Ameren to finish cleanup at gas plant site by December

Ameren Illinois plans to finish removing toxins from the site of its old manufactured gas plant in Champaign by next month.

Project manager Brian Martin said crews in November and December will be removing coal tar from a 200 feet by 25 feet strip of land at the gas plant site at Fifth and Hill streets.

Letter from Birdland: Devil's Lake: A hiker's paradise

In Birdland, we're on the cusp of fall, and the west wind blows hot and cold. Today was hot, while yesterday's wind had a pleasant chill.

I'm still thinking about the hiking we did last weekend, and I promised to tell you about the trails we took.

Rob Kanter/Environmental Almanac: Bats before White-Nose Syndrome

Sometimes human behavior degrades the natural world over longish spans of time, as in the case of climate change. Other times, things we do wreak ecological havoc much more rapidly, as when we transport plants, animals and pathogens from one continent to another. Case in point: White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal infection that has killed bats in the U.S.

Tom's #Mailbag, Oct. 21, 2016

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Champaign County Board approves new restrictions on waste burning

URBANA — An ordinance restricting the open burning of landscape wastes in some areas just outside of Champaign-Urbana was adopted, 11-8, on Thursday night by the Champaign County Board.

Prairie Rivers Network honoring Mahomet man's efforts

CHAMPAIGN — Bruce Colravy has always been drawn to streams.

As a kid growing up in Ford County's Piper City, he had to settle for exploring drainage ditches.

"I'd peer into the water and look for life. Surprisingly, there was quite a bit in there," Colravy said, laughing and recalling how he and a friend once pulled a 35-pound snapping turtle from one.

Letters from Birdland: Wisconsin trip offers a little barn inspiration

It's a chill morning in Birdland, and we walk back and forth, back and forth to the car. The dogs know something's up.

We see clouds of dust rising from the far western field. Jim and Sean are already out harvesting the beans. The shaved corn fields are golden in the morning sun.

Rob Kanter/Environmental Almanac: 'Bear' made a big impression

So much of conservation is about the concrete. Stop a pipeline here, plant milkweed for monarchs there, try to move the levers of political power with an email or a protest. Even when we turn our attention to climate change, with its remote (from where I live) effects, we're on to wind turbines and solar power before very long.

Letters from Birdland: White Heath Asters are worth the wait

October in Birdland is a month of variety — a whole season passes through in a day.

The mornings bloom damp, overcast and chilly. I dress carefully, choosing short sleeves, plus a sweater I can shed when the sun burns off the coolness or maybe a lightweight, long-sleeved blouse that will cover my arms against the humid chill but won't overwhelm me in the afternoon.

'BEAR' sightings in Urbana

I don't think I've ever attended such an arduous, participatory performance as Deke Weaver's "BEAR."