April 2021 Minutes

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Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
April 21, 2021

Call to Order: Chairman Jim Hutchison called the meeting to order of the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board at 8:07 am on April 21, 2021. The board met in the Blackhawk Room at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.

Roll Call: Present at the time the meeting was called to order were board members Jim Hutchison, Barb Klinger, Dan Diaz, and Matt Schlachter; District employees Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator; NRCS employee Abby Mielke, Soil Conservationist.  

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Approval of Minutes: Jim Hutchison moved to approve minutes of the March SWCD board meeting, seconded by Dan Diaz. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Bills to be Paid: Matt Schlachter moved to approve the bills as listed on the monthly budget sheet for April; seconded by Dan Diaz. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed around. Jim Hutchison moved to accept the employee timesheets, seconded by Dan Diaz. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Action Items:

Stephenson County Board Report:  Garrett Miller

  • After much discussion at their last board meeting and a vote of 13 to 5; Stephenson County Board has decided to list the Walnut Acres Nursing home for sale. If the nursing home is sold to a private nursing home; the board contract states that approximately 80 beds should remain for Medicare patients.
  • 3 bridges are slated for repair and 30 roads will be seal coated this year.
  • The board has updated the raffle program for the County, increasing maximum prize value to $100,000.
  • The County discussed setbacks and zoning requirements for wind towers/wind farms. Current set back is 1.8 x height of the wind tower; the State would like to standardize this set back so everyone in Illinois is using the same formula.
  • Kent monument repairs will start this summer and be complete by fall.


Freeport City Council Report:  Randy Bukas

  • Many water and sewer improvements are being made around the city –
    • 600 lead service lines are being replaced from the street to the house. An EPA grant is funding these replacements; originally it was going to cover the cost of replacing more lines; but changes running the lines to each home increased cost and reduced the number that could be covered.
    • Work continues on the well on Burchard; a new water treatment facility will be built on that site. A second new water treatment facility will be built on Willow Street. Once these two treatment facilities are built and operational; the original facility will be closed.
  • East side project was discussed –
    • The city applied for a 3.2-million-dollar grant that would purchase homes and tear them down.
    • The HB Plastics facility was purchased by the city; they will tear it down and then it gets transferred to IDNR.
    • The plan is still to turn most of the east side of Freeport into a wetland with mowed paths that people could use for walking. Rules are constantly changing on this project. The public works director and Aaron Dinderman have talked about this project and possible SWCD involvement.
    • Looking to find landlords and spots to relocate people currently living in the Parkside apartments (behind Taylor Park School). Menard County in southern Illinois has experience and assists with this.
  • Street repairs are ongoing; currently working on Empire Street to Park Blvd and a new overlay on Burchard Street to Edwards.
  • 5 houses throughout Freeport are out for bids to be torn down.

Conservation Plans & CPO’s:  Abby

Nothing has been written; CRP is on hold.


Contribution Agreement:  Abby

New rules for CRP changed the payment for completing status reviews. Aaron is currently working on 2022 status reviews as any reviews that are 12 months from the expiration date of the contract; SWCD will not be paid for completing.


CRP Update:  Abby

Continuous CRP signup deadline is June 15.


EQIP Update:  Abby

24 applications were submitted; only 2 were funded and one of those 2 was cancelled due to zoning regulations. 22 of the 24 were forestry implementations and they do not usually rank high enough to get funded.


CSP Update:  Abby

Continuous application signup: cutoff date is May 7th for new applications.

There are 20 that are eligible to re-enroll; minor changes have been made to the practice list.


Office Remodel Update:  Abby

NRCS/SWCD side of the office is almost complete; the contractors are having some problems installing the metal door frames and the metal doors have not come in yet. Unpacking boxes is ongoing.


Programs / SWCD Updates:  Lorna/Aaron

  • Tree Sale Update – 5,950 trees and shrubs were sold; 450 trees were passed out to third grade students and poster participants. We have not seen the bill from Ogle County for the delivery so the financial re-cap will be done at the May meeting. For the first time ever 11 orders and checks were returned to customers unable to get the requested trees from the nursery.
  • Fish Sale Update – 41 people have ordered fish; 7,435 fish plus 152 pounds of flathead minnows were sold. The delivery is April 28th at 11:00. The financial re-cap will be done at the May meeting.
  • Highway Cleanup needs to be completed again.
  • CPP Projects – still waiting for bills to be turned in for the one waterway project using the FY20 funds. NO funds have been received for FY21.


Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Lorna Chezem, Aaron Dinderman, and Luke Tweeten; seconded by Matt Schlachter. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.


Informational Items:


  • Request from U of IL Extension to sponsor 4H awards for the fair. Barb Klinger made a motion to donate two 4H awards; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.
  • NACD letter acknowledging the donation.


Other Business:

  • Jim Hutchison talked about attending the Boyer Colloquium; this year’s topic was “Water, Water Everywhere”. They talked about the importance of cover crops and possibility of regulations. Discussions also included how climate change and increase emissions are impacting our extreme weather. It was pointed out that Galena/East Dubuque had received 20-year rainfalls.




Having no other business, Chairman Hutchison adjourned the meeting at 9:40 am.

Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary                      Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem.

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