GENEVA – The Forest Preserve District of Kane County added 1,465 acres to its land holdings, through residents’ support of a 2017 land acquisition and preserve-improvement referendum, officials announced in a news release.
The new acreage brings total preserve holdings to 22,284 acres, staff said at a Kane County Forest Preserve Commission meeting on Nov. 13, the release stated. Thirteen forest preserves have been expanded, and the district invested in land to create three new preserves.
In total, more than $19 million of the $50 million referendum proceeds have been invested so far.
Roughly 80 percent of referendum funds will go toward land acquisition, with the remaining 20 percent to go toward preserve capital improvements.
With 1,465 new acres, the district is closing in on the goal of acquiring approximately 2,000 to 2,500 additional acres of open space, the release stated.
“We’re following through on exactly what we said we would do, when we put the referendum before the voters last year in April,” Forest Preserve Commission President Mike Kenyon, R-South Elgin, stated in the release.
“We’ve added 1,465 acres and have other acquisitions in the works. We’ve also begun work on key capital improvements that will improve habitat for wildlife and recreational amenities for the public,” Kenyon stated in the release. “It’s great to see. I’ve often said that the referendum was about legacy and leaving Kane County a better place for future generations. We’re working to do just that.”
Commissioner Maggie Auger, R-Algonquin, chairwoman of the District’s Land Acquisition Committee, explained some of the reasoning behind the acquisitions.
“We’ve focused on enlarging the size of existing preserves to grow our woodlands, wetlands and prairies,” Auger stated in the release. “We’ve made multiple investments to increase the size of Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve in Elgin. The addition of 325 acres creates a … 1,011-acre preserve. We’ve been able to protect land along creeks at Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock, Ferson Creek Forest Preserve in Elgin and LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.”
These riparian areas are hot spots for biodiversity, Auger stated in the release.
“We’ve also invested in a beautiful woodland in Big Rock township, that will create a new 85-acre preserve. It’s amazing to see what we’ve been able to accomplish with the support of our residents, and we’ve still got more in the works,” Auger stated in the release.
Land investments to date include a 71.48-acre addition to the Sauer Family Prairie Kame Forest Preserve in Elburn; a 261.48-acre addition to the Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn; a 25.74-acre addition to a yet-to-be-named forest preserve in St. Charles; a 22.24-acre addition to the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles; a 77-acre addition to the Ferson Creek Forest Preserve in St. Charles; and a 6-acre addition to the Glenwood Park Forest Preserve in Batavia.