Environmental Almanac: Conservation lecture series at UI begins

When do people do best to pull together on the environment? When the stakes are clear and the issues are close to home. Witness these recent examples from East Central Illinois.

Cold winter = fewer bugs in spring? Forget about it, UI expert says

If you were hoping that the frigid weather we've had this winter would result in less insects when the weather warms up, a University of Illinois professor says that's not going to happen.

Environmental Almanac: If you're chilly, think about critters

By the time you're looking at this column, Punxsutawney Phil will have already seen his shadow or not, so we'll have that projection for how much more winter we must endure or get to enjoy, depending on your perspective.

Proposed wastewater sale up for discussion again

Sanitary district board is expected to get a look at contract today, but not vote on it

URBANA — Steps to bring a $1.2 billion fertilizer plant to Douglas County continue to be taken, as the Urbana Champaign Sanitary District board again looks at piping large amounts of its treated wastewater to Tuscola.

Environmental Almanac: Master Naturalists helping catalog collection

Even if pressed, I bet you could not identify an orange-banded leaf hopper without a little help. I know I couldn't. And I'm sure I couldn't tell the difference between a cat flea and a dog flea (spoiler alert: even if a flea is found on a dog, it's probably a cat flea).

Tom Kacich: Why risk polluting our aquifer?

If you like the idea of West Virginia's "Chemical Valley" being centered along the Elk River — where about 300,000 people get their drinking water — how about the notion of dumping hazardous chemicals over an aquifer that provides drinking water for 750,000 people in central Illinois?

Madigan appeals decision on Clinton landfill

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has appealed a decision not to move forward with a complaint against Clinton Landfill's operation of a chemical waste unit above the Mahomet Aquifer.

Snow, strong winds expected

The National Weather Service reports that East Central Illinois can expect a brief period of snow and strong winds Thursday night.

Snowfall of about 1 inch, with isolated higher amounts approaching 2 inches, will be common south of Interstate 74, with little or no snow taking place north of I-74.

Environmental Almanac: An adaptable carnivore

On a cold, bright morning at the end of December, I was driving to Norris Tire and Auto in Champaign when I spotted a red fox trotting in the opposite direction, just off Springer Drive. I whipped the car around to try for photos as the fox negotiated a couple of parking lots, crossed Mattis Avenue (whew!) and then disappeared behind a pile of construction rubble.

Bacteria could make oil extraction less disruptive to environment

More than a mile beneath Decatur, where temperatures reach 122 degrees and no light penetrates, lives a community of bacteria happily munching on iron and other geological delicacies.