conservation

IEC Policy Platform

We convened town halls open to the public, all of our 100+ affiliate organizations, our individual members and our staff to deliberate and develop the policy solutions endorsed by our Illinois environmental movement.

A Southeast Side Story: A Closer look at Environmental Justice, Resistance and Sustainability on the East Side

Illinois is home to a diverse range of natural landscapes: from native prairie lands to forest preserves and state parks to marshes, rivers, and other iconic waterways. A large part of IEC’s mission is preserving these natural spaces and building healthy environments for the communities who call them home; however, this mission cannot be approached in the same exact way for each and every community across the state.

2022 Legislative Tours: Legislators in the Wild

In June 2019, I wrote a blog post introducing readers to one of the Illinois Environmental Council’s most successful programs, legislative tours. Since then, we’ve conducted dozens of informative “tours” with legislators and local officials, taking them out of their office buildings and into the natural areas we need their help to protect.

Conservation and Agriculture Town Hall

Monday, November 14 | 6-7:30 pm | Register via Zoom using the form below IEC is hosting a series of three town halls for our supporters. At the Conservation and Agriculture Town Hall, participants will hear from IEC and our partners on the most pressing issues facing Illinois and our current advocacy plans. We’re reserving …

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The Illinois is Beautiful Initiative

From our conversations in Illinois communities and the surveys we collected, it is clear there is overwhelming support for an increase and acceleration of conservation in Illinois. Over 85% of respondents believe that 4% of Illinois land in protection is not enough.

Chicago Skyline

Why Chicago needs Department of Environment and why we need one now

A decade ago, the City of Chicago under the Emanuel administration dissolved its Department of Environment, leaving a broad range of environmental issues to be dealt with across scattered and, at times, understaffed city departments. It’s long past time to reestablish Chicago’s Department of Environment, read our blog to learn why.

Agriculture Lease Agreements with Illinois Department of Natural Resources

In December of 2021, Lindsay Keeney and Eliot Clay of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) sat down with Mike Chandler and Bob Caveny of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to discuss the department’s agriculture lease program. Mike Chandler is the Agricultural Lease Manager for the IDNR and has been with the department for 29 years. Bob Caveny is the Farm Programs Manager and has been with IDNR for 10 years.

Statement on U.S. House Passage of the Build Back Better Act, Once-in-a-Generation Climate Legislation

Springfield, IL — The Illinois Environmental Council issued the following statement in response to the passage of historic climate legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives: “Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the strongest climate bill in United States history. Thank you Reps. Bustos, Casten, Davis, Foster, Garcia, Kelly, Krishnamoorthi, Newman, Quigley, Rush, Schakowsky, …

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Statement: Illinois Environmental Council Issues Statement on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act Framework Announcement

Springfield, IL — Today, following President Biden’s announcement of a new framework for his Build Back Better Act, the Illinois Environmental Council issued the following statement of support: “Today, after thousands of Illinoisans and millions across the nation called, knocked on doors, and demanded action, President Biden has finally announced a framework for the strongest …

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Statement: Illinois Environmental Council Applauds Chicago’s Approved FY2022 Budget

CHICAGO — The Illinois Environmental Council issued the following statement of support following Chicago’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget vote: “The Illinois Environmental Council applauds Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago City Council Alderpersons who voted in support of the FY2022 budget for passing the single largest environmental investment in Chicago’s history. This historic investment in …

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Conserving 30×30

https://youtu.be/AvK-0N3M1O8 This Lunch & Learn explores the global 30×30 initiative, and how Illinois can plug in and preserve more of our precious natural spaces.

48 State Legislators Score 100% on Illinois Environmental Council Scorecard

(SPRINGFIELD, IL) – The Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) released its 2021 Legislative Environmental Scorecard today. The scorecard, which is released annually, assigns a percentage score to legislators based on how they voted on bills affecting the environment. This year, 38 state representatives and 10 state senators received 100% scores based on their record on 16 …

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Analysis: Mayor’s 2022 Budget Address

Mayor Lightfoot unveiled her 2022 budget proposal. Check it out to see how and which environmental priorities will be funded next year.

Illinois Environmental Council Celebrates the Passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance

CHICAGO (Sept. 14, 2021) — Today, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) issued the following statement on the unanimous passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance (O2021-362) during today’s Chicago City Council meeting: “While Chicago has long emphasized the importance of native plants within their own messaging and institutions, policies in the city have not …

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Statement Celebrating the Committee Passage of the Native Gardens Registry Ordinance

CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — Today, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) issued the following statement on the passage of the Native Plants Gardens Registry Ordinance (O2021-362) during today’s Chicago City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy meeting: “Today, the City moved an important step closer to cultivating native plants and sustainable landscapes for Chicagoans …

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2021 IEC Legislative Report

IEC is pleased to release our 2021 Legislative Report. We are proud to report that we advanced a broad and ambitious agenda, defeated potentially damaging legislation and secured important appropriations in the state budget.

Illinois Environmental Council Announces Illinois’ 2021 Environmental Legislative Agenda

Agenda Tackles Clean Energy, Clean Water, Sustainable Agriculture, Wildlife Protections and More SPRINGFIELD, IL — On behalf of their over 100 member affiliate organizations, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) announced today Illinois’ annual environmental legislative agenda. The 2021 agenda tackles the environmental community’s priorities across a wide range of issues including clean energy, clean water, …

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Gov. Pritzker’s Mid-term

IEC’s environmental analysis of Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration midway through his first term.

Piping Plovers

https://youtu.be/iP5sn2tfsrU A discussion on the recent nesting success of Monty and Rose, the now famous Chicago Piping Plover power couple. We’ll cover some natural history about Piping Plovers and why they are listed as endangered in the Great Lakes region. One part of this pair’s success has been the huge volunteer effort headed by the …

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Endangered Species Act

For this session, IEC will be joined by NRDC to discuss the Endangered Species Act and the way that it is used to protect wildlife in Illinois and all over the United States. Presenters: Lucas Rhoads, Attorney at NRDC

10 Great Illinois Spots and the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The LWCF has had an outstanding, though often unrecognized, impact on some of Illinois’ most significant places, from historically meaningful sites to a myriad of recreational spaces including national refuges and urban open spaces.

Documenting Pollinators with Photography

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udbAZ5f7BjA In the 20th edition of the IEC Lunch and Learn Series, IEC is joined by Angella Moorehouse of Illinois Department of Natural Resources to discuss pollinator documentation using photography. Find links and resources from this session below: Illinois Department of Natural Resources website

Where & How to Get Outside During COVID-19

In the 19th edition of the IEC Lunch & Learn Series, Andrew Szwak from Openlands joins IEC to share where we can get outside during COVID-19 and the steps we need to take when doing so to stay safe. Find links and resources from the session below: Openlands website

History of the Spring Ephemeral Wildflower

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2BTfuuxq3k In the 17th edition of the IEC Lunch & Learn Series, IEC is joined by Plant Ecologist and IEC Board Member Chris Benda (aka the Illinois Botanizer) to discuss wildflowers and prairie habitat in Illinois.

Bobcats in Illinois

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNG1vp6txtUIn the eighth installment of IEC’s Lunch & Learn Series, Jennifer Kuroda from the Illinois Bobcat Foundation joins us to discuss bobcats in Illinois, including population levels, state policies affecting them and what you can do.

Pollinators and Backyard Habitat

In the seventh installment of IEC’s Lunch & Learn Series, Chris Young from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources joins us to discuss pollinators, creating habitat in your own backyard, and IDNR programs. Find links and resources from the presentation below: Illinois Native Plant Society Native Plant Sales Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation K-12 Pollinator …

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Illinois’ 2020 Enviro Legislative Agenda

During this session, IEC focused on demonstrating public support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) and addressing ethylene oxide pollution.

Reclaimed Heritage: How Simple Appreciation is Better for Us and the Planet

By Crystal Kern | IEC Finance Director I grew up on a self-sufficient farm in central Kentucky. We had a diverse garden with more plant varieties than I can recall along with several animals. Everything produced on the farm solely supported our family. If we had an abundance of produce, we would invite neighbors over to …

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2019 IEC Legislative Report

IEC is pleased to release our 2019 Legislative Report. We are proud to report that we advanced a broad and ambitious agenda, defeated potentially damaging legislation and secured important appropriations in the state budget.

Bill Helping Farmers Reduce Costly Erosion and Runoff Advances to State Senate

Expands Soil Water Conservation Districts Ability to Assist Illinois Farmers (SPRINGFIELD, IL) — A bill green-lighting the inclusion of soil health best practices among the list of resources that local Soil Water Conservation Districts are allowed to provide Illinois farmers advanced out of the Illinois State House chamber yesterday by a unanimous vote. HB 2737, …

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2,000 Monarch License Plate Decal Applications Received

YOU DID IT – 2,000 applications received! More than 2,000 IEC, Sierra Club and NRDC supporters came together to apply for the new Specialty Monarch License Plate Decal, raising over $20,000 for roadside monarch habitat and ensuring the decal will be commissioned! Sadly, monarch butterfly populations have been rapidly declining in North America since 1997. …

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Natural Resources and Conservation in the Illinois Budget

Breaking a long trend of cuts and unspent appropriations, natural resources finally received improved funding in the FY19 Illinois budget and capital budget. One especially heartening development will see the operating budget for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources increase 6.7% compared to FY18. A major highlight of the capital plan is the dedication of …

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2018 Session in Review

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned on May 31st after passing a budget, which was signed by Governor Rauner the morning of June 4th. Read our budget update to learn more about the benefits to environmental programs of the fiscal year 2019 budget. The General Assembly likely will not meet again until after the election for …

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Affiliate Feature: HeartLands Conservancy

By Mary VandervordPresident/CEO, HeartLands Conservancy What’s the mission of your organization?To sustain and enrich the diverse environmental resources of southwestern Illinois. To accomplish our mission HLC works with individuals, local governments, state and federal agencies, and other organizations on three priorities: conservation of open space, building greener communities, and engaging people with nature. Where in …

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Illinois Bobcat Hunting Program is Flawed

By Jennifer WallingExecutive Director, IEC Governor Rauner’s Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently increased the number of bobcat hunting permits from 500 to 1,000 for the upcoming season. The announcement of an increase in the number of permits was issued despite the fact that there is currently a bill sitting on the Governor’s desk that …

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Safe Roads Amendment

How will the Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment affect conservation?

The proposed constitutional amendment could have unintended consequences for conservation in Illinois. You can read the Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment in its entirety here. This amendment to Illinois’ constitution purports to keep the gas tax in a “lockbox” that can only be used for transportation, and comes in response to significant sweeps from the road …

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