Study identifies Peoria-area wildlife corridors - Commission says habitats should be protected
(Note: This has more Language Deception bristles than a porcupine has quills. The intent is to take all the resources and property rights in this entire area and use "connectivity" to "link" it to the rest of "The Wildlands Project." Notice the mention of "watersheds" and "floodplains." Private property rights already "protects" these things without such "studies." Just look at the participants -- they consider themselves to be "major stakeholders" because they stand to gain the most Control from their ostensibly "protecting" of other people's lands, waters and resources. The participants come to Control this whole area, though they mask this greed by calling it "protection" or "management." The agenda is to steal all the natural resources that honest people have worked for, paid for and OWN -- and thereby restrict people into the planned, small, and currently being executed or put into place "smart growth" areas. Those pushing this plan have no intention of living in such crowded places, of course. They intent to live with the animals, in places where the general public and its peons may not trammel or even see. The CLOSED sign will soon follow the locked up lands, waters, closed roads, etc. That is, this will happen if folks do not understand the Language Deception and stand up to it, armed with facts and knowledge. Visit for those facts and that knowledge!)
September 12, 2005
By Elaine Hopkins, city desk reporter or 309-686-3247
The Peoria Journal Star
1 News Plaza
Peoria, Illinois 61643
To submit a Letter to the Editor:
Peoria, Illinois - Bobcats, wood thrush and other species inhabit fragile lands in the Peoria area that deserve protection from destruction by development, a new study says.

This two-year, $100,000 study of Peoria County and parts of Tazewell County, coordinated by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, resulted in the identification of six Peoria-area environmental corridors and recommendations on how to preserve them. They are:

- The Peoria to Chillicothe bluffs, steep, wooded, overlooking the Illinois River and habitat for numerous native plants and animals including the bobcat.

- East Peoria and Pekin bluffs, home to the wood thrush, snow trillum and other spring ground plants, and the Fondulac seep and its unique flora.

- Illinois River and Peoria Lakes, with bald eagles, American white pelicans, numerous fish species and the rare decurrent false aster, a flower.

- Kickapoo Creek system, running through a narrow valley of unique, fossil-bearing sedimentary rock with more than 20 species of butterflies and perhaps the rare prairie ring-neck snake.

- LaMarsh/Copperas Creek system, with oak-hickory forests in wooded ravines, home to birds such as orchard orioles and eastern bluebirds.

- Spoon River system, one of the least channelized watersheds in Illinois with cliff swallows, bats, flying squirrel, beaver, mussels and bullhead.

Hala Ahmed, a senior planner with the commission, coordinated the study with a committee of local experts, environmentalists, conservationists, government officials and citizens.

The study area included all of Peoria County and the Fondulac Park District in Tazewell County, Ahmed said.

It used high-tech mapping systems and on-the-ground observation, she said. University of Illinois experts also participated.

Once the corridors were identified, the study developed guidelines for their protection to allow only sustainable development, Ahmed said.

They include requiring storm water management, natural landscaping and floodplain and topsoil protection. For the most sensitive sections, protection includes encouragement for landowners to use conservation easements and preservation of open spaces. Local governments could incorporate these requirements into zoning and other regulations.

Committee member Mike Miller of Forest Park Nature Center said the secretive bobcats have been observed in the area for several years.

"We suspect there is probably a den close by, but I can't personally verify it. If development occurs along Mossville Road, that would basically make the (bluff corridor) habitat unsuitable for species like bobcat.

"One of the reasons Peoria is a nice place to live is the natural habitats we have here," he said, adding smart planning can preserve them.

Committee member Jan Gehring, associate professor of biology at Bradley University, said the corridors were obvious, but the study developed "solid reasons" for protecting them.

"We wanted to have a good basis for suggesting these things because we knew (some) citizens would not support the idea," she said.

"No one in the county wants to live in a biological desert. We have a very unique area. I think we would all (want) to preserve and conserve it forever, to have habitat a bobcat can live in. That's what sustainability is, to share our environment with other species."

Committee member Maury Brucker of Peoria, who is active in several conservation groups, said protecting the areas should not be controversial.

"Some are not suitable for building anyway (with) floodplains, steep, eroding slopes, places where it would be difficult to build, too costly," he said.

But committee member Rudy Habben -- of the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club -- said protecting the areas may generate controversy.

"There's a big geographic area in that study that would be off limits to development," he said.

Committee member Patrick Kirchhofer of the Peoria County Farm Bureau suggested that rules protecting sensitive land sometimes do not work well.

Prime farmland has some protection, he said, but it's being lost to development in Peoria County.

To protect natural areas and prime farmland, "redevelopment within a city (or) town should be stressed. We have too many vacant buildings (and) vacant houses that are not being used," he said.


Copyright 2005, Peoria Journal Star.