Illinois Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries administrator Rob Miller will present a pond management workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Dale DeYoung's pond at 3528 E. 3000N Road (Armour Road) east of Bradley.
The program is sponsored by the Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District, IDNR and Logan Hollow Fish Farm. Miller will also discuss fish species selection, stocking rates, aquatic plant control and other pond management topics and will answer questions after the demonstration.
Please RSVP by phoning Emily Janes at the SWCD office at 815-937-8940 ext. 3 or email Emilie.Janes@il.nacdnet.net.
SWCD pond fish sale
The Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District's fall pond stocking fish sale is underway, with orders due Sept. 7 and the pick-up day scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at the SWCD office at 685 Larry Power Road, Bourbonnais. Grass carp orders are due by Aug. 24.
For order forms, call the SWCD office at 815-937-8940 ext. 101, or visit the website www.kankakeecountyswcd.org. Pond fish also may be ordered from other area county SWCDs.
The Potawatomi Paddlers Association will meet at 7 p.m. today at the Shannon Bayou picnic pavilion on Waldron Road in Aroma Park.
The meeting had originally been planned for Momence Island Park, but had to be rescheduled due to conflicts with the annual Momence Gladiolus Festival.
The PPA was formed in support of the new Kankakee River National Water Trail, a National Park Service entity on the river in Illinois and Indiana.
Monee Kayak Kollege
The Forest Preserve District of Will County will offer a "Kayak Kollege" for beginners, ages 12 or older, at 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21 at Monee Reservoir.
The fee is $50 per person. Particapants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a registered adult.
The program will be led by U.S. Canoe Association/American Canoe Association certified instructors, who will introduce participants to kayaking on flat water.
Specific instruction and safety topics will be covered on shore. Paddle strokes are demonstrated and the variety of kayak types discussed. Wet exits are demonstrated by instructors on the water. The last half-hour of the program is open to allow participants to try other kayaks in the fleet.
No previous experience is required.
Registration is required two days in advance by phoning 708-534-8499. Private lessons also may be arranged by phone.
All equipment including life jackets is provided. Be sure to wear clothes and shoes that can get wet, and consider bringing sunscreen, sunglasses and a water bottle.
The launch area is easily accessible by a paved sidewalk trail from the parking lot. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service to participate in this program should mention their request when registering, or submit a request online no later than 48 hours before the program.
Kankakee Sands workday
A volunteer workday of removing invasive plant species from restoration plantings at The Nature Conservancy's Kankakee Sands will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday.
Meet at the sands office at 3294 N U.S. Route 41, north of Morocco, Ind.
Volunteers will be removing plants such as common teasel, sweet clover, and/or spotted knapweed. Depending on soil conditions, volunteers will either pull plants by hand or use machetes to chop the plants at ground level.
For more information or to RSVP, contact Tony Capizzo for more information and to RSVP, email@example.com.
Will County restoration
Groundbreaking was held Monday, Aug. 6, for a $5 million restoration project underway at two Will County preserves that will blossom in the years to come with hundreds of acres of restored prairie and enhanced conditions for threatened and endangered species.
This transformation is part of an aquatic ecosystem restoration project being undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of Will County.
Groundbreaking for the work was held at Prairie Bluff Preserve in Crest Hill. The work will enhance and protect two preserves that are linked by underground water flow — Prairie Bluff and the nearby Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve in Lockport Township.
Lockport Prairie, which is situated along the Des Plaines River, features wet and wet-mesic dolomite prairie, which are among the most critically imperiled natural communities on Earth. As a result of this unique geological setting, the preserve is home to several federal and state threatened and endangered species.
“With this restoration project, we will improve and protect both of these important preserves for generations to come,” said Forest Preserve Board President Suzanne Hart.
Before the Forest Preserve acquired the two preserves, the 319-acre Lockport Prairie site served as a flood control area for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the 476-acre Prairie Bluff was a prison farm for the nearby Stateville Correctional Center.
“We’re excited to work with the Corps on this restoration and continue to manage and transition these sites for the benefit of all,” said Forest Preserve Board Vice President Annette Parker.
Initially, the Army Corps will spend $2.5 million to replace agricultural fields with native prairie species at Prairie Bluff, remove invasive species at Lockport Prairie, use prescribed burning to keep the prairies healthy, and restore the underground water system at Prairie Bluff so it flows unimpeded under Illinois Route 53 to Lockport Prairie.
The Army Corps expects to spend up to $5 million at the site to maintain the health of the preserves over the next five years.
Park history hikes
Newly-established history hikes will start this weekend at Kankakee River State Park. They will be held at 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays and will be conducted by seasonal conservation educator Kelly Holem.
The hikes will focus on the geology of the park, plus "a lot of cultural history" focusing on Native Americans of the area and early settlers.
Meet at the Visitor Center, just inside the main park entrance off Illinois Route 102. The two-mile hikes will be held on Rock Creek Trail. Come prepared with bottled water, appropriate footwear, sunscreen and bug spray.
Kankakee River State Park programs for youth and others will be offered at the Visitor Center, which will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Monday, but will be closed Tuesday-Wednesday.
The center will feature interactive displays that focus on what the park has to offer.
Nature activities for kids will be available, with "Turtle Time" at 1 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. Meet and mingle with the park's resident box turtles. Learn about the diet and behaviors of these creatures while assisting with their daily feeding.
Creek walk for kids
Thorn Creek Nature center at Park Forest will conduct a "Creek Walk for Kids" program 1-3 p.m. Sunday, when children ages 6-12 will be led in exploring the creek, taking measurements and doing experiments to learn some of the properties of water.
Then participants will walk the waters of the creek and observe what lives there, discovering how many of these organisms transform to live on the land. Wear old clothes and boots. Participate in a one-mile hike on natural surface trails across uneven and possibly muddy terrain.
Registration is required by calling 708-747-6320 by Friday. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service to participate also should phone.
Deer feeding mulled
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is reviewing legislation that would test feeding the state’s deer, which some say could help the animals better fight off illnesses while others argue it could spread disease.
The bill under review would launch a five-year experiment to test how feeding Illinois deer affects the wild herd’s health, the Chicago Tribune reported. The study would lift the 15-year-old rule that makes it illegal to feed deer.
Dr. Clifford Shipley, a newly retired University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine professor, said the study’s feed formula would help deer thrive. The nutritional feed is infused with proteins, vitamins and minerals.
“Instead of you going to McDonald’s every day and having three Big Macs and fries, it would be like sending you to a health-food place where you’re going to get a balanced diet,” Shipley said. “It’s there to make the deer healthy.”
Opponents of the study fear that feeding stations could attract large gatherings of animals and spread a variety of diseases, including chronic wasting disease. The fatal disease wrecks a deer’s nervous system and is present the animal’s saliva, urine and feces.
“It opens the door to statewide devastation of the deer herd, and no one knows the human or livestock implications,” said Brent Manning, former director of the Illinois DNR. “This is the biggest wildlife bungle the General Assembly could possibly make.”
Rauner has until the end of the month to decide whether to approve the measure.
Open space grants
Now through Oct. 1, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for grants through the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The programs are for local government acquisition and development of land for open space properties.
Consult the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov for more information or call the IDNR Grants main line at 217-782-7481.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources proposing changes in regulations regarding materials that can be used to construct waterfowl hunting blinds at public hunting sites for the 2019-20 period.
The changes are intended to reduce debris in waterways and adjacent property when blinds deteriorate or are destroyed by flood, ice and other natural occurrences.
Materials such as metal and plastic fencing, metal panels, roofing materials, and metal poles can litter waterways and create hazards for boaters, anglers, and other site users that can cause damage or injury.
The proposed challenges have been submitted to the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
Zero Extinction zone
Brazil has established itself as a world leader in biodiversity protection, becoming the first nation in the world to adopt the global Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) framework to identify and map sites holding the last known populations of highly threatened species.
The Ministry of Environment of Brazil published an ordinance in July 2018 recognizing AZE sites as an official tool to implement national policies for protection of the country's threatened species.
Brazil is home to nearly 150 critical sites that are together the last frontiers for more than 200 endangered species. “The main goal is to put a spotlight on the last refuges of the most threatened species in Brazil,” explained Ugo Eichler Vercillo, director of species conservation and management for the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil. “It will help to promote the integration of public policies and private actions at these sites.”
Called the Brazilian Alliance for Zero Extinction (BAZE), the initiative was inspired by the global AZE, which comprises over 90 non-governmental biodiversity conservation organizations and engages with governments, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and others to identify and effectively conserve the most important sites in the world for preventing imminent species extinctions.