Core Lands are the identified lands within the Millennium Reserve boundary that have high natural quality and represent the significant natural communities that were once widespread in this region. These lands may be Illinois Natural Area Inventory (INAI) sites, designated Nature Preserves, Land and Water Reserves, or important habitat for endangered, threatened, or rare species.
Core Lands will be managed to promote the highest quality, best functioning, and most diverse natural communities as possible, given constraints of the landscape and history. Core Lands will be managed to perpetuate the type and quality of the component community types. Monitoring protocols will be developed to assure uniform assessment of the natural features on a regular schedule, and the data will be maintained for long-term tracking.
Management will include:
- Restoring historically natural processes or their effects, e.g. hydrology, flooding, fire, etc.
- Restoring historic biodiversity to the greatest extent practicable through invasive species removal, supplemental planting, reintroduction of species, etc.
- Controlling invasive species through mechanical, chemical and biological means.
- Preventing invasion of harmful species (plants, animals, other) through vigilance, rapid response, and education.
- Protecting and defending the boundaries of vulnerable areas.
- Containing, removing, or neutralizing remnant or new chemicals or other potentially harmful substances. This work will be performed in accordance with the Ecotoxicology Protocol and the Calumet Area Ecological Management Strategy
- Monitoring and reporting on status of natural communities and species.
- Scientific surveys and research
- Planning and management to address climate change issues
Recreation will be limited to low impact activities, including but not limited to hiking/walking on trails, bird watching, wildlife watching, botanizing, photography, canoeing, kayaking. Hunting and fishing opportunities may be limited, but available at some sites.
Core Lands could be used for scientific research and monitoring programs. Interpretation for visitors would provide added educational benefit. Signs could interpret natural, historical, and cultural themes. Some limited use as outdoor classrooms could be compatible if class size is small (<10).
Owners and managers of Core Areas can develop a list of desired research needs. A clearinghouse of all Millennium Reserve research needs will be maintained. A communication network with schools, universities and intern programs will be established to connect potential researchers with identified research needs. This work will build upon the existing research agendas developed by Chicago Wilderness and the City of Chicago’s Nature and Wildlife Commission.
- Preservation of biodiversity at the genetic, individual and community levels.
- Current management regimes, and management plans.
- Other easements, commitments by owners, etc.
- Hazardous materials and possible management limitations.
- Conflicting landscape and zoning issues.