What Does It Mean?
A portion of the Aux Sable Creek watershed plan update project includes working on the Grundy and Will County portions of the watershed to map the green infrastructure in these areas. While this is not a requirement of the nine criteria established by the EPA for watershed plans, considering and planning for conservation of natural areas is an activity that can preserve and protect water quality. It may include establishing/protecting buffer strips along waterways, identifying and preserving wetlands, strategically locating new development to avoid areas prone to flooding (it could include areas identified as floodplain or those that have been locally identified), identifying wooded areas, and other similar approaches. Creating a plan that identifies such areas does not require their protection nor trigger any local government regulation of those areas. Rather, it provides a means of voluntarily considering the ideas presented in the plan.

Publicity and Outreach Efforts for Draft Open Space Plan



Draft Plan Posted on Website Available Since October 2007
Grundy County Growth Conference November 16, 2007

Press Release on Public Information Meeting in Grundy County to:  Joliet Herald, Morris Daily Herald, Chanooka Weekly

January 11, 2008

click here to view press release

Postcards Notifying About the Public Information Meeting in Grundy County Distributed in the Following Public Buildings:

Channahon Village Hall, Minooka Village Hall, City of Morris, Grundy County Planning Office, Grundy U of I Extension Office, Morris Community Foundation Office, Grundy County Farm Bureau Office, Grundy County SWCD/NRCS Office, Libraries: Morris, Minooka, Channahon

January 11, 2008

click here to view flyer

Sent Public Information Meeting Postcard to Aux Sable and Saratoga Township Board Members January 15, 2008
Press Release on Public Information meeting in Grundy County to:  Joliet Herald, Morris Daily Herald, Chanooka Weekly

January 17, 2008

click here to view press release

Grundy County U of I Extension Board Meeting January 29, 2008
Public Information Meeting January 30, 2008
Saratoga Township Board Meeting

February 12, 2008

Grundy Environmental Fair March 1, 2008

How Would the Plan be Used?
Working to implement the watershed-wide open space plan would be by voluntary measures only. These voluntary approaches could include any of the following:

  • Private Conservation
    Conservation easements are a voluntary form of private open space preservation. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a nonprofit conservation group or qualified public agency that permanently restricts development of the land to ensure that the owner’s conservation goals are upheld. A conservation easement can guarantee that the trees on a property won’t be cut down, for instance, or that the property will remain farmland. This type of easement endures even if the land is sold or passed on to heirs. It protects the natural character that makes the land special. One or more of the following criteria must be met in order to qualify for a conservation easement:
    • Preserve habitat for endangered or threatened species,
      Contribute to the ecological viability of another park or natural area that is publicly owned or otherwise protected,
    • Provide for public access for recreation or outdoor education,
    • Be identified in the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, and/or
    • Be part of a local, state or federal policy or plan to conserve wildlife habitat or open space, restore or protect lakes and streams or protect scenic areas.

Being identified on a master open space plan can assist interested landowners in qualifying for the tax benefits of a conservation easement. By putting a conservation easement in place, a landowner can qualify for tax benefits which can sometimes be significant. These benefits include charitable deductions, property tax reductions, and estate tax benefits.

Private protection can also be achieved through voluntary designation of a Nature Preserve. High-quality natural areas in private, corporate, or government ownership can be dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. This program is run by the Department of Natural Resources. For more on this program, click here.

Limited private protection can also be achieved through several USDA programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program (FRPP), and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Most, but not all, of these programs apply to agricultural lands, however they could potentially apply to natural areas or be combined with other programs to maximize land conservation.  For more information on these programs visit Kendall County Soil & Water Conservation District or the USDA website.

  • Conservation Oriented Development
    While this statement may seem like an oxymoron, it is another method to protect natural areas. Development is occurring and we can turn that into an opportunity to permanently protect lands. Developments employing conservation design principles will preserve sensitive areas, be environmentally sustainable, and have lower infrastructure installation and maintenance costs than conventional development. This is true for both residential and commercial developments.

    Many governing entities require a percentage land to be maintained as open space and also require land-cash donations to the park/forest preserve districts. That open space should match this Plan.

  • Public Acquisition
    Outright purchase, donation, or partial donation of land are common forms of open space protection. The Kendall County Forest Preserve District passed a $45 million dollar referendum in April 2007 for property acquisition. Grundy County continues to consider formation of a forest preserve district, no such district exists at this time.

    Land is also acquired by public agencies (Forest Preserve District and park districts) through a land-cash donation requirement when a property develops. Many area park districts require 7.5-10 acres per 1,000 people to be donated as park land. Open spaces identified on this plan can be priority protection areas for these donated lands.

Who’s Working on the Mapping?
The Conservation Foundation is facilitating a subcommittee of Grundy and Will County representatives from the 319 advisory committee to complete these portions of the open space plan. This project will not revisit the Kendall portion of the watershed recently mapped. It focuses only on the Will and Grundy portions – to compile all data into a watershed-wide open space map.

Data was gathered from these partners and the subcommittee is meeting to review the information for accuracy and consider areas that should be part of this open space plan. For a schedule of meetings, click here. Once a draft plan is complete, a public information meeting will be held to gather further input on the plan. This will likely occur in early 2008.

Will & Grundy Open Space Meetings
Date Title Location
Thurs. Sept. 6, 2007 Following 319 advisory committee meeting

Anne Vickery’s shed - 4728 Chicago Rd., Minooka

Tues. Oct. 30, 2007

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Minooka Village Hall – 121 E. McEvilly Rd.

Click here for a copy of the agenda.

Tues. Nov. 20, 2007 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Minooka Village Hall – 121 E. McEvilly Rd.

Click here for a copy of the agenda.

Wed.. Feb. 20, 2008 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Minooka Village Hall - 121 E.

McEvilly Rd.

Click here for a copy of the agenda.

Will & Grundy Subcommittee
Name Title Organization
Colin Duesing Long Range Planner Will County Land Use Department
Daniel Duffy County Administrator Grundy County
Deb Steffes   Watershed Resident, Grundy County
Debra Jo Kinsilla County Extension Director University of Illinois Extension, Grundy Unit and watershed resident, Grundy County

Dick Kopczick

Mayor City of Morris
Heidi Miller Director of Planning, Building Zoning & Solid Waste Grundy County
Jake Melrose Planner Village of Channahon
James Grabowski Village Administrator Village of Minooka
Julie Buck Executive Director Morris Community Foundation
Tim Good Planning Program Supervisor Will County Forest Preserve District
Natalie Mahler Resource Conservationist Grundy County SWCD
Tasha Jordan-Bunting Manager Grundy County Farm Bureau

Click here
to view the Grundy open space map


Click here to view

the watershed wide

open space map