The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

EXCESS NUTRIENT LOSS from agricultural runoff, point sources, and urban stormwater can cause downstream water quality issues. Illinois is a significant contributor of nitrate-nitrogen and total phosphorus that reach the Gulf of Mexico. There, they can fuel algal growth, creating a large bloom that depletes oxygen when it decomposes. Stakeholders across Illinois have partnered to develop and implement the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and best management practices to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus reaching Illinois waterways by 45 percent by 2025.  Click on any of the images below to learn more.


NLRS Toolkit

This toolkit is comprised of externally linked education resources valuable for learning and teaching about nutrient losses and Illinois’ strategy to reduce nutrients in our waterways. Use the filters to narrow your search by AUDIENCE, KNOWLEDGE LEVEL, TOPIC, LEARNING MODE, and TIME TO COMPLETE. This toolkit was developed with support from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Agriculture.

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Field Trips at NGRREC

The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

These expert-guided, in-person and virtual classroom activities and field excursions are tailored to grades 3-12 and serve as opportunities for students to connect with an expert and learn about water resources.

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Nutrient Pollution: The Sources and Solutions: Agriculture

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This summary geared toward high school and beyond discusses agricultural nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to food production systems as well as losses to waterways, highlighting several best management practices that agricultural producers use.

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Preventing Runoff Into the Mississippi River

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

This short video (1:45) introduces the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's partnerships with agricultural producers to implement best management practices that reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural lands into waterways.

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Nutrient Inputs

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This 2-minute video provides an overview of the national nutrient pollution problem, explaining its sources and its impacts to health, environment, recreation, and tourism.

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The Story of Hypoxia

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This infographic brochure explains the conditions that create hypoxia.

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What is Eutrophication?

National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

This 1-minute video explains how nutrient runoff leads to harmful algal blooms and dead zones in coastal waters.

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The “dead zone” of the Gulf of Mexico, Diving the Dead Zone: Part 1, CBS This Morning – Massive dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

TED and CBS featured by N.O.A.A.

A TED video and two CBS features ranging 3 -18 minutes present the 'dead zone' in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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National Water Quality Monitoring Council’s Water Quality Portal (WQP)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Water Quality Portal (WQP) is the database query tool for anyone, including the public, to retrieve water monitoring data from the U.S. EPA water quality record warehouse.

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Nutrient Pollution: The Sources and Solutions: Stormwater

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This is a summary of the nutrient pollution sources and solutions in the urban stormwater sector.

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A Drop’s Life

DC Clean Rivers Project

This 4-minute cartoon focuses on the fate of a raindrop in DC's combined sewer system and in DC's Clean Rivers Project storage and treatment systems.

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A Drop’s Life – The Sequel (Updated)

DC Clean Rivers Project

This 4-minute cartoon focuses on the fate of rain drops that encounter green infrastructure projects in DC's Clean Rivers Project.

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Nutrient Pollution: The Sources and Solutions: Wastewater

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This summary discusses the various sources of N & P into wastewater treatment and home septic systems. It discusses the various strategies used to decrease nutrient losses into the environment.

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Ag in the Classroom’s selected Nutrients for Life lessons

Ag in the Classroom's selected Nutrientsforlife.org elessons

This 5-lesson series on nutrients and soil science is designed for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 to learn about essential plant nutrients, properties of soils, plant-soil interactions, plant nutrient deficiencies, and fertilizers and the environment.

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Digging Into Nutrients

Ag in the Classroom's selected Nutrientsforlife.org elessons

These two 40-minute lessons explore plant nutrient requirements as well as why and how we manage nutrients in the soil.

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Concentrate on the Solution

Ag in the Classroom's selected Nutrientsforlife.org elessons

This 50-minute lesson uses a lab (ppm in solutions) to explore plant nutrient requirements and best management practices for fertilizing plants.

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Know Your Nitrogen

Ag in the Classroom's selected Nutrientsforlife.org elessons

These two 60-minute lessons use a lab to teach how farmers precisely match fertilizer application to meet crop needs and reduce residual soil nitrogen.

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Can We Have Too Much of a Good Thing?

Ag in the Classroom's selected Nutrientsforlife.org elessons

This lesson and lab helps students to understand that plants require proper concentrations of nutrients and that concentrations too low or too high can have damaging effects.

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The Scoop on Soil

Ag in the Classroom

This lesson series for grades 3-8 helps students understand that soil contains nutrients, nutrients are plant food, and earthworms help make nutrients more available to plants.

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Illinois Ag Mag: Dairy

Ag in the Classroom

This 4-page, colorful, ag magazine contains information and activities to help students learn about ag and ag careers. This issue focuses on dairy farming, and briefly touches on dairy farming as a nutrient source for crops and humans.

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Illinois Ag Mag: Pork

Ag in the Classroom

This 4-page, colorful, ag magazine contains information and activities to help students learn about ag and ag careers. This issue focuses on pork production, and summarizes nutrient management when using manure.

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Illinois Ag Mag: Corn

Ag in the Classroom

This 4-page, colorful, ag magazine contains information and activities to help students learn about ag and ag careers. This issue focuses on corn production, touching on fertilizer management.

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Illinois Ag Mag: Soil

Ag in the Classroom

This 4-page, colorful, ag magazine contains information and activities to help students learn about ag and ag careers. This issue focuses on soil and contains facts about nitrogen and phosphorus.

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Terra Nova Reader: Soil Uses

Illinois Ag in the Classroom

This classroom reader highlights why soil is important, gives a historical timeline of important soil discoveries and spotlights careers in soil management. It also contains a section on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers, as well as a classroom activity for learning about soil texture.

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Soil Information, Lesson Plans, Fun Activities, & Scoop on Soil Game

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

This suite of lessons, presentation materials, games, and activities will help students understand the basics of soil function, soil biology, and the nutrient and water cycles.

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The Field Museum’s Underground Adventure

Field Museum

The Field Museum's Underground Adventure is an immersive exhibit where the visitors shrink to 1/100th size to experience the underground life of the soil, learning about soil function, biology, and nutrient and water cycling.

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Traveling Nitrogen

Windows to the Universe from the National Earth Science Teachers Association

In this classroom activity, students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle, experiencing its varied pathways and its importance to living things.

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Dr. Dirt: The Sponge Model of Soil

Clay Robinson, CPSSc, Dr. Dirt, PG, Ph.D.

These six lessons help students learn about water and nutrient cycling using 'soil as a sponge' experiments to explain saturation runoff, infiltration, water holding capacity, percolation/drainage, and engineering/bearing capacity.

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Nutrients for Life Foundation Video Library

Nutrients for Life Foundation

These 1- to 15-minute elementary through high school curriculum videos feature the importance of nutrients in feeding the world. It features supplemental videos about nutrient science used in various types of farming and in sports turf management.

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Nitrogen Cycle Challenge

Nutrients for Life Foundation

This online game tests knowledge of the nitrogen cycle and explains how each part of the cycle matters to our garden and farm crops.

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h2know Section 4 Agricultural Research and Management Practices

Nutrients for Life Foundation

These short videos, factsheets, articles, and activities with datasets explain agriculture's 4R Strategy and the continuous edge-of-field research that quantifies the impact of best management practices for reducing N & P runoff.

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Nutrients for Life E-Lessons

Nutrients for Life Foundation

This compendium of videos, demonstrations, games, quizzes, readers, and lessons for k-continuing education are science-based resources about the vital role of fertilizer in feeding our world.

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h2know Section 3 Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed Dynamics

Nutrients for Life Foundation

This 5-minute video discusses the basics of a topography, surface runoff, and watershed areas, then prompts the learner to think about how land uses and pollution sources impact runoff and water quality.

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Soil is a Filter: Annotated Video

Clay Robinson, CPSSc, Dr. Dirt, PG, Ph.D.

This 2-minute video demonstrates the ability of soil to improve water quality.

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Soil is a Filter Lesson

Clay Robinson, CPSSc, Dr. Dirt, PG, Ph.D.

This lesson and lab experiment demonstrate the abilities of soils to physically and chemically filter water pollution.

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Pipe-Up Game

American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation

This pdf, geared to ages 8+, features four game boards that help explain water and sewer systems and the best management practices to ensure clean water effluent.

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Following the Flow: An Inside Look at Wastewater Treatment

Water Environment Federation

This 11-page pamphlet provides an inside look at a wastewater treatment plant. It includes photos, infographics, reading material, and a glossary.

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Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours

American Bottoms

Spark interest in science and community stewardship by exploring the processes and careers at American Bottoms Wastewater Treatment Plant. Available to formal and non-formal groups ages 10+, tours teach about treating wastewater before releasing clean effluent to our waterways.

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Build Your Own Rain Barrel

University of Nebraska Extension

This Stormwater Activity Sheet teaches the basics about urban stormwater runoff, water conservation, and how to build and use your own rain barrel.

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Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This 9-minute video features urban green infrastructure practices to manage stormwater runoff in a sustainable manner by mimicking the natural water cycle to reduce flooding, protect water quality.

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Water Initiative

American Farmland Trust

These showcased watershed projects, environmental and economic tracking tools, and policy efforts are all focused on improving water quality through agricultural best management practices.

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Leading Watershed Projects

American Farmland Trust

These showcased projects describe agricultural best management practices that reduce nutrient inputs for food production and reduce nutrient losses to waterways.

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Soil Health Case Study Methods and Toolkit

American Farmland Trust

These methods and tools are used for researching the economic and environmental benefits of agricultural best management practices.

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Soil Health Case Studies

Farmland Information Center

These agricultural producer case-studies in IL and OH demonstrate the environmental and economic benefits of using best management practices to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs and losses.

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Nitrogen Management

Illinois Council on Best Management Practices

This overview of nitrogen management, Maximum Return to Nitrogen calculator, split nitrogen applications, N-Watch program and N-Rate Trials summarizes best management practices agricultural producers use to decrease nitrogen inputs and losses from lands to waterways.

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The Science of the Strategy

Illinois Council on Best Management Practices

This video series (3 minutes each) discusses the science of the Illinois NLRS and nitrogen and phosphorus loss in specific watersheds throughout Illinois.

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Conservation Programs and Tools

Illinois Council on Best Management Practices

This overview of Conservation Programs and tools used by agricultural producers throughout Illinois is helpful for understanding the range of ways agricultural producers implement and fund best management practices to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs and losses from lands to waterways.

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What is the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy?

Illinois Council on Best Management Practices

This overview of the Illinois NLRS discusses nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural lands to waterways and the need for using best management practices.

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How To Install A Rain Barrel

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This 4-minute video provides a step-by-step demonstration of proper rain barrel installation.

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Carbondale Urbanized Stormwater Management Viewer

Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, Illinois E.P.A.

This Story Map presents a connected network of Carbondale Urbanized Area water bodies and stormwater management needs. It discusses runoff and water pollution sources and maps the area's best management practices.

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Carbondale Urbanized Area Stormwater Management Pamphlet

Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission

This pamphlet features best management practices that homeowners and businesses can implement to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality.

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Full Sun Rain Garden – A Native Planting Guide for Sunny Rain Garden Beds

Illinois E.P.A., Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, University of Illinois Extension

This brochure guides homeowners and businesses in the best practices of rain garden design using native, sun-loving plants to manage stormwater runoff.

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Illinois Native Plants for the Home Landscape

Illinois E.P.A., Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, University of Illinois Extension

This brochure guides homeowners and businesses in selecting native landscaping and garden plants which require less fertilizer applications and use less water.

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Stormwater@Home Video Series

University of Illinois Extension

These 2- to 6- minute episodes introduce stormwater best management practices that homeowners and businesses can install to reduce runoff and improve water quality, including rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement, green roofs, and home and business property care practices.

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Purdue Rainscaping Education Program

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Purdue University Extension

This program provides training and resources in rain garden planning, installation, and maintenance for homes, businesses, and small public spaces. The format is designed as instructional and experiential professional development for Master Gardeners and for professionals in the fields of conservation, stormwater management, and landscape design.

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Green Infrastructure

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

These showcased Chicago-area green infrastructure projects are reducing stormwater runoff to combined sewer systems, reducing combined sewer overflows to local waterways, and improving water quality.

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Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant video tour

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This 8-minute tour of a Chicago-area water reclamation plant highlights its functions of flood mitigation and conversion of wastewater into valuable resources such as clean water, phosphorus, biosolids, and natural gas.

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Natural Lawn Care

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

These recommendations, brochures, and guides for homeowners, landscape architects, and city planning professionals focus on residential/business/commercial stormwater best management practices for low-fertilizer input lawns and gardens, as well as drainage treatments and solutions.

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The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Education and Outreach

The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Partnerships with SCARCE and The Conservation Foundation

This water quality and pollution prevention education program provides instruction and materials for DuPage County schools, including access to comprehensive pdf slide decks on the topic of urban stormwater problems and solutions, as well as access to rain barrels, watershed models, and groundwater models.

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The County of DuPage Storm Drain Medallion Project

The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Partnership with SCARCE

This pollution prevention and community stewardship program places storm drain curb markers to raise awareness of the direct connection between storm drains and our streams, rivers, and lakes.

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The County of DuPage Water Quality Flag Program

The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Partnership with SCARCE

This pollution prevention awareness and community stewardship program incentivizes schools, business, and organizations to complete urban best management practices that promote clean stormwater runoff.

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The County of DuPage Green STEM: Water Dynamics Program

The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Partnership with SCARCE

This professional development program for DuPage County educators tours three sites where educators learn about water quality from experts on-the-job. It concludes with hands-on training using classroom tools.

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The County of DuPage Living Water – REAL 695 Program

The County of DuPage Stormwater Management Partnership with SCARCE

This 5-day professional development program for 3rd-12th grade teachers and non-formal educators visits sites from Lake Michigan to the DuPage River, immersing participants in man-made and natural methods used to purify, transport, store, absorb, and treat our water resources. This summer graduate-credit course is designed to facilitate STEM, NGSS-aligned classroom instruction.

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IAITC Resource Guide to Water

Ag in the Classroom

This NGSS-aligned compendium of water lessons includes general information, vocabulary, quotes, and facts about water, water cycle, and sustainable water use. It includes a list of suggested children's books.

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Water Science School

United States Geological Survey

This Water Science School is designed for all ages and includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced infographics and diagrams, interactive simulations, reading material, activities, and tools to explore water data and maps. Topics include the water basics, properties, cycle, surface water, groundwater, water quality, and water use. A water cycle infographic is available in over 60 languages.

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What is a deadzone?

National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

This site provides an overview of eutrophication, hypoxia, nutrient pollution, and the national programs tasked with combating hypoxia through advancing the science, detection, monitoring, prediction, and mitigation of hypoxic zones and harmful algal blooms.

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Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia 2

Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This site provides a clear, concise, well-organized display of the 1985-present long term gulf hypoxia research project. It includes research logs, datasets, analyses, conclusions, and press releases. The site provides an overview of hypoxia, and the instrumentation used in moored, transect, and shelf-wide cruise data collection. Data displays include daily logs, photo galleries, mapped and graphed data, interactive maps, and more.

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Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force: Learn about Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This site includes an overview of hypoxia, an explanation of the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin, maps and summaries of the long term gulf hypoxia research, and an overview of nutrient pollution. The history, activities, publications, and resources of the Tasks Force are also available.

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Articles and Activities for Middle School Students to Learn about Nonpoint Source Pollution

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

These lessons include 2-page articles, activities, and worksheets. Topics include water pollutants from boaters and marinas, agricultural nutrient runoff, urban stormwater and flooding, residential pollution and stormwater runoff, citizen science and stream monitoring, and watershed and stream order.

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Nutrient Pollution

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This site discusses the problem of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and the impacts on public health, the environment, and the economy. It summarizes individual actions that can reduce nutrient pollution to fresh and coastal waters across the U.S. It also provides an overview of all of the outreach, programs, regulations, partnerships, financing, and research that the E.P.A. is conducting to reduce nutrient pollution.

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Sizing Up the Lake Erie Dead Zone

Michigan Sea Grant

This lesson explores why and how dead zones affect aquatic organisms and how human activity may contribute to the creation of dead zones. Learners use Lake Erie data to estimate size and location of a dead zone and communicate conclusions using graphs and maps.

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Nonpoint Source (NPS) Outreach Toolbox

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This toolbox was compiled for organizations interested in educating the public on nonpoint source pollution or stormwater runoff. It provides a variety of guides, surveys, and resources for media campaigns, slogans, tv, radio, print ads, and more, to help develop an effective and targeted outreach campaign on any of six nonpoint source pollution topics: general stormwater and storm drain awareness, lawn and garden care, pet care, septic system care, motor vehicle care, and household chemicals and waste.

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Streamer

U.S. Geological Survey

Use this interactive map and accompanying datasets to visualize and understand where water flows. Trace upstream and downstream from your location, generate reports on the stream characteristics and the places it passes through, and view real-time streamflow. Some locations link to the USGS National Water Information System and provide extensive historic water quality data reports.

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Teach Engineering STEM Curriculum for K-12: Introduction to Water Chemistry

Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder

This NGSS-aligned lesson introduces water chemistry, using the topic of maintaining unpolluted drinking water supplies. It explains sources and consequences of poor water quality and describes new and existing water remediation technologies. Available resources include instructional PowerPoint, student worksheet, and links to lab activities in chromatography, activated carbon filters, and water treatment pH.

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National Water Information System Mapper

U.S. Geological Survey

This interactive map lets the user view and download historic and real-time water data from over 13,500 monitoring stations nationwide. These data include surface water streamflow, suspended sediments, and field and lab water quality parameters.

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Soil Water Lesson Plan

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

This lesson demonstrates the role of soil in water and nutrient cycling. A soil infiltration/runoff activity is used to explain infiltration, erosion, and nutrient loss. It includes a student factsheet and worksheet.

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Hands on the Land Environmental Monitoring: Water Quality Monitoring

and U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Hands on the Land Network, N.O.A.A. National Marine Sanctuaries, National Environmental Education Foundation, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This monitoring database tool is for field educators who need a place to store their data. A 13-minute tutorial demonstrates how to graph exported Hands on the Land environmental monitoring data that has already been collected by students from numerous sites across the nation. The water quality monitoring section provides an overview of watersheds and what macroinvertebrates can tell us about water quality, along with access to all of the water quality parameter datasets.

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The Science of Soil Health: Using Cover Crops to Soak Up Nutrients for the Next Crop

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

In this 3-minute interview, an agronomist in the Chesapeake Bay watershed explains how and when agricultural nutrient losses occur and how the best management practice of cover crops is used to prevent nutrient loss by soaking up nutrients to make them available for the next crop.

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Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council

Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council, University of Illinois Agricultural & Biological Engineering

This organization pursues, prioritizes, funds, evaluates, and publishes nutrient research and conducts outreach through educational programs to ensure adoption of agricultural best practices to optimize nutrient efficiency, maximize crop yields, and protect water quality by minimizing nutrient loss. View their research projects and video spotlights.

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Erosion table for research and public engagement

Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council

This erosion table helps visualize topography, drainage, and the impacts of land management decisions on drainage runoff and soil erosion. It facilitates visualization of nutrient losses from land to water bodies. It is designed to help ag producers visualize and implement strategies to reduce nutrient losses from farms to waterways.

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Chicago Area Waterways Water Quality Data

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This story map displays Chicago Area Waterways water quality data including fish populations, dissolved oxygen, and other chemical and biological water quality parameters.

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How the MWRD Protects Water Quality

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This brief history and pictorial overview of water quality monitoring and treatment processes explains how the MWRD protects the Chicago Area Waterways.

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Nutrients recovered by MWRD lead to new resources and cleaner environment for the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This press release covers the world's largest nutrient recovery facility located in Cicero, Illinois.

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Chicago Area Waterways Water Quality Monitoring

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

These data for the Chicago Area Waterways include habitat, sediment, invertebrate, and fish metrics as well as many other biological and chemical water quality parameters. The site includes waterways maps, reports, and data archives.

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Aqua Water Quality

Aqua America Inc.

This database provides annual drinking water quality reports, or Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), for customers served by Aqua America.

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Understanding Your Sewer

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

These descriptions and infographics provide an overview of the Chicago Area sewer system, explain the differences between separate and combined systems, and discuss ways to prevent backups.

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Recovering Resources, Transforming Water

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This brief overview of MWRD's Resource Recovery programs describes the collection of municipal, industrial, trade, agricultural, and other commercial wastes used to produce composted biosolids and renewable energy (biogas). It describes the reduction of nutrient losses into our waterways.

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Farming for Ecosystem Services

Michigan State University

This standardized lesson for grades 6-12 lets students explore ecosystem services and farming in 50 minutes.

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How’s My Waterway?

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This database and accompanying factsheet allow the user to explore water quality by location.

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IDNR Conservation CREP Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

This site provides a summary of Illinois NLRS and of the tracking and reporting of agricultural best management practices in Illinois. It highlights IDNR's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program used to protect and restore riparian corridors to reduce nutrient runoff from non-point sources.

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Smart Wetlands

Smart Wetlands

This organization facilitates wetland implementation to reduce nutrient loss from tile-drained cropland in central Illinois.

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How Illinois Soybean Growers Conserve the Land, Water, and Air for Future Generations

Illinois Soybean Association

This factsheet provides a summary of best management practices used by soybean growers.

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Improving Old MacDonald’s Farm: Protecting streams from “fruited plains”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This farm article, intended for middle school students, introduces Gulf Hypoxia, discusses animal waste runoff and water pollution, and explores best management solutions.

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Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Podcast

University of Illinois Extension & WILL Radio

These 10- to 30-minute podcast episodes explore a variety of Illinois NLRS ag-related topics.

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Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council Videos

Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council

These videos range from short, 1-minute clips to hour-plus webinars featuring nutrient reduction research and agricultural best management practices.

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Solutions to minimize phosphorus loss through subsurface tile drains

Cooperative Extension Network, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension

This factsheet explains how and why phosphorus is lost through tile drainage and best management options to reduce phosphorus movement from fields.

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Soil Fertility

Soil Science Society of America

This basic information about crops and soil fertility touches on nutrient deficiencies affecting plant growth. It explains soil tests and nutrient management.

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Soy Sources

Illinois Soybean Association

These lesson plans, videos, factsheets, and activities provide an overview of soybean production and use, including information on the pod-to-plate process, history, equipment, science, production statistics, and careers.

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Pod to Plate, Read Aloud by Betsey Emerick

Illinois Soybean Association

This 5-minute video features a read-aloud storybook "Pod to Plate: The Life Cycle of Soybeans."

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Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Reports

Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, University of Illinois Extension

The Illinois NLRS Biennial Reports document the continued progress being made in Illinois to reduce nutrient losses from multiple sources to improve water quality in Illinois waterways, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Flood Prevention 101

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

These tips describe ways to prevent home flooding and sewer backups during rainstorms. Tips include information on home landscaping and green infrastructure. The page describes how the MWRD's deep tunnel system is designed to reduce flooding, sewer overflows, and water pollution.

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The Cycle of Stormwater

Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, Illinois E.P.A.

This pdf infographic shows how rainwater drains to our waterways and lists some of the pollutants that can be carried in runoff.

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EPA: The Scoop on Stormwater

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This 2-minute video describes how stormwater drains, how it can carry pollutants to our waterways, and ways green infrastructure can reduce water pollution.

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EPA Lawn Care Tips: Controlling water runoff

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This 2-minute video highlights ways that homeowners can control water runoff and take care of lawns and gardens.

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Water Careers

Water Environment Federation

This 2-period lesson provides a format for students to research water careers and is applicable to Science, Language Arts, Art, Social Studies, and Math.

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Careers in Water

American Water Works Association

These career path profiles provide descriptions for water and water resources recovery jobs. Each profile links to a database that helps users search the U.S. and Canada to learn about local educational, training, and certification requirements, as well as scholarships and local resources available to launch careers.

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EPA WaterSense for Kids: A Day in the Life of a Drop

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This is a compilation of online interactives, including a quiz, student worksheets, and a dataset to help students. Topics covered are water sources, uses, environment and human health effects, pollutant pathways, and individual stewardship.

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Stormwater Walk

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

This activity lets students grade their school or home based on its stormwater infrastructure.

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How Much Water Runs Off?

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

This activity lets elementary and middle school students use a rain gauge to calculate how much water runs off their school or home.

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Nutrient Uptake Activity

Dr. Dirt

This activity for middle school and high school shows how nutrients can be taken up into plants by feeding white flowers water with food coloring.

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H2Know

Nutrients for Life Foundation

This interactive site lets high schoolers and the public learn about harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

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To Drink or Not to Drink

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

This activity for elementary and middle school explains how towns and cities treat water for drinking.

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Wastewater Treatment

Water Environment Federation

This standardized lesson for high school covers 2-3 class periods and explains wastewater treatment processes.

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Following the Flow: An Inside Look at Wastewater Treatment

Water Environment Federation

This reading material geared towards the public covers wastewater treatment in detail.

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From the Field: Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades

Chesapeake Bay Program

This 5-minute video explains the importance of upgrades to wastewater treatment plants in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Internship Programs

American Bottoms

This high school and college internship program provides hands-on experience in the point source sector at the American Bottoms Wastewater Treatment Facility in East St. Louis.

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A Healthy Waterway Begins with You

Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District

This reading material for the public provides background on water quality and tips for protecting our waterways.

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IWEA Committees: Students and Young Professionals

Illinois Water Environment Association

This reading material provides information on the opportunities for students and young professionals interested in careers in water quality.

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Water Palooza

Water Environment Federation

This collection of simple, hands-on activities for elementary school will help to educate children about water.

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The Dirty Water Project

Teach Engineering

This activity lets elementary and middle school students test different methods - aeration and filtering - for removing pollutants from water. Working in teams, they design, build, and test their own water filters - essentially conducting their own "dirty water projects."

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What in the World is a Watershed?

Ag in the Classroom

This activity shows students how we can work together to protect the quality and quantity of water for our use.

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Illinois Ag in the Classroom Watersheds

Ag in the Classroom

This 2-minute video provides an introduction to watersheds.

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Ness’ Watershed Detective Agency: A Water Quality Activity Book

Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission

This activity book for elementary school students teaches about watersheds and water quality.

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Illinois Ag Mag: Water

Ag in the Classroom

This magazine highlights the importance of water, including watersheds, the water cycle, and water careers.

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Office of Water Prediction

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This dataset/visualization tool lets students explore waterways in the U.S.

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Give Water a Hand

University of Wisconsin

This activity and guide gives youth the resources they need to solve real water problems in their own communities. Provides success stories, guides, and step-by-step instructions.

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Water Quality by Topic

U.S. Geological Survey

This dataset provides information on water quality by various topics, such as pollutant type, sources, uses, and properties of water.

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Lawn to Lake Guidebook

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

This guidebook provides information for homeowners to make decisions regarding lawncare.

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Soil Health Producer Profiles

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

This site highlights 14 agriculture producers who use cover crops and soil management. The producer profiles share how they are “Unlocking the Secrets in the Soil."

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Conservation Drainage

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

This reading material highlights the conservation drainage BMPs for agriculture.

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Source Water Assessment Program Factsheets

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

This database lets users look up their source water quality by community.

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A River Runs Through It – Earth Science GeoInquiries CF

ESRI ArcGIS

This collection of 15 web-mapping activities use ArcGIS Online to teach watershed concepts. The activities use a standard inquiry-based instructional model, are NGSS-aligned, require only 15 minutes for a teacher to deliver, and are device agnostic.

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What is the Water Cycle?

BioEd Online

This standardized lesson teaches students about the water cycle.

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Ravine Education Program

Park District of Highland Park

This curriculum guide for grades 4-8 features activities, lessons, and materials for teaching about ravines.

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Lawn to Lake

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

This collection of public outreach cards demonstrates the concepts of the Lawn to Lake program.

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Illinois NLRS 2017 Biennial Report

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

This report offers a high-level summary of nutrient-related activities in Illinois during 2015 and 2016.

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Illinois NLRS 2019 Biennial Report

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

This report offers a high-level summary of nutrient-related activities in Illinois during 2017 and 2018.

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Suffocating Waters

Science News for Students

This article geared towards high schoolers provides an introduction to hypoxic zones, what causes them, and how to improve them.

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Virtual Programs

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

This program lets anyone connect with experts at the National Mississippi River Museum on a variety of related topics.

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Mississippi River Webcam

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

This webcam provides a live view of the Mississippi River from the top of the River Museum's National River Center.

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Mapping U.S. Watersheds

National Geographic

This standardized lesson for grades 3-6 has students identify U.S. watersheds and map the Mississippi River and its major tributaries.

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Understanding Your Sewer

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This illustrated brochure provides an overview of the connection between our home, business, or industry sewer drains and a wastewater treatment facility. It also provides an overview of the combined sewer-stormwater systems in the Chicago area and explains how they operate during rainstorms.

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This American Land: Farming Upstream

American Bottoms

These pictures and descriptions offer static tours of the biological and physical-chemical steps used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater resulting in clean effluent discharge to the Mississippi River.

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The Water Cycle

Environmental Protection Agency

This adobe flash interactive is a 7-minute narrated model of the water cycle featuring basic concepts and vocabulary. It contains clickable parts that simulate rain, surface and water table storage, evaporation and transpiration, and cloud formation.

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National Water Quality Information System

U.S. Geological Survey

The USGS collects and analyzes chemical, physical, and biological properties of water, sediment and tissue samples from across the Nation. Download historic data or visit the National Water Dashboard to view and use real-time water quantity and quality data.

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Great Lakes To Gulf Data Stories and Virtual Observatory

Lewis & Clark Community College, The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications

These visual NLRS data stories and the interactive geostreaming map application allow users to explore and compare water quality monitoring data aggregated from multiple sources that monitor the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Users can select sites, graph specific parameters, and download water quality data.

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Facility and Virtual Tours

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

MWRD staff give education and outreach presentations to all ages about how they treat wastewater, manage stormwater, and improve water quality throughout the region.

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What’s Your Strategy?

Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom

This curriculum for Pre-K through 8th grade features four NLRS-related lessons: Wad-a-Watershed, Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Build a Bioreactor, Making Clean Water, as well as suggested reading materials and a link to What Illinois Farmers Are Doing: Conservation Story Map.

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The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center

The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

This hub of research, education and outreach programming for k-college, public and Educator Profssional Development audiences, specializes in big river ecology and offers education programs and activities aimed at sustaining high quality water resources.

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There are no items that could be found to match this criteria.