environment

Terry Schuster

There’s no denying the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve is a pretty special place. Last year, the Byron Forest Preserve District acquired the gravel hill prairie that had been used for cattle grazing for decades. For one thing, Forest Preserve Executive Director Todd Tucker says it’s the second highest point in Ogle County. It has a great view of the Rock River. It’s home to endangered and threatened plants and animals, like woolly milkweed and short-eared owls.

Oh, and the largest tree in Illinois.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

One man’s prairie is another man’s patch of weeds. That’s the debate that is unfolding in DeKalb over a proposed rewrite of the city’s “weeds ordinance.”

About 20 people spoke out about native plants, property rights, and good neighbors at Thursday’s hearing of DeKalb’s Citizens Environmental Commission.

Paul Soderholm of Mt. Morris spoke about his own nature preserve in neighboring Ogle County and the benefits of native plants. He said they “support native insects, support native birds.”

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A new poll from Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had surprising results for environmentalists. 

The institute surveyed one thousand registered voters earlier this month, and 64% said they prioritized the environment as an issue.  In contrast, 27% said economic growth should come first.   The results took Illinois Environmental Council Director Jennifer Walling by surprise. 

"I have not seen a poll that so strongly prioritized environmental protection, so that is very interesting," she said. 

Rockford's New Hazardous Waste List

Nov 18, 2015
willcountygreen.com

Starting Saturday, the Hazardous Waste Site in Rockford will no longer accept latex paint due to  changes in the hazardous waste list.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that latex paints be allowed to air-dry by leaving the lid off. You also can add absorbents, such as oil dry or cat litter to the remainder content.

The Illinois State Museum

A mysterious fungus is threatening to wipe out some isolated populations of rare rattlesnakes. 

In Illinois, the fungus infects about 15 percent of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes: it kills up to 90 percent of those that contract it. There are only about 300 of the snakes in Illinois, mostly in Clinton county. The swamp rattler has also been found in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties. It was already a candidate for the federal endangered species list before the fungus was discovered. 

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