Illinois River

A central Illinois freight company and a road salt producer face state allegations of contaminating areas near the Illinois River with toxic chemicals.

Peoria officials have terminated a contentious proposal that would have built apartments on part of what is now a public park along the Illinois River.

A farmers market has opened in central Illinois despite the continued demolition of a riverfront platform.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Some roads in the region nearest the Illinois River are closed or impassable.


In the Rome Area: about 6 blocks of Riverbeach Road is underwater. The 14100 block to the 14700 block is impassible as well as Front Street between Washington and Knox.


Chillicothe Township Supervisor Mike Ratcliff says parts of Portage, Lakeview, North and River Lane are also underwater. That includes:


Portage: between High and Proctor


Public Weighs In On Future of Peoria Lakes

Aug 30, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

A coalition of government and environmental groups in the Tri-County region is sailing closer toward finalizing massive projects to improve the Peoria Lakes. The Peoria Lakes Basin Alliance compiled responses from an open house last month that asked residents: “what’s your favorite memory of the Peoria Lakes?”

The adult male skull Peoria County officials discovered in Kingston Mines a month ago is a match with the torso found in Schuyler County last year.

The torso was removed from the Illinois River November 13th. The skull washed ashore off the River in Kingston Mines and was found June 12th.

Illinois officials say Memorial Day visitors to Starved Rock State Park should monitor social media for reports on traffic delays and parking closures.  Department of Natural Resources officials say large crowds are expected at the recreation area near Utica in LaSalle County. 

Tom Winkle /

Flooding has delayed progress on a new bridge that will span the Illinois River at Meredosia in the western part of the state.  The bridge project was scheduled to be finished next year, but Halverson Construction Superintendent Scott Halverson says now that date is 2019.

Flickr Creative Commons/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Federal officials are delaying a proposal for a new line of defense in the Chicago area to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to release a draft plan today for installing new technologies or taking other steps to block the invasive fish's path at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois.  No new release date has been set.

A Canton man told a judge he went "redneck fishing" with a pipe bomb as a tribute to his late grandfather. He hauled in a 90-day jail sentence.  Twenty-six-year-old Marc McCulley's felony conviction also got him 30 months' probation after he was sentenced last week in Peoria County Circuit Court.

Flickr Creative Commons/USFWSmidwest

A study by Illinois researchers provides evidence that the flow of pollutants into the Illinois River decades ago likely drove changes whose effects continue.  The Illinois Natural History Survey says it recently found that mussels in the river had larger shells and grew at faster rates during the 20th Century than during the previous 10 centuries.

In a small pond in Wisconsin,  a recent study took place that could have some big implications when it comes to the spread of Asian Carp.  
The invasive species threatens to take over waterways, like the Great Lakes. It's already become a major problem in the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and elsewhere.

AP - A bald eagle that's taken up residence at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic now has a lifelong reminder of the moment it was rescued from the Illinois River with an injured wing. The eagle now has a name: River.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jessica Vandrick / Flikr Creative Commons

A federal study says small fish can be trapped in water currents created by commercial barges and pulled through electric barriers designed to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says tests show that fish swimming near barges can remain caught between them for substantial distances. 

A new study from the University of Illinois says the level of nitrates from farm fertilizer and other sources that add to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone has dropped in recent years.  Fertilizer is the primary culprit behind the huge, low-oxygen dead zone that kills marine life.

Daniel Schwen

Starved Rock State Park in north-central Illinois had a record nearly 2.5 million visitors last year.  The 2015 attendance is up 8% over 2014's 2.3 million visitors, which was the previous highest-ever attendance. 

A hydrology expert says flood waters have crested or are near cresting on towns along the Illinois River southwest of Peoria.

The Illinois River has 12 new resting stations for kayaks and canoes throughout the region.  The project was funded by a grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation.  The Union Sportman’s Alliance and the West Central Building and Construction Trades Council provided free labor by installing benches and signage.  Alliance Executive Director Fred Myers says the stations are vital to boosting interest and tourism in the region:

As boaters return to Illinois River, AMT advises caution

Jul 31, 2015
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Restrictions on the Illinois River were lifted this week. Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington toured the waterway with Advanced Medical Transport to report on remaining risks to boaters.

AMT Community Resource Manager Josh Bradshaw says strong currents and debris still pose a hazard to boaters despite lower water levels.

“There could be submerged tree trunks and things like that, that boaters could collide with," Bradshaw said. "If you hit one of those at say 40 miles per hour on the river, you could find yourself in need of our services.”

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Flooding along the Illinois River this summer has dampened recreational activities. Marina owners, boat shop workers and campground managers along the river in central Illinois say the high waters have made the season a wash out. National Marine owner Pat Ward in Peoria Heights calls it "a disaster." The National Weather Service has regularly issued flood warnings for the river this summer. Tuesday warnings stretch from north of Peoria to the Mississippi River with Havana and Beardstown particularly hard hit.

3-year-old Peoria boy drowned in the Illinois River

Jul 20, 2015

  Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says an autopsy has determined a 3-year-old boy drowned in the Illinois River.  The body of Ravante L. Ward was found Friday in the river in Peoria. Ingersoll says the boy was one of eight children brought from a daycare center to a riverside recreation center for a day trip.  Ingersoll says the investigation into the child's death is continuing, and a coroner's inquest will be scheduled.

Illinois River Coast Guard update

Jul 6, 2015

The Coast Guard has updated the status advisory for the Illinois River. Recreational vessels are still prohibited from the mouth of the river to Lacon. That constitutes about 187 miles.

The Illinois River is now open for commercial traffic with a “No Wake Zone” in effect from Kampsville to Lacon. The river restrictions remain in place until the Coast Guard issues says otherwise.


Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  LASALLE, Ill. (AP) - Illinois officials have closed the rain-swollen Vermilion and Illinois rivers to recreational boat traffic.      The Vermilion river was closed to boats after a raft carrying five people struck a tree on Sunday and overturned. The rafters swam to shore and had to be rescued.      Illinois Conservation Police Sgt.

Coast Guard expands Illinois River restrictions

Jun 25, 2015

The US Coast Guard’s ‘No Wake Zone’ remains in place for all Illinois River Traffic. Recreation vessels are now banned for nearly 140 miles between Montezuma to Lacon.

Tow boats and commercial vessels are also restricted to daylight only operations from 7:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. between Peoria and Chillicothe. Tow boat and commercial vessels must also minimize wake in that area.

The advisories remain in effect until the Coast Guard issues a cancelation notice.

  The U.S. Coast Guard issued a no wake zone Thursday for the entire Illinois River.

A statement from the Coast Guard says recreation vessels are banned from the river between Havana and about Chillicothe. That’s river mile marker 102 to 190.

Towboat operators are also being told to use caution and are prohibited from laying up from mm 136-138 and mm 166.5 -178.

The advisory will remain in place until the Coast Guard issues a cancelation notice.


Laura Petelle

The City of Peoria is temporarily halting storm recovery efforts so staff can tackle looming flood waters from the Illinois River.  City Public Works Director Mike Rogers says staff have received more than 500 service requests for tree limb removal and other issues from recent storms:

Planning for Peoria's costly CSO fix

Dec 29, 2014

The US EPA is expected to require the City of Peoria to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in sewer improvements. But officials say it’s unclear exactly when the figure will be known.

Asian Carp for dinner

Sep 16, 2014
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Asian Carp have become an accepted part of the Illinois River. The invasive species is estimated to make-up 70 percent of the river’s aquatic life. Now they’re also making their way to the table at one of Peoria’s more sophisticated restaurants. Edge Restaurant in Junction City specializes in farm to table local fresh products and Monday night the menu was Asian Carp. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce attended the dinner event and filed this report:   

Chef Dustin Allen is tossing what he calls a screaming hot pan full of white fish. He’s preparing the second of a four course meal for about 30 people. 

Peoria Upper Island now complete

Aug 1, 2014

A nearly nine-million dollar project to help reduce sedimentation and restore the aquatic habitats along the Illinois River is complete.

Peoria Police ready for July 4th celebration

Jul 2, 2014

Peoria police say they are ready to handle the tens of thousands of people expected at this year’s Red White and Boom event. Organizers of the 4th of July celebration estimate up to 200-thousand people will view Friday’s fireworks display, with many doing it from the Peoria and East Peoria riverfronts.