Dead Zones & Drinking Water, Part 3: the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy03/18/2016
On July 21, 2015, Illinois officially released its Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy designed to improve water quality in Illinois and the Gulf of Mexico by reducing phosphorus and nitrogen losses from both point sources and non-point sources, including from farm fields. This article, the third in the series, reviews the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) as it pertains to farming and nitrate-N loss.
The ultimate goal of the INLRS is to reduce nutrient loss by 45 percent as measured against the average annual loading of nitrate-N and total phosphorus as against the baseline loading of 1980 to 1996. The interim goals are 15 percent by 2025 for nitrate-nitrogen and 25 percent by 2025 for total phosphorus. The strategy seeks an equal 45 percent reduction across all eight-digit Hydrologic Unit Code watersheds (figure 3.11 from the INLRS), but given annual variability, it will measure progress towards the goal using five-year running averages. The INLRS is in response to both the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 memorandum regarding a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions.