The Public Lands Management Program was created in September 2005 to assist in preparing and recommending policies to guide the acquisition and management of public lands, both environmental and recreational.
The creation of the Program is a direct result of Lake County voters approving a public land referendum on Nov. 2, 2004. The referendum approved a one-third millage for the County to issue $36 million in bonds for the acquisition and improvement of land to protect drinking water, improve water quality of rivers and lakes, protect open space and provide recreation areas.
Properties were evaluated based on 13 criteria established for the program. The criteria include:
- Significant area of documented high recharge rates
- Water bodies or wetlands capable of protecting natural floodplain functions and preventing or reducing flood damage
- Aquifers, springs and/or significant geological features are present
- Potential for water resource enhancement
- Protects, maintains or enhances populations of listed species
- Protects one or more biological communities
- Maintains or enhances natural systems corridors
- Connects two or more otherwise unconnected conservation lands
- Potential for resource based public use opportunities, including, but not limited to, Greenways, Blueways and trails
- Connects two or more otherwise unconnected Greenways, Blueways, parks, public facilities or trails
- Multiple use potential for resource based and user-oriented recreational facilities and programs
- Contributes to green space, scenic vistas or acts as development buffers
- Contains significant historical, archeological and/or cultural sites
The list encompasses three areas of primary concern: enhancing water resources, protecting environmentally sensitive lands and providing potential recreational lands.