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  • Making history on the mighty Mississippi

  • 2006 Ranks as 9th Warmest Year for Illinois

    "Based on preliminary data, temperatures of 54.0°F statewide (1.8°F above 30-year normals) made 2006 the 9th warmest year in Illinoissince 1895. This was largely the result of a record-setting January last year with an average temperature of 37.9°F, 13.3°F above normal," said State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Weather Watchers Needed to Help Observe Rain, Hail, and Snow

    Weather affects all of us and can vary greatly even over short distances. In an effort to increase the density of rainfall observations over the United States, a fast-growing, volunteer program needs weather observers in Illinois.

    The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network already has more than 2500 observers in 14 states and originally began in Colorado. Program coordinators for Illinois include the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), the National Weather Service, and the University of Illinois Extension Natural Resources Management team.

  • January Was Warmer, Wetter than Usual

    "Despite the recent cold spell, statewide January temperatures of 29.5°F were 4.7°F above normal, and precipitation of 3 inches was 1.07 inches above normal, based on preliminary data. Temperatures were well above normal the first half of January (12.7°F above) and slightly below normal the second half (2.8°F below), the third consecutive month with above normal temperatures. November–January temperatures were 4.2°F above normal, the 7th warmest such period on record since 1895," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Dr. Hoover's research on "Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host" featured in PNAS

  • Snowy, Wet February, 9th Coldest on Record

    "Old Man Winter weather arrived in full force across much of Illinois in February, the 9th coldest on record since 1895, with a statewide temperature of 21.9°F, 8.9°F below normal, based on preliminary data. Snowfall generally was 2–6 inches (southern Illinois), 6–25 inches (central Illinois), and 12–25 inches (northern Illinois). Heaviest amounts occurred in east-central Illinois, with Sidell (Champaign County) reporting 27.5 inches, the most for any Illinois station.

  • Taxonomists stand up and count your species

  • Sixth Warmest March on Record

    "After a cold February, the pendulum swung the other way, giving Illinois March temperatures averaging 47.6°F statewide, 6.5°F above normal and the 6th warmest March on record since 1895. Several cities, particularly Champaign-Urbana, set or tied daily high temperature records," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • INHS Scientist Mark J. Wetzel appointed Associate Editor of Megadrilogica

  • Cool, Wet Weather Slows Northern and Central Illinois Planting

    "Combined with cooler temperatures, wet April conditions led to widespread corn planting delays in the northern two-thirds of the state, where precipitation averaged 4.05 inches (0.46 inches above normal) and up to 5–7 inches at some locations. April temperatures averaged 49.5°F statewide (2.7°F below normal), and statewide precipitation was 3.75 inches (just 0.05 inches below normal), based on preliminary data. Southern Illinois was drier, averaging 3.38 inches (0.74 inches below normal), and planting there is further along," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society Honors Dr. Stephen P. Havera

  • Very Dry May, 8th Warmest on Record

    "May 2007 was the 8th warmest and 23rd driest May since 1895. Statewide May precipitation in Illinois was 2.62 inches (1.65 inches below normal), and statewide temperatures were 67.3°F degrees (4.5°F above normal). Fortunately, short-term impacts of the dry weather were minimal because of abundant soil moisture from rainfall in previous months. Timely and widespread rains across northern and central Illinois over the Memorial Day weekend also provided relief for shallow-rooted corn and soybeans in those areas," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • 2007 Governor's Conference on Management of the Illinois River System Scheduled

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is one of 60 groups cosponsoring the 11th Biennial Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System. "The Illinois River-Continuing Our Commitment" will be October 2-4 at Peoria's Holiday Inn City Centre Hotel.

  • High-density Network Measures Incredible Differences in Recent Heavy C-U Rains

    A high-density raingage network identified large differences in rainfall amounts from June 26-27 storms across Champaign County, Illinois. Amounts ranged from 2.58 inches just west of the I-57/I-72 interchange (west of Champaign) to less than 0.20 inch (southeast Urbana).

  • INHS researcher Chris Taylor profiled on Environmental Almanac

    Dr. Christopher A. Taylor was profiled by Rob Kantor during the 28 June 2007 episode of the Environmental Almanac. The status of crayfish in Illinois was also discussed in the episode.

  • End-of-June Rainfall Provides Remarkable Transformation

    "The most outstanding feature of June weather was the change from very dry conditions the first 18 days to very wet ones the rest of the month. As a result, crops, lawns, and gardens recovered quickly from abnormally dry conditions that began in May," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Statewide June precipitation in Illinois was 4.47 inches (0.39 inches above normal), and statewide temperatures were 72.7°F degrees (0.8°F above normal). "That's quite a switch from the first 18 days of June, only 1.03 inches statewide, less than half the 2.42-inch normal for that period. The last 12 days of June had 3.44 inches, about twice the 1.66-inch normal," says Angel.

  • Cooler than Normal July Prevails

    "Statewide July temperatures averaged 73.5°F, 2.3°F below normal, and the 20th coolest July since 1895. While we had some hot days, Illinois generally managed to avoid the heat wave experienced out West during July," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • INHS hosts "An Evening of Entomology"

  • August Rainfall, Heaviest on Record in Northeastern Illinois

    "Rainfall amounts in northeastern Illinois already have established this as the wettest August and wettest summer since regional records began in 1895. As of the morning of August 24, rainfall for northeastern Illinois (including those counties from Boone to LaSalle and eastward) averaged 11.32 inches, 8.10 inches above normal, and beating the 1987 record of 11.02 inches. Totals for JuneAugust thus far in this area averaged 20.02 inches, 8.91 inches above normal, and beating the 1972 record of 19.26 inches," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Lunar eclipse photos

    Samuel Shea, service climatologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, snapped these spectacular shots of this morning's (8/28/2007) lunar eclipse. Sam set the alarm clock for an early 3:40 AM wake up, and came in to work just a bit early to set up his camera and prepare. These shots are the result, as viewed from the Illinois State Water Survey grounds in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Dryness and Drought in Illinois

    llinois Drought Update - 8/30/2007

    Illinois State Water Survey, Department of Natural Resources

    Precipitation deficits have increased across southern Illinois during August. The area has also been subject to very warm daytime temperatures, with maximum temperatures averaging above 95°F, or 8°F above normal. The combination of lack of precipitation and high temperatures has led to the intensification of drought to severe status as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The impacts of the drought are agricultural currently, although continued dryness in the fall may lead to water resource impacts. The severe drought area in southern Illinois is on the northwestern edge of a much larger and more severe drought encompassing an area from the southern Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico. Substantial temperature relief and scattered heavy precipitation occurred over the evening of August 29-30. The next five days are expected to be dry throughout and gradually warming, but there may be a return to a more active weather pattern with better chances of rain during the first week of September.

  • August Provided Illinois with Extremes: Rainfall Records in North and Drought in South

    "Rainfall amounts in northeastern Illinois established this as the wettest August and wettest summer since regional records began in 1895. Rainfall for northeastern Illinois (including those counties from Boone to LaSalle and eastward) averaged 11.47 inches, 7.33 inches above normal, and beat the 1987 record of 11.02 inches. JuneAugust totals thus far in this area averaged 20.05 inches, 8.02 inches above normal, and beat the 1972 record of 19.26 inches. Northwestern Illinois received 8.45 inches in August, 4.05 inches above normal and the 5th wettest on record. Its JuneAugust total was 19.18 inches, 6.69 inches above normal and the 4th wettest on record," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • September, Warm and Dry across Illinois

    "A uniformly warm, dry September speeded fall harvest but further increased drought conditions in southern and central Illinois. Statewide rainfall was 1.71 inches, 1.48 inches below normal, and the 12th driest September since 1895. Temperatures in Illinois averaged 69.8 degrees, 3.6 degrees above normal, and the 15th warmest September on record," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Tari Tweddale to give lecture at GIS Day

    Tari Tweddale, GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist and Illinois Gap Analysis Project Coordinator at the Illinois Natural History Survey, will present a seminar called, "GIS in Conservation Biology: Modeling Vertebrate Species Distribution in the Illinois GAP Analysis Project " at GIS Day at Illinois State University. The full line-up of presenters can be found in this Word document which will download to your computer.

  • Warm October across Illinois Ranks among Top Ten

    "With temperatures in Illinois averaging 59.5 degrees, 4.8 degrees above normal, October was the 9th warmest since 1895," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • INHS referenced in Environmental Almanac blog

    Rob Kanter discusses bats in his November 1, 2007 entry to the Environmental Almanac blog, a University of Illinois Environmental Council project. Links to INHS Reports discussing bats and an INHS image were featured. 

  • Dr. John Marlin's Mud to Parks Program tackles Pekin Landfill

    The Mud to Parks Program took another step forward last month as dredged earth from the Lower Peoria Lake was used to cap off the Pekin Landfill. Dr. John Marlin, senior scientist at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Waste Management and Research Center, oversees the program and discussed the new developments with several news outlets.

  • Dr. Richard Sparks recognized by The Nature Conservancy

    Dr. Richard Sparks, the Director of Research for the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, received the Illinois River Valley Conservation Award from the Nature Conservancy on October 2, 2007 in recognition for his work advancing the science and management of large rivers in Illinois and around the world. For more information, visit this website.

  • INHS to host 100th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Academy of Science

    INHS will host the 100th Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science to be held on April 4-5, 2008. Academy members are invited to submit abstract abstracts of papers and posters for presentation in any of the recognized ISAS divisions. For more information on the event and submissions, please visit this website.

  • ISWS Scientists Contribute to Scientific Documents Noted in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

    The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on December 10 in Oslo, Norway. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is proud to announce that two of its atmospheric research scientists, Kenneth Kunkel and Stanley Changnon, have participated in the activities of the IPCC.

  • Ninth Warmest Fall on Record for Illinois

    "Fall temperatures averaged 57.0 degrees, 2.9 degrees above normal and the 9th warmest fall since 1895. This was largely the result of warmer September and October temperatures that were 3.6 and 4.9 degrees above normal, respectively. Statewide temperatures in November averaged 41.6 degrees, only 0.1 degree below normal," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • INHS kit makes USDA news

    The Emerald Ash Borer Kit offered by INHS was featured in the December 28, 2007 News & Events section of the USDA's National Invasive Species Information Center website.

  • Illinoisans Experience Spring-like Weather in January

    On January 7, winter weather gave way to spring-like conditions with record-breaking warmth, heavy rains, and severe weather across Illinois. Record high temperatures were set at several locations, including Peoria (67 degrees), Chicago (65 degrees), and Champaign (67 degrees), according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Herons persist in Chicago wetlands despite exposure to banned chemicals

    Results of a study led by INHS wildlife toxicologist Jeff Levengood were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. The study reports that Chicago-area herons are still being exposed to banned pesticides.

  • William Anderson receives Award of Merit

    William L. Anderson was the recipient of the 2007 Professional Award of Merit from the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society on December 5th at the Annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference held in Madison, Wisconsin. The Wildlife Society’s Professional Award of Merit is given periodically to outstanding wildlife professionals, who live in the eight-state North-Central Section, for their contribution to scientific knowledge and their leadership over a period of several years. Read more about the award press releases from the DNR and the Illinois Natural History Survey.

  • "Life in the Soil" a must-read for naturalists and gardeners

    Author James Nardi, adjunct scientist with INHS, discusses his new book "Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners" in a February 7, 2008 article published in the Anchorage Daily News. The well-organized book features information on a wide array of animals living in the soil beneath our feet. Readers will find taxonomic data, information on food web interactions, and species impact for gardeners. A December 20, 2007 Washington Post article discusses the book and its release. His book is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

  • Preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer

    Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, epidemiologist with INHS, recently spoke with Eilee Heikenen-Weiss for the Eight Forty-Eight program on Chicago Public Radio. The show discusses Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and DNR efforts to sample populations and prevent the spread of the disease. View the transcript or listen the audio* for the January 17, 2008 episode. * Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of animal dissection

  • New Online County Maps Highlight Flood Hazard Areas in Illinois

    Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) engineers are bringing county floodplain maps into the 21st century, from two-dimensional paper products to digital illustrations using the latest geographical software and technology. The updated, online maps are easily accessible to community stakeholders for use in reducing the risk for flood damage.

  • Wide Range of Weather Hits Illinois This Winter

    The old saying, "if you don't like the weather in Illinois, just wait a minute," was certainly true this winter. Since December 1, Illinois has experienced heavy snows, heavy rains, flooding, and severe weather, including five tornadoes in January. Both precipitation and snowfall totals this winter have been significantly above average for much of the state, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Contaminated sediments affecting wetland mice

    Jeff Levengood and Ed Heske recently published an article entitled "Heavy metal exposure, reproductive activity, and demographic patterns in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) inhabiting a contaminated floodplain wetland" in Volume 389, Issues 2-3 of Science of the Total Environment.The article discusses the effects of using contaminated sediments from Lake DePue, Illinois to create a wetland that is home to white-footed mice. View the Science of the Total Environment article at ScienceDirect. Accessible through subscription only.

  • Illinois Natural History Survey Chief to retire

    David Thomas, Natural History Survey Chief since 1997, will retire on February 29, 2008. View the complete press release here.

  • Survey scientists researching moist-soil resources for waterfowl

    Natural History Survey scientists, Joshua Stafford, Aaron Yetter, Chris Hine, Randy Smith, and Michelle Horath have been continuing the moist-soil research of Frank Bellrose from the Forbes Biological Station and F. C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center in Havana since 2005. In an article featured in the March 2008 issue of Outdoor Illinois, the scientists discuss their research, the work of Frank Bellrose, and management issues for moist-soil habitats.

  • Natural History Survey part of proposed University of Illinois unit

    During his February 20, 2008 State of the State and Budget Address, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed a plan to merge the Illinois Natural History Survey, Geologic Survey, Water Survey and Waste Management and Resource Center into a new University of Illinois unit, the Institute for Natural Sciences and Sustainability. The proposed plan would remove the Surveys from the Department of Natural Resources effective July 1, 2008. More information about this proposal is available from the University of Illinois News Bureau, State Journal-RegisterPrairie State OutdoorNews-Gazette, and The Pantagraph.

  • Bumblebee populations declining

    The bumblebee crisis was discussed in a February 21, 2008 post to the North Carolina State University Insect Museum blog. The article discusses what factors are contributing to the bumblebee's decline and mentions research done by Solter labs. Lee Solter is an Associate Scientist and Insect Pathology Research Leader with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

  • Winter tips for bird feeders

    Christopher Whelan, an avian biologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, recently offered some tips for keeping overwintering birds in your yard. The tips were featured in the Like an Eagle-Soar blog and were offered through the National Wildlife Association.

  • Winter bald eagle count a new record

    In an article published February 23, 2008 in The Daily Journal, Survey scientist Randy Nyboer discusses the this year's record bald eagle count. Though the count is unfinished, it has already surpassed previous records. Visit this website to view the complete article.

  • New director starts May 1, 2008

  • Wettest February Ends Third Wettest Winter

    This past February was the wettest on record in Illinois with statewide records going back to 1895. The 4.48 inches of precipitation was 2.49 inches above average. February is typically one of the driest months of the year, averaging only 1.99 inches, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • Mercury Levels in Illinois Rain and Snowfall Remain Unchanged

    Every state except for Alaska and Wyoming has issued an advisory warning pregnant women and children to limit fish consumption due to highly toxic methyl mercury that builds up in fish tissue. Data from the Mercury Deposition Network (MDN), which monitors mercury concentration and deposition in rain and snowfall, indicates that generally mercury levels in the atmosphere are falling, but not by much.

    Precipitation deposits mercury from the atmosphere to Illinois waters, although mercury occurs naturally in Illinois soils, according to David Gay, Acting Coordinator of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, which coordinates the MDN at the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign, IL.

  • Heavy Rain in Southern Illinois Results in Widespread Flooding

    A storm system moving slowly through southern Illinois since March 17 has produced rainfall totals that have already exceeded 8 inches in some places south of Interstate 70, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.