Sip n’ Sow Seed Sowing Workshop

Sip n’ Sow Seed Sowing Workshop
1st & 3rd Boutique & Wine Bar
January 12th from 6:00 to 8:00

1st & 3rd Boutique & Wine Bar has generously donated their event space. Please show your support — come early to shop, get a beverage & maybe a charcuterie board!

Event Limited to 30 Registered Participants — Fill Out  Form at Bottom of Page

It’s never too soon to think of spring! Join some adult-only fun at the Sip n’ Sow Workshop! Sip a glass of wine and sow some native flower seeds for your summer garden.  Native plants attract pollinators and serve as butterfly host plants, including many species growing on the square in Petersburg. 

The evening will kick off with a slide presentation with photos and discussion of some of the species that will be available. Participants will then use the winter sowing technique to plant native species of their choosing. Seeds, soil, tools, and some containers provided. Participants are encouraged to bring additional CLEAN plastic milk jugs if you wish to plant multiple containers. 

Alana McKean (Starhill Forest Arboretum), Cindy Andreasen (Illinois Extension Master Gardener), and Terri Treacy (Menard County Trails & Greenways) will be leading the workshop. Bring your questions about gardening with native plants and any native seeds you wish to share!

No fee but donations appreciated! And, please support 1st & 3rd — come early, shop, grab a beverage and even a bite to eat!

Questions? Email Cindy at event@menardcountytrailsandgreenways.org;   (Please don’t contact 1st & 3rd — use the email provided!)

For planning purposes registration is required.

Form submission is now closed.

Plant pollinator habitat at home

Wanting to add more pollinator habitat at home? Look no further: native plant seed packets are available again in Petersburg! You can find displays at the Petersburg Public Library, 1st and 3rd Boutique, the Talisman, and the Crazy Daisy Gift Shop. This year we are offering 13 colorful species collected from the plantings on Petersburg’s square, Historic Wayside Park and our members’ own gardens and prairies. The packets are free, but we welcome donations that support Menard County Trails & Greenways. The displays will be restocked until we run out!

Wondering how to choose? 

Check out blog posts highlighting the available species:

Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Purple Prairie Clover, Golden Alexanders

Small Yellow Wild Indigo, Butterfly Milkweed, Blue Star

Black-eyed Susan, Rattlesnake Master, Purple Coneflower

Swamp Milkweed, Sneezeweed, Aromatic aster

We’ve added one new species to the mix this year: Wild quinine. More on that species soon!

Wondering how to plant them? 

Follow the detailed planting instructions on the back of each packet, and check out this blog post with instructions on the winter sowing method. Also– watch for an announcement about upcoming winter sowing workshops where we’ll have these species and many more to share!

Riverfront Development

image of report cover
The Sangamon River shares a place in Petersburg’s rich history since the town was formed nearly 200 years ago. Its waters led to the arrival of a young Abraham Lincoln who later surveyed land that is now Petersburg. The river and the tracks along it shuttled 100,000 visitors in the 10 day mega-event each year known as Chautauqua on a site just a mile south of town in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Sangamon River was the subject of popular writings of Edgar Lee Masters as he described the beloved Sangamon River and the people who called the area home. Native Americans utilized the river for food, water and transportation. In much earlier times, it was home to mastodons and a wide variety of animal life.  Yes, the river has a rich history right here in our hometown of Petersburg.

The Sangamon is a gem, and Petersburg is fortunate to have city owned land running nearly uninterrupted along the riverfront. Although parks and recreation are two main draws for visitors and reasons why people choose a community in which to live, much of the riverfront has been unused and inaccessible to citizens and visitors. However, its natural beauty is coming to life as the city has accepted the Finding and Recommendations of the Riverfront Development Group to enhance the riverfront properties.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Route 97 Proposed Improvements–Public comments sought

If you were unable to attend last evening’s public informational meeting regarding IDOT’s Proposed Improvements to IL 97 and IL 123, you may submit your comments via snail mail or email. Comments will be accepted until July 5th.

Link to Proposal and Comment Form IL Route 97 Proposal

Your comments should include the following.

Proposed IL Route 97 & IL Route 123 Improvements
Your Name
Address
City
Telephone number
Email address
The best way to contact you (Email, Mail, Both).

Send your comments to:

Jeff Myers, PE
Region 4 Engineer
Illinois Department of Transportation 126 East Ash
Springfield, Illinois 62704-4792

or

Attention: Jay Edwards, PE
Jay.Edwards@illinois.gov

Let Our Voices Be Heard — Build a Dedicated Hike & Bike Path Linking New Salem Historic Site with Petersburg

For years Trails & Greenways has advocated for a safe hike / bike path linking New Salem State Historic Site with Petersburg. The time has arrived to ensure this goal is finally realized.

Next Tuesday, June 21 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at PORTA high school, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be hosting an open house public meeting about roadway improvements to IL 97 and IL 123 from New Salem through Petersburg.

The meeting will provide exhibits and maps  for viewing, and  IDOT representatives and consultants from the engineering firm of Thouvenot, Wade and Moerchen will be available to answer questions and gather public input about the project. 

It’s important that we show strong public support for a hike / bike path along Rte. 97. Please attend the public information meeting, and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to attend as well.

example crosswalkTrails & Greenways also advocates of a more walkable Petersburg.  We urge the  installation of two pedestrian right-of-way crosswalks along Rte. 97 at Douglas and Jackson Streets (main E/W streets downtown that cross Rte. 97). Having traffic stop for pedestrians in crosswalks will make walking in downtown Petersburg safer and more enjoyable for residents and visitors.

Trash Taskforce: Good Clean Fun

Join the Menard County Trails and Greenways (MCTG) and Petersburg Athletic Association’s (PAA) Trash Taskforce as we clean up litter around Petersburg!  We will pick up litter at several parks and spaces around town on Saturday, April 2, from 9:30 – 11am (Rain Date: April 9 or 10 – TBD).  We need your help!  Meet at Hurie Park (just east of County Market) to register and pick up supplies.  We will be clearing out litter from the parks and surrounding vacant lots.

Whether you have 30 minutes or a full hour, every little bit counts!  To thank you for helping to keep our community clean, and on a first-come, first-serve basis, we will give away a free reusable tote bag to each participating family and a free DQ coupon to every participant (while supplies last). 

With Earth Day approaching on April 22, we encourage everyone to take some time this month to clean up around your neighborhood.  Earth Day was established in 1970 and is an annual, worldwide event to raise awareness about issues affecting our land, air, and water.  

Whether you join us on April 2 or clean up litter on your own, we have some general rules of thumb to share with you:

  • Be safe!  Take precautions, including wearing sturdy gloves and being careful on river banks or near roads. Adults should handle dangerous items, and supervise children closely.
  • Properly dispose of all litter. During the clean-up on April 2, litter collected can be dropped at dumpsters at Hurie Park or the girls ball diamond.  If you clean up around your neighborhood, please dispose of the litter with your household trash.
  • Share the good news by posting a picture of your work or simply talking with friends and family about your efforts.  You may inspire others!  It takes all of us to keep our community clean.

MCTG provides public comment on City of Springfield’s amended Supplemental Water Supply Project

On July 1, 2021 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Public Notice addressing the City of Springfield’s amended Supplemental Water Supply Project. MCTG submitted the following public comment letter.

The project’s initial proposal was to build Hunter Lake Reservoir to the southeast of Springfield Lake as an auxiliary water supply. Springfield subsequently requested an additional Purpose & Need of the project to include Aquatic Recreation. Per National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is being prepared to address the addition of Purpose and Need of Aquatic Resources. Under NEPA, the SEIS must evaluate all appropriate and reasonable alternatives, including, among other things, “Use of other existing surface water reservoirs for water supply and aquatic recreation opportunities.”

When considering existing aquatic recreation opportunities, the Sangamon River should be included as an appropriate and reasonable alternative to provide aquatic recreation in central Illinois.

August 4, 2021

Regulatory Division – Mr. James Kelley
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District
Clock Tower Building
PO Box 2004
Rock Island, IL 61204-2004
 
Re: CWLP – City of Springfield
CEMVR-OD-P-2016-0095

Dear Mr. Kelly:
Menard County Trails & Greenways (MCTG) is responding to the public notice regarding the proposed Hunter Lake and the project specified above. MCTG is a non-profit organization in central Illinois that promotes the development and use of a network of land and water trails, such as the Sangamon River, for recreational purposes. 

MCTG supports the improvement of existing resources, including the Sangamon River, for local residents to participate in outdoor aquatic activities. Designated in part as the Lincoln Heritage Canoe Trail by former Governor Otto Kerner in 1965, the Sangamon is a rich historical and cultural asset to the communities in central IL. Despite its designation as the state’s first water trail, public access to the river – and its use – remains limited. Between Decatur and Oakford, IL, an approximate 100+ mile reach of river, only a handful of public access points exist. Compounding poor access are a number of unsafe low-head dams that impede recreation.
 
People want to be on the Sangamon River, evidenced by well-attended events that MCTG and other local organizations have held over the years, with permission from private landowners to access the river. MCTG hosts an annual fall paddle on the Sangamon and prior to this, the Lincoln Heritage Water Trail Association hosted an annual canoe/kayak race that drew participants from across the state. Improved and new public access points along the stretch of Sangamon that flows within the 50-mile radius anticipated to draw users to the proposed Hunter Lake would facilitate additional recreating on the Sangamon River, whether through organized events or private paddling. Enhanced public access, adequately funded and supported, would also facilitate wider appreciation of the river, thereby encouraging the conservation and sustainability of this historic river for the recreational enjoyment of generations to follow.
 
Jennifer Satorius
Vice President, Menard County Trails & Greenways

MCTG Comments on State Water Plan

kayaking on sangamon river

Last month we posted Public Access to Illinois Waterways, that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was working on the development of a revised State Water Plan, and announced the opportunity for the public to review the recommendations and provide feedback.

Menard County Trails & Greenways provided the following comments. (see below). Public feedback will be used to further develop a State Water Plan Draft Report, and public outreach meetings will be held in November 2021 to allow input to the report. We’ll keep you posted.

Dear Illinois State Water Plan Task Force,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the revised water plan for the State of Illinois. To this end, Menard County Trails and Greenways (MCTG) submits the following key priorities for consideration by the Illinois State Water Plan Task Force. MCTG is a nonprofit organization in central Illinois that promotes the development and use of a network of land and water trails that connect people to natural and cultural resources, encourages recreation, and advances the conservation of the county’s unique natural and cultural resources for the benefit of all. One important water source that our group works to protect is the Sangamon River, which flows through Menard County.

Key water plan priorities:

    • Water quality: Strengthen efforts to reduce runoff of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and road salt, which may cause significant environmental damage when found in rivers and lakes; enforce anti-littering laws.
    • Access to waterways: Support and promote the use of rivers by non consumptive and low-impact craft such as canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards. There are many not-for-profit organizations in our state that are working on creating water trails, which by definition, require access/egress points within reasonable distances for paddlers to launch and exit. Such sites do not need much infrastructure, but most importantly, permission to access the waterway.
    • Low-head dam removal: Fund low-head dam removal projects to eliminate “drowning machines” and improve the free flow of rivers, fish habitat and connected ecosystems, as well as recreational opportunities for individuals using the river to fish, paddle, boat, or simply enjoy nature.

Thank you again for the opportunity to provide input on the revised water plan. Please reach out with any questions. We look forward to learning more about the final water plan.

Jennifer Satorius
Vice President, Menard County Trails & Greenways

Public access to Illinois waterways

Illinois Department of Natural Resources working on the development of a revised State Water Plan.  The public is invited to review the recommendations by the Task Force of each critical issue and provide feedback to ensure that the project is addressing everybody’s most important water-related needs in IL. Virtual public hearings (identical) were held May 25-27 by IDNR at

https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/WaterResources/Pages/StateWaterPlanTaskForce.aspx

Prior to the Live Meetings, DNR suggest that you listen to the Recorded Summary to obtain a brief overview about each of the 13 identified critical issues. The presentation has been provided in both a video or slideshow format to allow viewing options.

Recorded Summary Video Link:  View  Download

Recorded Summary Slideshow Link:  Link

 

Eric Freyfogle, Research Professor of Law, Swanlund Chair Emeritus, University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign, IL has offered his public comments for viewing. Download his comments here.

You can use the following public survey links to provide comments and input into the State Water Plan development. Public comments can be submitted through June 18, 2021 using the survey platform or by sending comments or survey responses to the email address below. 

Public Survey: link

Email link for any comments:  dnr.owrplanning@illinois.gov