The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


June 29, 2012

IDNR bill fails to pass

DANVILLE — House Bill 4193 failed to pass about a month ago. This bill would have provided much needed funds for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Nobody wants to pay more taxes or fees but the IDNR is in terrible shape and this might show outdoor readers of this column what it means.

Much of the budget and the staff of the IDNR agencies have been cut significantly over recent years. Just to give you some idea of the losses as of the 2013 budget, look at these figures over the last five years:

Architecture, Engineering and Grants — Staff 22 percent, Funding 21percent

Land Management — Staff 24 percent, General Rev. 44 percent

Law Enforcement — Staff 19 percent, State Funds 42 percent

Mines and Minerals — Staff 37 percent, General Rev. 43 percent

Reality and Environmental Planning — 43 percent of General Rev/ Funds

Resource Conservation — loss of 75 percent Federal Funding

State Museums — Reduction in open hours

Water Resources — Staff 10 percent, State Funds 22 percent

There are 29 program reductions or eliminations and an overall agency budget reduction of $33,973,000 which is 13.5 percent, the highest in the state.

Here are some areas that will affect the outdoor community; these are just a few that caught my eye and by no means all mentioned.

The one that I saw that really caught my attention was the fact that the number of Conservation Police Officers (CPO) is at an all-time low with only 125 sworn law enforcement personnel as of February of this year with more retirements due this year.

This means that 33 of the state’s 102 counties will have no resident CPO. The Office of Law Enforcement is hiring a class in FY2012, the last one prior to that was in FY 2007. Current revenues are not sufficient to hire a new class every year or every other year.

The latest figures from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate migratory bird hunters contributed more than $58.8 million dollars to the Illinois economy in 2005 alone. The reduction or elimination of maintenance and rehabilitation projects to water control structures, water management and pump station facilities, and levee repairs will mean less opportunity for migratory birders and less money spent by hunters throughout the state.

The state park system faces over $750 in deferred maintenance and capital needs, including deteriorating bath and shower facilities, outdated and dangerous electrical systems, concerns with potable water systems because of well failures and testing issues, failure of sewage treatment facilities, and an inability to repair roads, bridges, and trails damaged because of storms. Many site structures now have leaky roofs.

These are just a very few of the many things facing the IDNR in the report I just finished reading. The debt our state faces is staggering and the IDNR is taking a big hit. My concern as an outdoors person is how badly the wildlife will suffer and how bad will our state park system deteriorate before something is done about it? A solution needs to be found and unfortunately the solution will probably come from our pockets.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail:


Text Only
  • SPT - CN0417 - Andy Bott photo Better late than never for Bott BISMARCK -- Marshall golf coach Matt Grobe completely surprised Bismarck-Henning standout Andy Bott with an e-mail earlier this year. Bott, who is a three-time all-stater for the Blue Devils, was preparing to attend Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. "Ou

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0417- Westville softball photo Nourie, Tigers beat Comets 20-4 in five inning game MUNCIE -- On a very windy day which made playing softball tough for both teams, Westville defeated Oakwood in five innings 20-4 with some good offensive production and a solid pitching performance from Stefanie Nourie. Nourie got her first win of the

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- Cn0417 - Seeger baseball photo 2 Falcons make quick work of Pats WEST LEBANON, Ind. - North Vermillion sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored seven runs en route to a 13-1 win over the homestanding Seeger Patriots. The visiting Falcons got five hits including doubles by Jordan West

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0417 - Local Roundup photo Salt Fork's Learnard pitches perfect game JAMAICA -- Salt Fork's Ross Learnard finally got back on the mound on Wednesday for the first time in a week and he did not disappoint, pitching a perfect game as the Salt Fork baseball team beat Schlarman Academy in five innings. "He had his breakin

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT- CN0416 - NV softball photo 2 Patriots smash Falcons CAYUGA, Ind. - Seeger took an early lead, extended it and then kept North Vermillion at bay as the Patriots defeated the host Falcons 14-3 in five innings. The visitors scored one run in the top of the first inning and, after North Vermillion went do

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Trojans get past Ramblers

    STAFF REPORT ATTICA, Ind. -- Regan Foster hit a home run and drove in three runs as the Covington softball team defeated Attica 8-5 on Tuesday in Wabash River Conference action. Andi Taylor had three hi

    April 16, 2014

  • Tuesday's Local Scores |PREP SOFTBALL At Attica, Ind. Covington 8, Attica 5 Covington 120 004 1 — 8 10 4 Attica 001 100 3 — 5 8 2 WP — Ali Holmes. LP — Torrie Ward. Two or more hits — C: Andi Taylor 3 A: Alexis Burris

    April 16, 2014

  • SPT - CN0415 - DACC baseball jump photo DACC splits with Parkland DANVILLE -- To quote Bull Durham, "this is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Despite eminent threats in the forecast, it didn't rain on Sunday at

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0415 - Local roundup photo Danville standout Smith signs with Wabash Valley DANVILLE -- A year ago, Mike Carpenter left Danville Area Community College to take the head coaching position at Wabash Valley College. On Monday afternoon, Carpenter returned to Vermilion County and this time, he secured the services of Danville Hi

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided Local COLLEGE BASEBALL At Danville Stadium, Danville Game 1 Parkland College 5, Danville Area Community College 3 Parkland 100 310 0 -- 5 9 0 Danville Area 000 300 0 -- 3 7 1 WP -- Bryce Pennington. LP -- Zach Anderson. Two or more hits -- Parkland:

    April 15, 2014

NCAA basketball
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014

Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here:

Must Read
AP Video
NDN Video