Efforts continue to reduce nutrient loss here in Illinois.
The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is non-regulatory and is solely based on voluntary participation. On average, 410 million pounds leave the state per year and the strategy aims for a 45 percent reduction to 222 million pounds. Recommended practices include split nitrogen application, use of inhibitors and cover crops.
“We have a policy workgroup that oversees the strategy implementation,” explains Trevor Sample with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Sample’s job is to keep everyone engaged as various groups work to implement the strategy. This is a partnership between the Illinois EPA, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and University of Illinois Extension.
Around $54 million was spent on implementing the strategy in 2016. EPA partners with USGS to measure flow of nitrogen and phosphorus at one time and what the loads are.
“We are covering about 75 percent of the state that drains to these sites,” Sample noted.
According to Sample, they have noticed a decrease in nitrates but an increase in phosphorus leaving.
Sample works with the Illinois EPA’s Watershed Management section and can be reached at 217-782-3362.