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August 16, 2019

 

 
 

Invasive silver carp have been moving north toward the Great Lakes since their accidental release in the 1970s. The large filter-feeding fish, which are known to jump from the water and wallop anglers, threaten aquatic food webs as well as the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery. But, for the past decade, the invading front hasn’t moved past Kankakee. A new study, led by scientists at the University of Illinois, suggests that Chicago’s water pollution may be a contributing to this lack of upstream movement. “It’s a really toxic soup coming down from the Chicago Area Waterway, but a lot of those chemicals go away near Kankakee. They might degrade or settle out, or the Kankakee River might dilute them. We don’t really know what happens, but there’s a stark change in water quality at that point. That’s right where the invading front stops,” says Cory Suski, associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and co-author of the study. “And this fish never stops for anything.”

 

 
 

To assist hemp growers and processors in following new state regulations, Illinois Stewardship Alliance worked with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to produce a free, downloadable guide to navigate the rules and application process. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly in the Spring of 2018 and signed into law on August 25, 2018. The Act gave the Illinois Department of Agriculture the authority to permit farmers to grow industrial hemp in Illinois for the first time in 80 years. The new crop has the potential to diversify the landscape in Illinois. With more than 25,000 document uses in feed, food, fiber, and CBD oil, it is a versatile crop that benefits large-scale commodity growers and small-scale growers for local markets alike. The new industry has the potential to bring thousands of dollars in investment from processing and distribution companies, while generating thousands of dollars in income for farmers.

 

 
 

According to the Nature Conservancy, this August in Illinois, large amounts of cliff, bank and barn swallows feed on insects at the wetlands of Spunky Bottoms and Emiquon preserves, as they start to stage for migration. The Kankakee Sands Preserve and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie are blooming with New England aster, downy sunflower, blazing star, compass plant and prairie dock, and the Nachusa Grasslands Preserve outcrops with rough blazing star and little bluestem. Spicebush berries and persimmons begin to ripen, copperhead snakes give birth, painted turtle eggs hatch, baby skunks leave home, and migratory ducks, ospreys and kits arrive to the Cache River Wetlands. Solitary sandpipers and lesser yellow legs can be spotted feeding in wetlands along the Mackinaw River. Sora rail birds can be found at the Indian Boundary Prairies Preserve amidst the blooming false foxglove and button blazing star. Sign up for the Nature Conservancy’s updates on which plants and wildlife you can spot in Illinois each month.

 

 
 

On September 26 at Noon CST, the University of Illinois Extension Local Government Education webinar will feature Steven Groner, Community and Economic Development Educator, who will share insights and suggestions gained from advising small businesses in Handing Off Your Business: The Future of Your Business Without You. He will address succession planning in response to what has been termed “the silver tsunami” or the rapidly growing number of businesses with leaders approaching retirement. Steven focuses on good planning practices, the need to get succession strategies underway, and ways to alleviate some of the complexity and stress of planning and transition.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

August 20 (Springfield) - Rural Partners 30th Anniversary Celebration

September 12 (Webinar) - Community Supported Enterprises to Address Shrinking Markets in Rural Areas

September 26 (LGE Webinar) - Handing Off Your Business: The Future of Your Business Without You

October 24-25 (Dubuque) - Growing Sustainable Communities Conference