The deadline for Illinois residents to review and respond to the state’s plan to keep nutrients from farm fields, city streets, and wastewater treatment plants out of our waterways is just around the corner. All comments must be emailed to or mailed to NLRS Comments, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Water, 1021 North Grand Ave. East, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794 by Jan. 24. 

From The Helm

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy outlines a suite of voluntary and mandatory practices for reducing phosphorus and nitrogen losses—the primary drivers of algal blooms that lower oxygen levels—from both urban and agricultural sources. By targeting the most critical watersheds and building on existing state and industry programs, these practices are expected to ultimately reduce the amount of nutrients reaching Illinois waterways by 45 percent. 

“It’s the most comprehensive and integrated approach to nutrient loss reduction in the state’s history,” said Brian Miller, director of IISG and the Illinois Water Resources Center (IWRC). “But what really sets the plan apart is how it was developed. State agencies, agriculture, non-profit organizations, scientists, and wastewater treatment professionals were all at the table working together to create this strategy.”

The collaborative effort began over a year ago in response to the federal 2008 Gulf of Mexico Action Plan, which calls for all 12 states in the Mississippi River Basin to develop plans to reduce nutrient loading to the Gulf. The state process was spearheaded by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and facilitated by IWRC and IISG.  Read more

This and other stories from the Winter 2015 Helm are also available at our Newsroom or on Issuu

***Image: Breakdown of nutrient loads leaving the state in rivers.