Millions of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus from Illinois farm fields, city streets, and wastewater treatment plants are carried down the Mississippi River to the Gulf each year. These nutrients spur algal blooms that leave an area the size of Connecticut all but devoid of oxygen and marine life every summer. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant collaborates with regional, state, and local stakeholders to share practices that can improve water quality.



Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy
This new strategy guides state efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our lakes, streams, and rivers. It outlines best management practices to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus reaching Illinois waterways by 45 percent. The strategy marks the most comprehensive and integrated approach to nutrient loss reduction in the state’s history.

The Great Lakes to Gulf Virtual Observatory
This is an interactive geospatial application that provides water quality information from throughout the Mississippi River watershed. Its long-term datasets and real-time monitoring provide a resource for research, and insight on how the functions of the river are managed. Users can discover, visualize, and download nutrient data and other parameters.

Lawn to Lake
Lawn and garden chemicals applied in the Lake Michigan basin can wind up in the water, polluting the lakes with pesticides and excess fertilizer. Lawn to Lake promotes healthy landscape practices, offering communities, landscapers, residents, and others, tips for maintaining healthy lawns and landscapes without over-relying on chemicals.

Purdue Rainscaping Education
Rainscaping works at the resident and community scales to prevent pollution from reaching water bodies by directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. Rainscaping practices can range from simple solutions to more complex engineered systems.

Research Projects

Evaluation of phosphorus loading following a manure spill and an in-stream sediment amendment to reduce phosphorus desorption
Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue University

A web-based tool to measure environmental quality standards for phosphorus in water at Lake Erie Antony Acushla, Purdue University

Nutrient fluxes in tile drains and ditches draining Midwestern agriculture fields fertilized with manure
Chad Jafvert, Purdue University


The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

The Southern Lake Michigan Rain Garden Manual

Sustainable Lawn & Landscape Practices for Communities


Purdue Extension Rainscaping Resources
UCONN Rain Garden App
Clear Choices Clean Water
U.S. EPA: Nutrient Pollution


Eliana Brown
Outreach Specialist

Kara Salazar
Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Purdue University
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033
University of Illinois Extensio
Sea Grant
Purdue University