D. 'Dewey' Pierotti, President
D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr. is the longest-serving president in Forest Preserve District history, serving since 1994.
Voters elected Pierotti to serve on the DuPage County Board for the Forest Preserve District in 1992. During his tenure, he has provided strong organizational and fiscal leadership, promoted the preservation of valuable undeveloped land, encouraged the sound management of natural resources and the development of high-quality facilities, and championed the separation of county and Forest Preserve District governing bodies.
For 13 of the last 15 years, the District has lowered the tax-levy rate while continuing to improve outdoor-recreation and nature-education opportunities for DuPage County citizens. Year after year, the District maintains its AAA-bond rating, which validates the board’s dedication to fiscal conservatism.
As president, Pierotti has also promoted two successful voter-approved land-acquisition referendums. In 1997, citizens approved a landmark $75 million referendum to acquire land for conservation-, education- and recreation-related purposes. In 2006, voters supported a $68 million referendum, which authorized the issue of general obligations bonds. The District is using funds from the 2006 referendum to acquire land, construct trails and other public-use areas, and restore natural habitats.
Under President Pierotti, the Forest Preserve District has acquired 2,776 gross acres, including three significant parcels.
St. James Farm
In 2000, the Forest Preserve District purchased 587.72 acres known as St. James Farm from the McCormick family trust. The District took possession of the property in 2007, and St. James Farm Forest Preserve opened to the public for a special weekend preview in 2008. The forest preserve contains 165 acres of undisturbed wetlands, woodlands, and prairie remnants and serves as an important link in an extensive greenway, connecting Blackwell and Warrenville Grove with Herrick Lake and Danada forest preserves.
Dunham Forest Preserve
In 2006, the District acquired one of its largest acquisitions, the 274.3-acre Dunham Forest Preserve. The District plans to restore important wetlands, protect native wildlife, and provide educational and recreational opportunities at the preserve.
Wayne Grove Forest Preserve
In 2003, the District acquired 88.4 acres contiguous with Wayne Grove Forest Preserve. Today, the land remains an undeveloped natural area.
Also under President Pierotti, the District has participated in several cooperative agreements.
West Branch of the DuPage River Valley Restoration Project
In 2005, the Forest Preserve District, DuPage County, Warrenville, West Chicago and the West Chicago Park District signed an agreement with Tronox for the cleanup and restoration of Kress Creek and the West Branch of the DuPage River. As part of the agreement, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration issued a $10 million grant to enhance clean-up efforts and expand restoration work throughout the river valley. To date, the Forest Preserve District has improved significant wildlife habitats along the river from upland communities down to the river channel with more work to be accomplished.
Commonwealth Edison Company Conservation Agreement
In 2004, the District and Commonwealth Edison adopted a historic conservation agreement. A first of its kind, this natural-ecosystem lease allows the District to manage a natural area in Bartlett, which is owned by three separate entities.
James “Pate” Philip State Park Visitor Center
In 2006, the Forest Preserve District partnered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Bartlett Park District to share operational costs for James “Pate” Philip State Park Visitor Center and related programming.
President Pierotti also worked to change state law to allow for an independent Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners. As a result, in 2002, the Forest Preserve District officially separated from the county. No longer would DuPage County elected officials encounter conflict by needing to support both county development and the Forest Preserve District’s mission of conservation, education and recreation. Today, the District’s seven-member Board of Commissioners acts solely as steward of the county’s forest preserves, translating open-space needs into ordinances designed to protect natural areas.
D. “Dewey” Pierotti graduated from DePaul University, earning a Juris Doctorate degree from the university’s College of Law. He has practiced law for over 40 years and lives with his wife in Addison. Through his service to the organization, he has formed many relations with DuPage County’s residents and conservation-based organizations alike.