust was founded in 2001 to help preserve the open space, rural character, and scenic, recreational, and natural resources of the Barrington, Illinois-area communities through advocacy, education, and promotion of responsible land stewardship.
Long term strategists have determined that the Barrington Area is one of the largest remaining connected ecosystems in Northeastern Illinois and it is at-risk for development. “The Barrington area’s combination of forest preserves and large private properties makes it one of the most important natural resource regions in the Chicago area,” said board president Mary Bradford-White. “That is why it is critical that we protect as much of the land as possible.”
Land protection is not just for the residents who enjoy it on a daily basis. Land protection extends its reach beyond borders by reducing local carbon footprints, providing habitat for flora and fauna, conveying water in healthy ways, and improving the quality of life for everyone who encounters it not only in this generation, but in future generations as well.
Board of Trustees
Mary Bradford-White, President
Elizabeth C. Bramsen
Lorraine H. Briggs
Bill L. Davis
Julie Ann Martens
David F. Nelson
Glenn W. Reed
The Mission of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust
The mission of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACTrust) is to preserve the open space, rural character, and scenic, historic, recreational, and natural resources of the Barrington, Illinois area communities through advocacy, education and the promotion of responsible land stewardship. They recently changed their name to more closely represent the communities that they serve. This spring, the BACTrust officially launched its Heritage Corridor Program in an effort to protect the rural roads that connect our neighborhoods. More details about this program, as well as information about establishing conservation easements can be found at www.BACTrust.org.
10 Things You Can Do To Preserve Our Heritage
- Join Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACTrust) TODAY!
- Host a coffee with your neighbors to discuss options and tools for land preservation.
- Talk to you neighbors and friends about BHCT.
- Ask a friend to join BHCT.
- Give a membership to BHCT as a gift.
- Support the Save Our Countryside acquisition program.
- Leave a lasting legacy in your will. A post-mortem gift of a qualifying conservation easement can save significantly on estate taxes for your family.
- Discuss conservation easement options with BHCT on your own land.
- Volunteer to serve on a committee.
- Include your employers matching gift program with your donation.
For more information about Barrington Area Conservation Trust, visit www.bactrust.org. Trust Executive Director, Nancy Schumm-Burgess. (847)381-4291