1) How were these maps created?
The maps were created using a piece of software called ESRI ® ArcMap 9.0. ArcMap enables the user to make use of a Geographic Information System, or GIS. In the simplest terms, GIS allows the creation of numerous “layers” which can be displayed concurrently to portray whatever the user desires. Each layer contains one attribute. For instance, on the maps on the following pages, one layer is used to display the Township Open Space District property boundaries, another is used to display the agricultural land within those properties, and yet another is used to display the topographical lines. In this inventory, the layers were overlaid on two aerial photographs, taken respectively in April of 2005 and during July and August of 1939. Future changes to any map or group of maps (the month and year each map was produced can always be found at the lower right hand corner of the page) will utilize the most recent aerial photographs available. The Lake County Department of Information & Technology, GIS & Mapping Division, typically releases a new aerial map of the county every one to two years approximately eight to nine months after the original photos are taken.
2) What are the three types of land ownership represented on the maps?
The Township’s interest in each property was divided into three categories. The first, and by far the most extensive, is fee simple. Fee simple is a term used to describe property the Township owns independent of any other entity. This is the same type of ownership a homeowner typically has on the land where his or her residence is built.
The second type of interest is a conservation easement. The holder of a conservation easement does not own the property, but does own the development rights to the property, and is responsible by law of ensuring that the site remains open and undeveloped. The owner of such an easement should make at least annual visits to the site to inspect the area and ensure that no unauthorized development has taken place. Such development extends to something as seemingly mundane as constructing a fence. Conservation easements are normally perpetual, and are passed on along with the deed if the property is ever sold.
The third type of interest defined in this document is fee simple, easement held by Corlands. This is a combination of the two previously described interest types. On these properties, the Township owns the land fee simple, but the land is subject to a conservation easement held by the Corporation for Open Lands (CorLands), and as such that organization must be advised and its approval obtained if the Township wishes to make any changes to these parcels. Actual development of such land is prohibited by the very nature of the easement.
The southern section of the Butterfield Road site is owned fee simple by the Township, but there is also a deed restriction on the property preventing it from being developed, much akin to a Conservation Easement.
3) Why does the Inventory not include information on all of the Township holdings, such as Lindholm Park?
This document only examines land held as part of the Township Open Space District. Other Township holdings, such as the Township campus or Lindholm Park are not included, because they are not an official part of the Open Space District.
4) Why have parcels of land purchased by the Township been grouped together?
Certain parcels were grouped together for mapping and management purposes in order to provide a more workable reference and enable efficient management procedures.
5) How accurate are the acreages provided in this inventory?
All acreages shown are taken from the plat maps drawn up when the property was first purchased unless otherwise noted. In the instances where this information was not explicitly provided or could not be derived from the information that was present, a notation is shown on the text page of the site and an estimation was made. The acreage of all parcels was rounded down to the third decimal place when a fourth was provided. Therefore calculations made on a price per acre using the numbers provided are sometimes slightly off.
6) What is the difference between Gross Acres and Net Acres?
Gross acreage is the total area of the property as described in its legal description. Net acreage describes the land that has not been taken for public transportation needs, such as public roads or rail. For instance, all of the Township land along Casey Road legally extends halfway out into the road itself. If a property is to be sold at a certain price per acre, the calculation will always use the net acreage. Unless otherwise noted, all maps use the net acreage figures, as this provides a more realistic interpretation of the property that can truly be considered as part of the Open Space District. It should be noted that this differs from the customary convention used by most other land preservation organizations and agencies.
7) Why does the wetlands layer sometimes seem to cover houses and roads?
The wetlands layer was created by Lake County GIS using aerial photographs from 1982 through 1989 in addition to other reference material required by the delineation standard. Some wetlands that have since been destroyed by construction are still represented. In addition, the layer is an educated guess as to conditions on the ground, and was never meant to be definitive. Prior to commencing work in an area shown to be a wetland, a professional wetland delineation should always be performed to determine the true extent of the wetlands present.
8) Why do agricultural areas sometimes overlay wetlands?
Historically, it has been a common practice to farm wetlands. This sometimes requires artificially draining the wetlands through trenching or drain tiles. These farmed wetlands provide opportunities for future wetland restorations similar to those accomplished at the Casey Road (North and South) and Butterfield Road sites. In addition, under Libertyville Township’s Farm Program developed in 2002, wetlands may be taken out of production and buffer strips installed to better protect the wetland resources.
9) Why are the property lines sometimes shown as jagged when they should be straight lines?
The property lines of the Township parcels were derived from a GIS layer provided by Lake County GIS. It displays property lines for the entire county, township by township. The methods used to transform this information into a GIS layer results in a situation wherein property lines sometimes appear to be jagged.
10) Why are the topographic lines for the Atkinson Road and O’Plaine Road properties labeled in 5 foot increments, while the other maps are labeled in 2 foot increments?
The area of the Des Plaines River watershed within Lake County was the subject of a major watershed study developed through a partnership between the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. As part of this study, a GIS layer of contour data at a two foot interval was developed, and later provided to the Liberty Prairie Conservancy who allowed it to be used for this project. Most of the properties in which the Township has an interest lie within this watershed, but both the Atkinson Road site and part of the O’Plaine Road site lie within the adjacent Chicago River watershed. Lake County GIS has recently completed a refined 2’ topographic layer that covers the entire County. If increased accuracy is at some future point deemed necessary, this layer can be purchased from the County and incorporated into future maps.
11) What is the Liberty Prairie Reserve?
The Liberty Prairie Reserve is a cooperative land protection effort of public and private landowners. It consists of 5,800 acres of land of which over 3,200 acres have been protected by fee simple acquisition by the Lake County Forest Preserve District and Libertyville Township as well as the use of conservation easements and deed restrictions by public and private bodies. As a network of protected properties that include farmland, private residences, and publicly owned open space, the Reserve is home to 29 threatened or endangered plant and animal species and encompasses three Illinois Nature Preserves (and their attendant buffers), which provide the state’s highest level of legal protection for ecologically significant land. It also includes eleven major residential subdivisions and over seventeen miles of public and private trails. This rolling natural landscape, including moraines, outwash terraces and kettle holes, is an unmistakable creation of ice age glaciation. In addition, the Reserve contains most of the Bull’s Brook sub watershed, a branch of the Des Plaines River watershed, thus providing a superb opportunity for significant protection of and research on water quality and hydrology.