The following includes more information on hidden documents from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Natural Heritage and Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) in several USDA Forest Service project files were uncovered through a formal and lengthy Freedom of Information Act request process. In these documents IDNR and INPC biologists express their outright objections to Shawnee logging projects complete with scientific rationale and lengthy literature citations.
One particular project, Bean Ridge in Alexander County contains two of only 40 rare large tracts of contiguous, mature deciduous forests remaining in Illinois. The biologists clearly state their objections to this project and how flawed the Forest Service's rationale for the project was and the process the FS employed to circumvent any further environmental review. Even though the FS is required to consult with the biologists, agency staff blatantly ignored the IDNR Natural Heritage and INPC biologists' stated concerns. The attached PDF contains an excerpt from their 30-page Response. The document Summary is included in the excerpt and very succinctly states the objections the biologists have regarding the project. The Bean Ridge Project was being actively logged late last fall.