Tag: Illinois

Bison Return to Nachusa: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Reintroduction

Bison are home on the range at Nachusa Grasslands in Illinois, as if they had never left. Join our behind-the-scenes look at the science, restoration and planning necessary for a successful bison reintroduction.

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10 Fish Conservation Success Stories to Celebrate

Looking for a good fish story? We look back at some of the year’s best conservation results for fisheries, from alligator gar reintroduction to salmon recovery, with a side dish of fish and chimps.

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Tech: Remote-Controlled Conservation

Illinois researchers searching for the best ways to reduce nitrates in drinking water are looking to an unlikely tool: a remote-controlled airplane.

In the Mackinaw River watershed in Central Illinois, The Nature Conservancy and partners are working to reduce high nitrate levels in water by filtering agricultural run-off through wetlands, a tactic that research shows can reduce nitrates by 50%.

These particular types of wetlands are specifically constructed to collect and retain water from tile drainage. Tiling is an underground system of tubing that drains wet fields. These tiles then drain water—and untreated nitrates and phosphates from the field—directly into the river.

The challenge: Tiling is underground. You can’t detect it with your eyes. Literally millions of miles of tile run under Illinois farm fields, so locating tile patterns in farm fields is imprecise at best.

Enter the remote-controlled airplane.

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Feature: Building Wetlands for Clean Drinking Water

Can building wetlands reduce dangerous high nitrate levels and thus provide clean, safe drinking water for thousands of people?

Yes.

But, when it comes to ensuring clean water, not all wetlands are created equal.

Biologists know how to restore great wetlands to draw in ducks and shorebirds. Restoring wetlands to also help people may require a different approach.

That’s the focus of an intensive research effort conducted by Nature Conservancy scientists on the Mackinaw River watershed in central Illinois. The wetlands—while providing wildlife habitat and healthier rivers—are being designed and tested to provide safe drinking water for the 90,000 residents of Bloomington, Illinois and surrounding communities where the town’s primary reservoir has had a history of high nitrate levels.

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The Ospreys Are Back!
Live views, 24/7, of an Alabama osprey nest. Record your observations and ask our ecologist about what you’re seeing.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is edited by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and managed by Lisa Feldkamp, an American Council of Learned Societies fellow with the TNC science communications team. Email us your feedback.

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