IFB part of group sharing water quality efforts in Utah

The collaboration can serve as a model for other states in the Midwest dealing with their own nutrient loss reduction strategies, according to Karl Williard.

From left: Julie Armstrong, Executive Director, NREC; Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources, IFB; Cindy Skrukrud, Illinois clean water program director, Sierra Club; Albert Cox, environmental monitoring and research manager, MWRD.

Illinois Farm Bureau and other groups this week told the story of nutrient management in Illinois on a national stage.

The Annual Water Resources Conference of the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR), which was attended by more than 200 people, also provided IFB and its partners the chance to learn about water quality research at universities across the country.

“We’re here at the UCOWR conference to let others know we’ve got this strong collaboration underway in Illinois addressing our Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy,” said Cindy Skrukrud, Sierra Club Illinois clean water program director. “I’m feeling most hopeful about the progress we’re making on this big issue because so many people from so many disciplines are working together.”

Several presentations by IFB, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council, Sierra Club, and academic representatives explained big picture research and day-to-day efforts and intended to help implement NLRS best practices.

“We have an ongoing set of meetings where all of the stakeholders are brought together to work and collaborate,” said Lauren Lurkins, IFB’s director of natural and environmental resources. “We also work to produce a public-facing report that our state agencies – the Illinois Department of Ag and Illinois EPA – work extremely hard on to get the data out to the general public on how far we’ve come on this issue.

“Collaboration between these organizations invested in water resources research, education and outreach continues to build year after year,” she said. “That’s something we’re proud of.”

SIUC Professor and UCOWR Executive Director Dr. Karl Williard said the collaboration can serve as a model for other states in the Midwest dealing with their own nutrient loss reduction strategies.

“We still have progress to make in terms of adoption of best management practices that will help keep more nutrients and soil on the farm,” Williard said. “But we’re certainly making progress and partnerships go a long way to help doing that.”

Albert Cox, MWRD environmental monitoring and research manager, explained the power of partnership simply: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.