Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Implementation

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy guides state efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our lakes, streams, and rivers. The strategy lays out a comprehensive suite of best management practices for reducing nutrient loads from wastewater treatment plants and urban and agricultural runoff. Recommended activities target the state’s most critical watersheds and are based on the latest science and best-available technology. It also calls for more collaboration between state and federal agencies, cities, non-profits, and technical experts on issues such as water quality monitoring, funding, and outreach.

The strategy was developed by a policy working group led by the Illinois Water Resource Center-Illinois Indiana Sea Grant, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Group members included representatives from state and federal agencies, agriculture, and non-profit organizations as well as scientists and wastewater treatment professionals.

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Background

Nutrient pollution is a major threat to water quality. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus carried in runoff from city streets and farm fields or flowing out of wastewater treatment plants can fuel algae blooms that decrease oxygen needed by aquatic plants and animals. In the Gulf of Mexico, nutrients washed down by the Mississippi River have created a "dead zone" that stretches for thousands of square miles. At home, nutrient pollution can also lower property values, hinder recreation, and degrade drinking water quality.

To help protect local streams and the Gulf, Illinois and 11 other states in the Mississippi River basin have pledged to develop strategies to reduce the nutrient loads leaving their borders. These strategies are part of a national plan developed by the Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force.

Key Strategy Components

  1. Extends ongoing regulatory and voluntary efforts.
  2. Identifies priority watersheds for nutrient reduction efforts.
  3. Establishes the Nutrient Monitoring Council to coordinate water quality monitoring efforts by government agencies, universities, non-profits, and industry.
  4. Establishes the Nutrient Science Advisory Committee, a select committee of scientists that will propose statewide or watershed-wide appropriate numeric water quality standards to the Policy Working Group.
  5. Forms the Agricultural Water Quality Partnership Forum to oversee outreach and education efforts.
  6. Establishes the Urban Stormwater Working Group to coordinate and improve stormwater programs and education.
  7. Lays out strategies for improving collaboration among government, non-profits, and industry.
  8. Defines a process for regular review and revision.

Implementation of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Five working groups will be convened over the next two years to answer questions raised in this strategy and monitor progress. Illinois EPA has contracted with the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois to facilitate the implementation and communication phase of the strategy.

Policy Working Group

Convened in March of 2013 by the Illinois EPA and Illinois Dept. of Agriculture, the Policy Working Group is made up of representatives from state and federal agencies, industry, universities, agriculture, wastewater treatment agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Upon adoption of this strategy, this group will meet at least twice a year to guide implementation of the strategy, consider policy issues raised in public comments, explore funding opportunities, identify needed legislative initiatives, and network with the appropriate people and groups. In the second year of the strategy, after the biennial report is complete, the Policy Working Group will identify adaptive management adjustments and update this strategy.

Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents, & Presentations
August 4, 2015, 1-4 p.m.
Illinois EPA
Sangamo Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield
Nov 18, 2015 1-4 pm
NRCS Office Conf Rm
2118 W Park Ct
Champaign
March 8, 2016, 1-4 p.m.
Illinois EPA
Sangamo Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield

August 30, 2016, 1-4 p.m.
NRCS Office Conf Rm
2118 W Park Ct
Champaign

February 7, 2017, 1-4 p.m.
Illinois EPA Sangamo Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield

Nutrient Monitoring Council

This group will be comprised of representatives from agencies and organizations involved in monitoring nutrients, including Illinois EPA, the Illinois State Water Survey, U.S. Geological Survey, Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, sewage treatment plants, agricultural groups, and others that perform monitoring. With input from the Policy Working Group, the Nutrient Monitoring Council will meet three to four times a year to coordinate the development and implementation of monitoring activities that provide the information necessary to calculate annual nutrient loads leaving the state and selected priority watersheds, and assess improvements to or declines in water quality. 

Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents, & Presentations
May 13, 2015, 10:30 am-2:30 p.m.
National Soybean Research Lab
Room 240
1101 W. Peabody Drive
Urbana
September 16, 2015, noon-5 p.m.
Illinois EPA
Mississippi Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield
December 3, 2015, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
National Soybean Research Center
Room 240
1101 W. Peabody Drive
Urbana
April 5, 2016, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Illinois EPA Mississippi Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield

July 28, 2016, 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Edward R. Madigan Lab.
350C ERML
1201 W Gregory Dr
Urbana

September 13, 2016, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Illinois EPA Mississippi Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield

December 6, 2016 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
National Soybean Research Center
Room 130
1101 W. Peabody Drive
Urbana

 

March 14, 2017 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Illinois EPA Mississippi Room
1021 N. Grand Ave. East
Springfield

 

Nutrient Science Advisory Committee

A group of science experts nominated by stakeholder sectors represented in the Policy Working Group will convene in 2015-2016 to help guide Illinois EPA on the development of numeric nutrient criteria. The group will determine the numeric criteria most appropriate for Illinois streams and rivers based on the best available science. They will also consider whether standards should be statewide or watershed-specific. The Nutrient Science Advisory Committee will formally report out to stakeholder groups at public meetings in 2016-2017

Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents & Presentations
 November 19, 2015

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 

 December 15, 2015

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 

 January 12, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 

 February 29, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 

 April 13, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 June 8, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 June 16, 2016
2-3 p.m.

 Work Plan Framework

 July 21, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

 August 31, 2016

 Tentative Conclusions and Next Steps

Agricultural Water Quality Partnership Forum

The Agriculture Water Quality Partnership Forum will be comprised of high-level officials from agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the Council on Best Management Practices, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Illinois Dept. of Agriculture, Illinois EPA, Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, soil and water conservation districts, and environmental organizations. The group will meet regularly, and facilitated work group meetings will be held quarterly to develop implementation plans. This group will steer outreach and education efforts to help farmers address nutrient loss and select the most appropriate BMPs.

Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents & Presentations
May 22, 2015, 10 a.m. – noon
Dept. of Agriculture
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield

AWQPF Tech Subgroup
August 26, 2015, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield

AWQPF Tech Subgroup
September 21, 2015
Conference Call

September 22, 2015, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield

AWQPF Tech Subgroup
January 26, 2016, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield

February 23, 2016
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Department of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Avenue
Springfield, IL

AWQPF Tech Subgroup
March 29, 2016, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield
May 17, 2016, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield
 
AWQPF Tech Subgroup
June 14, 2016, 9:30 a.m. - noon
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield
September 27, 2016, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield
April 4, 2017, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Dept. of Agriculture
FFA Conference Room
801 East Sangamon Ave.
Springfield
 

Urban Stormwater Working Group

Municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and agencies involved in urban stormwater management will meet annually to explore funding, identify legislative initiatives, and develop plans. The group will also coordinate outreach and orchestrate statewide efforts related to green infrastructure expansion and retrofitting, MS4 program training, and urban stream, lake, and stormwater monitoring.


Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents & Presentations
July 20, 2015, 1-3 p.m.
National Soybean Research Lab
Room 240
1101 W. Peabody Drive
Urbana
Friday, December 11, 2015, 10-11:30 a.m.
Conference Call
Urban Stormwater Working Group
April 19, 2016 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
233 S. Wacker Drive
Suite 800
Chicago
Urban Stormwater Tracking Subgroup
June 6, 2016
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Conference Call
Urban Stormwater Tracking Subgroup
June 20, 2016
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Conference Call

August 8, 2016
Conference Call
1:30-3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
1:30-3:00 p.m.
Conference Call

Performance Benchmark Committee

The Performance Benchmark Committee works with sector work groups to identify on-the-ground steps needed to meet the 2025 interim milestones and ultimate nutrient loss reduction targets and in-state waterway cleanup goals of the Strategy.

Meeting LocationAgenda, Documents & Presentations

August 17, 2016, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
IDNR, Region II Office - Northeastern Illinois
2050 West Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL

October 18, 2016, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Conference Call

December 12, 2016, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Conference Call

State Nutrient Priority Watershed Map

Illinois EPA recognizes Nutrient Priority Watersheds as a priority for planning and plan implementation every year. The criteria used to identify these watersheds included: guidance from U.S. EPA, and waters used as public water supplies that have approved Total Maximum Daily Load studies for Nitrate and Total Phosphorus.