Illinois Department of Natural Resources

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, families across Illinois may be inclined to take their boats out on the water. 

Boating safety is overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which employs conservation officers in each county to conduct safety compliance checks.  Contrary to what one may expect, it is legal to drink alcoholic beverages while riding in or even operating a boat.  But Captain Laura Petreikis  says the most common accidents involve drunken operators, and it can be difficult to gauge intoxication. 

Flickr user Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / "School of Jumping Silver Carp" (CC BY 2.0)

Asian carp, an invasive species in northern Illinois, may be declining. That eases the concern of them spreading into the Great Lakes.

But the area’s not out of the woods yet.

Matt O’Hara, an Asian carp project leader for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says the carp can ruin the ecosystems in the Illinois River and its tributaries. That’s because they eat the same food that other native species – such as big-mouth bass – live on.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The window is closing on the "controlled burn" season for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In northern Illinois, crews are being forced to race against the clock.