Planning and Advocacy
Sometimes working to keep nature alive and well in Lake County requires more than just preserving individual pieces of land and encouraging the careful stewardship of individual properties. So when there are opportunities at a larger scale for people and organizations to work together to make things better for Lake County's land and water, we're ready to lead and participate in cooperative planning efforts.
We are also ready to be a voice for land and water when public policies, decisions, or projects will have a sweeping impact on land and water that will in turn impact the health of communities and wildlife.
Conserve Lake County has a vested interest in the proposed Route 53 extension since the path of the disputed highway will run through ecologically significant areas in the Liberty Prairie Reserve. The Liberty Prairie Reserve consists of approximately 5,000 acres in the heart of Lake County between Libertyville, Grayslake, Gurnee, and Waukegan. Through cooperative efforts including work by Conserve Lake County, nearly 3,400 acres of publicly and privately owned open land within the Reserve have been legally protected. Read more about the Liberty Prairie Reserve
In 2012 there was an agreement of the Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on a state-of-the-art environmentally responsible parkway of no more than four lanes. At the time of the agreement, we co-authored a statement to the Council with the following concerns:
"Building the Route 53 Extension and Route 120 Bypass, even under the best environmental design and implementation measures, will certainly impact existing plant, animal, and human communities that lie within the two-mile impact zone of the proposed road corridor. Given this reality, and in order to prevent as much harm as possible to these communities Conserve Lake County, Lake County Audubon, and Openlands have identified the following issues that need addressing. These issues fall into five categories:
A. Critical natural resource protection and enhanced trail connections
B. Significant funding commitment for open land acquisition and ecological restoration in resource-rich areas of corridor.
C. Establishment of a perpetual funding source for ongoing stewardship needs and stormwater management.
D. Development and adoption of comprehensive land use plan for the transportation corridor by all of the government entities in the area
E. Guarantee the natural resource protection elements of the plan through legislative authorization, deed restrictions and conservation easements."