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A Boykin spaniel with an ornate box turtle in its mouth waits to hand it over. (Cathy Bazzoni / Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo)

Specially trained “turtle dogs” took part in a field study of threatened ornate box turtles at Nachusa Grasslands, one of the species last homes in Illinois.

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In this June 26, 2010 file photo, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Director P.J. Hahn rescues a heavily oiled bird from the waters of Barataria Bay, La. (AP Photo / Gerald Herbert, File)

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed revoking a rule imposed under former President Donald Trump that weakened the government’s power to enforce a century-old law that protects most U.S. bird species.

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A UIC professor has received a grant from NASA to search for "legacy wetlands." (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Huge swaths of the Midwest were drained to make way for agriculture. UIC’s Kimberly Van Meter is harnessing NASA imagery to hunt for the region’s lost wetlands, the first step toward strategic restoration.

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A swamp at Round Pond Nature Preserve. (Courtesy Illinois Nature Preserves Commission)

Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves was founded last year to increase support for and restoration of the state’s most precious lands, which boast more biodiversity than the Grand Canyon and are more endangered than the Great Barrier Reef.

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A section of open beach is being added to the protected Montrose Dune Natural Area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Conservationists are celebrating a big win for wildlife along Chicago’s lakefront, where the expansion of a “treasured” natural area will give more room to some high-profile occupants: a pair of endangered Great Lake piping plovers, Monty and Rose.

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A plover parent and chick at Montrose Beach in 2019, courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium. (Credit: Susan Szeszol)

Shedd Aquarium is hosting a pair of cleanup and habitat restoration days at 63rd Street beach, where 12 acres of dunes have attracted piping plovers, among other bird species.  

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In this Nov. 20, 2020, file photo, a bald eagle grabs a fish from the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam, in Havre De Grace, Md. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez)

The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said in a report Wednesday.

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Great Lakes piping plovers, like the one pictured, need more protected habitat along Chicago's lakefront, advocates say. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Ald. James Cappleman has joined the chorus of supporters lobbying the Chicago Park District to set aside a section of Montrose Beach as protected habitat for Monty and Rose, Chicago’s beloved pair of Great Lakes piping plovers.

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(Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay)

The second annual event offers simple ways to conserve water in advance of World Water Day.

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South Works. (Eric Allix Rogers / Preservation Chicago)

The lakefront is arguably Chicago’s crown jewel, but that status is threatened, according to Preservation Chicago, which placed the lakefront on its annual endangered list for 2021, citing threats including development of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and erosion from rising lake levels.

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Midewin, the first national tallgrass prairie in the U.S., was established Feb. 10, 1996, celebrating its 25th anniversary. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The 18,000-acre restoration site continues to evolve, as this home of the former Joliet Arsenal gradually returns to its native prairie state. 

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Lauren Umek of the Park District and research assistant Alifya Saify at Big Marsh Park. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

Portions of Big Marsh Park were once heaped high with waste from the area’s now defunct steel mills. The soil has since been remediated, and now the Chicago Park District is working to find out if native plants can grow and thrive there.  

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on climate change and green jobs, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst of climate change, President Joe Biden signed executive orders Wednesday to transform the nation’s heavily fossil-fuel powered economy into a clean-burning one, pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.

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Headwaters of Bubbly Creek and the Racine Avenue Pump Station. (Courtesy of USGS)

Congress authorized a plan from the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the Chicago River’s South Fork, a 1.25-mile stretch more familiarly known as Bubbly Creek. Now actual dollars need to follow. 

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In this Aug. 28, 2019 file photo, a Monarch butterfly flies to Joe Pye weed, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty)

The problem, sometimes called the insect apocalypse, is like a jigsaw puzzle. And scientists say they still don’t have all the pieces, so they have trouble grasping its enormity and complexity and getting the world to notice and do something. 

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Montrose Beach Dune Natural Area on the left, and the proposed section of Montrose Beach that would be incorporated into the protected area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago’s birding community is already preparing for the return of Monty and Rose, the piping plovers that captured national attention two summers ago when they made the surprising choice to nest on Chicago's lakefront. But will their favored habitat be secure in 2021?