Referendum Recap - Land Acquisition, Wildlife Habitat Preservation, and Recreational Improvements made possible by the voters of McHenry County
When McHenry County Conservation District successfully passed, by voter approval, a $73 million Bond Referendum in 2007, the goals were to first purchase and protect natural areas, significant wetlands, endangered and threatened species habitats, and link existing sites. The second goal was to restore essential habitat and the third goal to make recreational improvements and open new sites and trails to provide the public with access to natural areas and opportunities for passive recreation.
The Conservation District now protects 25,021 acres of open space throughout the county. Over the past four years, the District has acquired 4,140 acres. The $62.5 million of the bond proceeds principal, and an additional $1.9 dollars of investment income has been expensed on land acquisitions; $2.8 million of investment income remains unexpended and is designated toward future land acquisitions. The final amount of acres that will be protected will depend largely upon on-going land acquisition decisions and strategies which may include land gifts, donations, easements, or grants. In essence, the acquisition of another 200–400 acres should be realized.
Linking McHenry County's Last Great Places & Protecting the Best of the Last Remaining High-Quality Ecosystems
Reconnecting remnant ecosystems and creating larger parcels linked by greenway corridors are key tenets of land protection philosophy at the Conservation District. Recent land acquisition purchases and their ecological significance include:
13 acres in Wonder Lake. Significance: A high-quality, white oak dominated woodland. The site was protected from a slated subdivision development by a generous private donation. — Acquired 2011
248 acres in Woodstock were added to Brookdale Conservation Area; Significance: Protects 1/2 mile of the N. Branch of the Kishwaukee River and allows for the removal of a small impoundment, bringing this branch of the Kishwaukee River one step closer to being a free-flowing waterway, improving fishing opportunities and allowing rare mussels to reproduce. A fish passage study is being conducted at the final remaining dam located at the Brookdale pond. Oak woodlands and wetlands also exist on the site.—Acquired 2010
302 acres added to Pleasant Valley Conservation Area; Significance: The acquisition will make it possible to restore nearly 800 acres of a stream side marsh complex along the Kishwaukee River.
31.7 acres at Lake in the Hills Conservation Area; Significance: Protects the viewshed east of Randall Road and provides a buffer for the high-quality ecosystems within the site.—Acquired 2009
14.5 acres in Richmond; Significance: Connects the two parcels of Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Varga Archaeological Site to create one contiguous area of 345 acres.—Acquired 2009
58 acres added to Queen Anne Prairie; Significance: protects populations of a state endangered plant and several archeological sites and due to its high ecological quality of habitat, a portion has been submitted for approval as a buffer to the “Lind Forest” State Nature Preserve.—Acquired 2009
150 acres in Greenwood Township; Significance: protects populations of a federally threatened plant species and a large block of oak woodlands. It is now part of the Queen Anne Prairie and a portion has been proposed to create a new state nature preserve called Slough Creek Fen.—Acquired 2008
29 acres protected in Greenwood Township; Significance: Due to its high ecological quality of habitat, a portion has been submitted for approval as an addition to the “Barber Fen" State Nature Preserve.—Acquired 2008
127 acres in Greenwood Township; Significance: Due to the high-quality ecological communities, including a 1/2 mile of Nippersink Creek which exists on site, a portion has been submitted for approval as an addition to the Illinois Nature Preserve, Lind Forest.—Acquired 2008
105 additional acres protected at North Branch Conservation Area; Significance: allowed for the cleanup and restoration of Monteloma Springs Fen.—Acquired 2008
At A Glance 2007 Bond Referendum
Status Report - June 2011
Total # of acres the District protects to date = 25,021 acres
Total # of acres protected with the 2007 bond funds = 4,140 acres
Of the $62.5 million of the bond proceeds principal and an additional $1.9 million
of investment income has been expensed on land acquisitions, while $2.8 million of investment income remains unexpended and is designated toward future land acquisitions. An additional 200 – 400 additional acres may be acquired with bond funds.
Of the $2 million set aside for Wildlife Habitat Preservation $1.66 million of the bond proceeds principal has been expended and $331,178 of bond proceeds remain unexpended and are designated for future restoration projects.
Of the $8.5 million set aside for Recreational Improvements $6.3 million has been expended and $2.3 million remain unexpended. This includes an additional $250,000 of investment income that has been designated for future site and trail improvements.
The Conservation District actively seeks grants from various local, state and federal sources to help offset the cost of numerous projects and site improvements and to enhance program development. Over the past nine years the District has secured $14,697,432 in grant funding.
To view a complete list of these grants and their associated projects click here.