Photo_Illinois strategy to reduce nutrients

Plan seeks to reduce nutrient pollution from rural and urban sources. Image from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

On July 21, Illinois released a final state plan to prevent nutrients from entering waterways and eventually polluting the Gulf of Mexico. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is considered the state’s most comprehensive and integrated approach to nutrient loss reduction and will help prevent millions of pounds of nutrients — from farm fields, city streets, and wastewater treatment plants — from entering the Gulf each year.

Developed through a collaborative effort led by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the strategy responds to the federal 2008 Gulf of Mexico Action Plan mandating all 12 Mississippi River Basin states to formulate plans for reducing nutrient loading to the Gulf.

The strategy recommends the latest science and best available technologies to guide statewide efforts for reducing nitrogen and phosphorus, outlining voluntary and mandatory practices for urban and agricultural sources. By targeting the most critical areas and building on existing state and industry programs, the state anticipates practices will reduce the amount of nutrients entering Illinois waters by 45%.