Scientists at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois say the reduction in the amount of nitrogen released into the river from Chicago and runoff from some farm fields reresents a new milestone.
Greg McIsaac serves as one of two U-of-I researchers measuring progress on a statewide effort to improve water quality.
“At least through the Illinois River, we were two-thirds of the way there by 2014, and actually, when we look at the 2015 data, there actually was a 15 percent reduction for the Illinois River in nitrate lows, which was the goal that we hoped to achieve for all Illinois rivers by 2025,” says McIsaac.
McIsaac describes the role of rural Illinois and the study’s results.
“The decline in concentrations that we saw were correlated with a decline in residual agricultural nitrogen that was occurring in the watershed. So, it’s an indication that farming community has become more efficient in its use of agricultural nitrogen to produce corn and soybeans, primarily,” he says.
Illinois adopted a statewide Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy last year. Its ultimate goal is to help reduce the so-called dead-zone in the Gulf of Mexico caused by wastewater, excess fertilizer and other chemicals.
-Story from wire reports.