Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Guy Sternberg

In the 1800s, Illinois’ oak forests once accounted for 60 percent of the state’s tree population. Today, they comprise only 5 percent and are being supplanted by native maple trees and several invasive species.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

A new report details urban flooding problems in Illinois.  The report from the Department of Natural Resources says damage from urban flooding (flooding on higher ground outside a flood plain) cause more than $2 billion worth of damage between 2007-2014 in Illinois.

Credit Little_brown_bat;_close-up_of_nose_with_fungus,_New_York,_Oct._2008._(5765048289).jpg

Illinois wildlife officials say a fungal disease that's killed millions of bats in the U.S. has turned up in Adams, Carroll and Pike counties.  

 That brings to 11 the number of counties where white-nose syndrome has been confirmed since it was first found in Illinois two years ago.  

Named for the white fungus that appears on the animals' noses, the disease was first detected in New York in 2006. It's extremely lethal, killing 90 percent or more of hibernating bats in some caves.  

Illinois Issues

Documents show Illinois has a nearly $130,000 contract with a Chicago engineering firm to evaluate the closed, taxpayer-owned Eagle Creek Resort on Lake Shelbyville.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises ( ) newspapers reports Globetrotters Engineering Corp. will take a look at what it could cost to make repairs and reopen the resort. That includes evaluating the condition of floors and the potential cost of upgrading electrical systems.  

The company's contract with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources lasts through September.  

An osprey in flight
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Ospreys, brought to Illinois as part of a project to restore the endangered hawk species, have flown the coop for warmer climates. But those working with the birds hope to see them return to the state in the near future. 

Back On The Bobcat Hunt

Jan 16, 2015
public domain

 A state senator is still smarting from former Governor Pat Quinn's last minute veto of a proposal to once again allow bobcat hunting in Illinois. The senator says he's going to try again now that Quinn's out of office.

In a press release issued on one of his final days as governor, Quinn's office said he vetoed the bobcat hunting measure because it violated the state's responsibility to protect wildlife.


Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed a bill that would have allowed bobcat
hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years.
 Quinn says allowing hunting would violate a responsibility to maintain Illinois
wildlife, noting that the population only recently rebounded enough to be
removed from the threatened species list.
 He says bobcats are ``a valuable part of Illinois' ecosystem and continue to
need protection.''


Deer can be more than a nuisance. They can be dangerous when they venture on to roads.  

Illinois saw a one percent drop in the number of crashes in 2013,but there were still over 15-thousand accidents.  There was also a slight increase in injuries from those collisions and six people died.

Madison and Cook County led the way in the number of deer-vehicle accidents with well over 400 each.

Jamey Dunn 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

  A recent change in regulatory rules meant to encourage fracking well operators to recycle wastewater in drought-stricken Texas could be contributing to a newly detected threat to public health.


Supporters of high-volume oil and gas extraction said Wednesday that they'll seek dozens of changes in proposed rules to govern the practice in Illinois that appear to violate a hard-won compromise between industry and environmentalists.  

A coalition of industry groups will outline more than 65 areas of concern to a legislative panel that must decide whether the rules _ written by the Department of Natural Resources to implement a new hydraulic fracturing law _ can take effect as written, said Mark Denzler vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.  

wikimedia commons

  Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

Illinois Issues: Threatened

Jul 1, 2014
Peregrine Falcon
WUIS/Illinois Issues

State updating endangered species list. Bird of prey may be relieved of the distinction.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  Lawmakers are giving up on an attempt to override state regulators in order to jumpstart fracking in Illinois. But they still say Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is dragging its feet on a potential economic boom.

It's been a  year since hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, was approved in Illinois. The law was hard-fought, but in the end, industry and environmental interest groups signed off.

  Environmentalists in central Illinois are calling for tougher regulations on the coal industry. They say coal companies are using land to profit, then leaving residents with a mess.

Director of the Sierra Club's Illinois Chapter Jack Darin acknowledges the regulations the state already has in place. He says the problem is Illinois' lax enforcement of those laws against coal companies.

"Unless they're held accountable for these actions, then what good are the strongest regulations that the state can write?" he said.


  Hunters and trappers could harvest bobcats, under a measure that got approval from the Illinois House.

Hunting bobcats has been illegal in Illinois for decades.

But now that Department of Natural Resources numbers show the population growing, especially in southern and western parts of the state, Rep. Wayne Rosenthal wants that ban lifted.

His plan passed the House 91 to 20. Rosenthal, a Republican from Morrisonville, says his critics ask:

"Why do you want to get rid of these pretty, little kitties?"

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

The Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources wants to add black bears, gray wolves and cougars to the state's list of protected species. But there is disagreement on how much protection should be given when there is a safety concern.

On November 20, 2013, a family near Morrison, Ill. asked state conservation police officers to kill a cougar found hiding under a building on their land.

A modest but perceptible uptick in the number of wolves roaming in from Wisconsin has forced Illinois to begin considering the possibility that permanent wolf populations could take hold.  

Illinois' wolves were hunted to extinction 150 years ago. But since a first confirmed sighting in 2002, wolf sightings have gone from rare to regular. There have been at least five the last three years.  
Nearly all are thought to have come from Wisconsin, which has more than 800 wolves.  


UPDATE: Authorities say a 30-year-old Ohio man was shot and killed after he allegedly pinned an Illinois State Police trooper with his vehicle during a traffic stop.  

He was identified as Shane David Cataline of Toledo, Ohio. Illinois State Police said an autopsy was conducted Saturday. The results were not immediately available.  

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Dept. of Natural Resources employees have discussed adding cougars to the list of protected species in Illinois.

But in a phone interview with WUIS, IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said currently "it’s up to the landowner” to decide whether a potentially threatening animal should be put down.  

That's what transpired Wednesday near Morrison, Ill., when a woman and her husband reportedly spotted the large male cougar hiding under their corn crib and asked Conservation Police to dispatch the cat.


Illinois environmental officials say it will be at least a year until the start of hydraulic fracturing in the state.  
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports ( ) new state regulations for the practice are nearly complete.  

That's according to Marc Miller, the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  
But Miller says it will take months before permits are issued. That's because the state still needs to hold public hearings and collect comments.  

Lipinski Wants Quarry Blast Investigated

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski has asked for a federal investigation into a quarry blast this week in suburban Chicago.

Lipinski has asked the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to investigate the blast. It happened Monday at a company in McCook.  

The congressman says he was in his Western Springs kitchen when his house shook for five seconds.  
Lipinski says he wants to know if any laws or regulations were violated.  

Prehistoric Fish Gets Second Chance In Illinois

Sep 30, 2013

A fearsome fish whose roots date back 120 million years is getting a second chance in Illinois waterways.  
The alligator gar had been found as far north as Beardstown within the past century. But the last known catch was in 1966 in Cairo and Illinois officials declared in 1994 that it no longer swam state rivers.  
The (Springfield) State Journal Register reports Sunday that's changed in recent years with efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the predator that has inhabited the Mississippi River for three million years.  

ATV Riders Will Begin Paying Registration Fee

Sep 25, 2013

Owners of all-terrain vehicles in Illinois will be paying a bit more for having the off-road conveyance.

Illinois state parks are starting to see money from a $2 surcharge on Illinois license plate renewals.  
The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports ( that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is using the money to reduce a $750 million maintenance backlog. Motorists had to start paying the surcharge this year after last year's DNR Sustainability Bill was approved.