Meeting Minutes for October 1, 2008Prairie Board Meetings October 1, 2008
Amber Barnhart (by phone)
Mary Kay Solecki
Donald gave a general update on the prairie and farm. Brett Barnhart has moved to Omaha so his work and communication about the prairie is missed! He remains on the board and would have been on conference call today but couldn’t. Donald did mow the prairie paths repeatedly this summer and they are on good shape. The tractor did require several repairs- 2 flat tires which Amber paid for and Donald got done and a tank of gas that Brett got filled on a visit back to the farm.
Action item: thanks.
Current bank balance is approximately $4,000.
The Board discussed the issue of weeds. Jamie and Donald led this discussion. There are a lot of sweet clover and Tcell (spelling on this??) in some parts of the prairie. Jamie wondered if some of the interns might help clear those in the future.
Action item: I think Jamie was going to work on getting that help.
The issue of Karen’s 8 acres was discussed. Most outside finance sources will have major hurtles about acquiring this land. The budget is greatly reduced at many state agencies and private agencies may feel the affects of the current economic troubles. The Clean Air resources require 25-50% match of the money.
Action item: The board decided to continue to look for future outside sources.
The issue of the accidental planting of corn on top of the winter planting of the prairie plants on the last 7 acres of prairie was discussed. The tenant farmer could not tell the area had been planted since it was drill planted and after the snow of the winter and rains of the spring there were no visible signs of prairie planting. Once this was discovered, Bruce, Mary Kay, Donald, Amber, Brett and Pat discussed the next step. The plan was to mow down the corn when it was up enough to mow and short enough to mow. At the time of the corn planting discovery, the corn was too short to mow. Due to tractor repair problems and with the heavy summer rains, the corn did not get mowed. As was discussed in the early summer, no one knows what this corn planting will do to the growth of the prairie plants. Plus an herbicide was applied at the time of the corn planting. Donald has reviewed the corn area and there are some prairie plants (blue stem) growing. Jamie noted that there is a lot of foxtail in the area. Jamie suggested that he and Mary Kay go through and ID the plants periodically.
Action item: The board voted to harvest the corn and apply that money to replanting that area as needed.
Educational programs for the future were discussed briefly. Amber suggested that we wait on developing those til someone is living on the farm again to watch over the prairie. The board does plan on developing educational outreach in the future as well as creating a parking area on the 8 acres owned by the soil and water district as well as creation of educational pamphlets on the prairie.
Action item: Continue to dream and think.
Donald would like to explore restoring the wetlands to the prairie area someday (hydrology). This might be on the 10 year plan. Bruce has the aerial ability to help find the tile. Donald does have the U of I students programs that included those ideas.
Action item: Get those student projects digital by scanning them onto a CD.
Donald would like to plant his acres next to the south prairie is prairie as well. That conservation easement might be a donation to the Barnhart Prairie Board in the future.
Action item: Donald will let the board know when he is ready to proceed with that.
The issue of carbon credits was brought up. 2006-2007 was $230. So it is anticipated that amount of money will come again to the Board account.
Action item: Continue to put that money into the Barnhart Prairie bank account
Both Brett and Jamie responded after the meeting that we should communicate with the tenant farmer (our uncle, David Smith) in writing since no one lives on the farm at the moment. I think that is a good idea and have attached a proposed letter to him and his son about the prairie. I would like each person to respond with comments on the letter (ie-vote). There is no more planting to be done by them on any part of the prairie and Donald has volunteered to continue mowing the paths so their part of this is completed.
Submitted by Amber Barnhart on Nov 3, 2008