Meeting Minutes for February 11, 2009

Meeting Minutes for February 11, 2009


Donald Barnhart
Pat Barnhart
Mary Kay Solecki
Jamie Ellis
Bruce Stikkers
Scott Reifsteck
Brett Barnhart (by phone)
Amber Barnhart (by phone).

Meeting Topics

Donald opened the meeting with a discussion of the burn permit. Mary Kay Solecki prepared an IDNR burn plan for the coming year and presented that document to Donald. The landowner is then responsible for acquiring the Open Burn Permit from the Illinois EPA. A permit application has not been submitted yet for this burn season. With the current wait time to turn around permits at the EPA (upwards of 90 days), there may not be enough time to get a permit before the spring burn season. Donald submitted the burn permit application late last year, and admitted he might not be the best person to get this task done this year. Mary Kay Solecki will prepare the burn permit paperwork that will then only need Donald’s signature to send in.

Donald reported that the Prairie Project is still waiting on payment for the south seven acres that was accidentally planted to corn last year. Amber will contact David to ask about the payment.

A discussion then followed about the south seven acres that was seeded with prairie (Winter 2007) and planted with corn (Spring 2008). The Board agreed to observe what happens on this piece over the summer (2009), but there is little hope that prairie plants will grow because of the corn, use of a pre-emergent herbicide, and the wet spring. All present assumed that this acreage would need to be replanted.

Mary Kay reported that she will be directing and supervising two IDNR interns for about a week this summer. She suggested that these interns could spend two to three days on the Barnhart Prairie spraying Canada thistle with herbicide.

Amber reported that she recently purchased Karen’s 8-acre parcel of land. This is good news for the prairie project because Karen wanted to sell the land and Amber intends to keep and protect the prairie that had already been planted there.

Donald reported that Philo Township once again assessed the Prairie Project as farmland instead of conservation land, and he had to contact and complain to the township to get this assessment changed.

Mary Kay reported that an official Nature Preserve entrance sign is being made and will be delivered soon. She can supply the posts. Further discussion of where to put the sign and who will install the sign needs to happen. Nature preserve boundary signs still need to be posted along the edge of the preserve. The Board then discussed mowing a strip at the edge of the prairie to provide a small setback from the adjacent farmland. Donald agreed to mow this strip when he mows the trails during the summer.

Donald reported that the Prairie Project has about $4000 in the bank. A discussion about seed harvest to plant the south seven acres then followed. The idea of using a combine to harvest seed was discussed. Mary Kay reported that Jim Zimmerman moved back to Illinois, and he could be available again to harvest seed. Scott made a motion to spend up to $2000 to hire Jim Zimmerman to collect and clean seed with a second by Bruce. All approved. Mary Kay will contact Jim. Discussion on seed harvest will continue at the June meeting.

Donald asked for money to pay for gas in the tractor. Amber reminded the Board that she paid for repairs to the tractor last summer, and Brett reported that it takes about 35 gallons to fill the tractor. Mary Kay moved to spend $100 to pay for gas this summer with a second by Bruce. All approved.

Amber and Brett departed the meeting by phone at this point, but some discussion with the remaining members continued about a parking area. The parking area would be placed on the SWCD property near the sign. An exact location is yet to be determined.

After some discussion, there was a general consensus that a grass parking lot would be adequate. Scott suggested that railroad ties positioned on end and planted in the ground like fence posts would provide an economical and secure way to keep vehicles from driving into the prairie. Scott will talk to the township road commissioner about getting a culvert put into the ditch for access. Bruce will look into size guidelines for the parking area. Mary Kay voiced a desire that a parking area should be constructed this year, and further discussion about planning and implementation will take place at the June meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Jamie Ellis

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