The Glenmore Woods Homeowners Association announced an assessment increase. The Glenmore Woods board has been able to achieve a reserve equal to nearly one year of operating income over the last 11 years, whereas 11 years ago we had nothing in reserves. We have taken a very conservative approach to building up reserves without any special assessments or unreasonable increases in monthly assessments. This reserve is essential to protecting the interests of our community from unforeseen events.
The assessment will increase by $15/month starting in March 2016, to a new total of $215/month. Assessments have not risen since 2008. The $15 increase equates to 7.5%, or under 1% per year since that time, and will cover the rising cost of expenses.
Our budget is completely transparent, and while our homeowners association meetings are sparsely populated, we trust that our website communicates clearly our vision and direction for Glenmore Woods to continue thriving as a desirable neighborhood with increasing homeowner value.
We are at a point where the Glenmore Woods Homeowners Association is able to make a very positive impact on our community beyond just building up reserves. Specifically, we are able to move forward with a process to eradicate the buckthorn that has been an invasive species on our property for years and is killing the forestation that is an appealing and valuable feature of our subdivision.
We were initially looking at three areas in Glenmore Woods to start with. These are identified as areas 1, 2 & 3.
Each area would treated by four phases outlined below. We selected the following sites as potential areas because due to the atheistic appeal it could bring, as well as the safety implications especially for areas 2 and 3. The safety implications are noted due to the lack of illumination at night due to the over growth of buckthorn blocking illumination from street lights and homes.
Process for clearing buckthorn in areas 2 & 3
Clearing: Clearing a site of all invasive trees and shrubs is almost always the first step to restoring a site. Sites that have not been managed over the years will always have woody invasive growth, most commonly buckthorn and honeysuckle, shading out the herbaceous layer. These species both block out sunlight, which does not allow any other plants or trees to grow, as well as become so dense that it renders the area unusable.
There are a few different methods to clearing a site of unwanted trees and shrubs. One of these is using a forestry mower. Although this method may seem economical up front, we believe that the long-term damage this method does to a site is significant. A forestry mower demolishes all trees and shrubs in its path. Shattered stumps are covered up by wood shards, making it nearly impossible to herbicide stumps, which is crucial to ensure that trees do not resprout. All debris is left on site which creates a thick layer of debris, forming a barrier blocking sunlight from hitting the soil and causing subsequent controlled burns to burn excessively hot. All of these actions are counterproductive to the restoration process. It is Native Restoration Services’ (NRS) opinion that all clearing should be done mechanically with chainsaws and brush saws and that each stump should be treated with an appropriate herbicide, effectively killing it. Following cutting, debris will be burned on site, in brush piles. Clearing in this manner will effectively control and get rid of unwanted trees and shrubs while minimally impacting the site itself. This will be done in the winter between January/February 2016.
Stewardship: Stewardship is the process of maintaining a natural area over time. This is an ongoing process that will always be necessary for the long-term health of your natural areas. Stewardship encompasses cutting, pulling and herbiciding services to ensure that your natural areas remain in good condition. There will always be unwanted weeds in and around natural areas; however, keeping them at bay is possible. In the early years of restoration, this will be a time consuming and daunting process. As time goes on, and burning and seeding become effective, the amount of time need to steward a site will diminish. It is crucial that the people performing these tasks are trained to distinguish between native and alien plants and that all personnel involved in herbicide activities do so safely and legally.
We will provide cutting, pulling and herbiciding services to ensure that your natural areas remain in good condition. Our employees are trained to distinguish between native and alien plants and all personnel performing herbicide activities possess an Illinois Herbicide Operator or Applicator license. Stewardship is performed in the Spring/Summer, 5 times a year for the first year. Typically 3 times a year in subsequent years.
Controlled Burn: Prescribed burning can be one of the single most effective/economic tools of restoration. Native species evolved with regular fire events while newly arrived invasive weed species have not. Fire helps the native vegetation thrive while killing or suppressing many invasive weed species. Timing is everything with burns. There are typically two burn seasons every year, spring and fall. These are the times of the year when weather conditions are most favorable to prescribed burning. Woodland/Savannas are typically burned in fall and prairies in the spring; however, this rule is not set in stone. With uncertainty of when the weather will be appropriate for burning, we encourage you to complete burns whenever possible, spring or fall.
Fire can also be a very dangerous restoration tool. A prescribed burn should always be supervised by a prescribed burn manager and completed by experienced personnel. Proper equipment is crucial in keeping a fire under control and putting a fire out when necessary. Wind speed, wind direction, temperature and humidity should always be monitored before and during a prescribed burn. Necessary burn breaks must be in place to prevent the fire from spreading. Fuel (leaves and grasses) should be removed from around desirable trees and shrubs and also away from any potential hazards i.e. downed trees, woodchip, brush piles, electrical wires, etc… Proper permits, signage, PPE and notification should always be obtained prior to any burning activities.
Native Restorations burn crew personnel are graduates of the Chicago Wilderness Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn training program. Led by an Illinois Certified Burn Manager, our crew leaders have more than three decades experience performing prescribed burns throughout the Chicago region. Native Restoration Services carries $2,000,000 in liability insurance specifically covering prescribed burn activities. We will secure all necessary permits for this work, notify neighbors and post roadway signs during the burn. The controlled burn would be scheduled the fall after the clearing.
Seeding: Planting new native grasses and flowers will invigorate your woodlands and fill in areas that are currently bare. We will broadcast a special native woodland/savanna mix tailored to your sites specific light, moisture and soil conditions. An important caveat with any native seeding is the fact that native plants are primarily perennials that, when young, spend most of their energy establishing a deep root system that will enable the plant to survive summer drought and a long cold winter. Grasses mature more quickly, but forbs may take from 2 to 4 years to mature and flower. Patience is essential! Chickory and Queen Anne’s lace are examples of native noninvasive plants. Seeding would occur in the Fall/Winter after clearing has been completed.
Reigate Woods is a good example of what native restoration can look like in a Homeowners Association like Glenmore Woods. Native Restorations highly recommends the book Miracle under the oaks to describe the native restoration process.
After Ryan and Larry finished the presentation and answering lots of questions, they excused themselves.