Monday, June 5, 2017

A Message from Director Wayne Rosenthal and June's News Bits

A Message from Director Wayne Rosenthal

Last month, Illinois once again saw major flooding, with flood impacts seen on our big rivers and their tributaries in just about every part of the state. This was the third major flood event to occur in Illinois in a year. However, despite near-record flood levels in some parts of the state, flood damages were minimal. In comparison to some other states, major floods hardly made the news in Illinois.

In virtually every flooded community in Illinois, thousands of empty lots and city parks were under water. On many of these open space parcels, there once stood flood-prone structures. Starting mostly after the devastating flood of 1993, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have coordinated efforts to buyout nearly 5,000 flood-prone structures in the state. The IDNR Office of Water Resources, which coordinates Illinois’ participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, reports that Illinois leads the nation in the overall percentage reduction of repetitively flooded structures.

In addition, strong Illinois floodplain regulations and well-trained local officials have ensured that every new floodplain structure in the state is properly elevated or protected. Illinois is ranked #1 in the nation for the fewest number of flood insurance claims on new structures. As a result of this spring’s flooding, there were approximately 80 flood insurance claims pending in Illinois. Elsewhere in the Midwest, thousands of flood insurance claims have occurred.

Thanks to our proactive efforts in Illinois, taxpayers here have avoided spending millions upon millions of dollars in National Flood Insurance Program claims. We’ve seen fewer needs for sandbagging operations, emergency housing, disaster assistance, and flood clean up. Most importantly, thousands of Illinois’ citizens did not have their lives disrupted by the devastating effects of flooding. These savings can be directly tied to Illinois’ floodplain management and flood mitigation programs.

Scientists and flood experts predict flooding will increase in the months and years ahead due to climate uncertainty. Thankfully, Illinois is well prepared.

For more information, check the IDNR Office of Water Resources webpage:

IDNR Releases Management Plan for Reintroduction of Alligator Gar in Illinois Waters
IDNR Division of Fisheries has published its Fish Species Management Plan for Alligator Gar in Illinois, which details IDNR’s effort to reintroduce alligator gar to Illinois waters.  A fish native to Illinois, the alligator gar was determined to be extirpated, or extinct from Illinois waters.  The last known catch of the fish, prior to the start of the reintroduction effort, was in the Cache River basin in southern Illinois in 1966.  For more information click here

Hunters in Illinois Harvested 15,719 Birds During 2017 Spring Turkey Season
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 15,719 wild turkeys during the 2017 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth season. The 2017 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,484 in 2016. The statewide preliminary total includes the record Youth Turkey Season harvest of 1,541 birds, compared with youth season harvest of 1,045 turkeys in 2016.   For more information click here

Film Fest and Museum Passports Bring Summer Fun for Families to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield
The Illinois State Museum’s popular Bob Steffan Summer Film Fest – scheduled for each Tuesday during June and July at the museum in Springfield – will feature 30-minute fun and engaging films for children and the entire family.  With a different film featured each week, topics will include everything from dinosaurs and rocks, to bats and birds. The film series is recommended for children ages 3-8.  With films showing at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each Tuesday, the series is great for daycare classes, summer camp groups, and families. Registration is only requested for groups of 10 or more.    For more information click here
Stay Sober, Wear Life Jackets While Boating in Illinois
Illinois law requires that properly-fitting PFDs – life jackets or life vests – be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft.  State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft or Jet Ski.   For more information click here
Check out these amazing time-lapse videos of Illinois’ Great State Parks

New Illinois White-tailed Deer Website
White-tailed Deer Illinois is a digest of biological information and interesting facts to provide you with valuable insight into the life history and management of the Illinois state mammal. From ancient times to the present, residents of the region have benefitted from the deer, and today it continues to play an important role in the recreational and economic health of the Prairie State. For more information click here

Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair
Mark your calendars and join the fun at the annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, IL on Sat., June 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  The free event features fun for children and families.  For details, call 618-786-3323.  For more information click here

Free Fishing Days
Illinois Free Fishing Days are scheduled for June 16-19, 2017.  During this four-day celebration of fishing in Illinois, anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp. Discover the fun of fishing or introduce your kids to the outdoor adventure of fishing during these free fishing days!  For more information click here.

Information, pictures and links are provided by IDNR.  

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