|Tent Exhibits||Credits & Thanks||Sponsors|
The goals of the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) in Water Quality
are 1.) to help develop the scientific basis for nutrient standards in the
surface waters of Illinois, and 2.) to assist in the appropriate development
and implementation of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
This research is funded by the State of Illinois through the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR). In addition, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Agriculture helped identify research needs and evaluate proposals.
The SRI is organized into four research teams, and includes scientists from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, the Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Natural History Survey. Although each project has a slightly different focus, sample analysis and algal extraction methods are being coordinated. All four research teams, and the Illinois EPA and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC), are participating in regular inter-laboratory comparisons of water samples.
Project components include a detailed analysis of historical IEPA data, and controlled experiments to estimate phosphorus threshold values in Illinois streams. Flow-through streamside channels will be used to generate algal biomass vs. nutrient concentration data.
The second research team is conducting state-wide sampling at 150 to 200 sites to examine the seasonal changes that occur in nutrient concentrations, chlorophyll levels, dissolved oxygen, and the macroinvertebrate communities.
In addition, a number of intensive monitoring sites are being used to examine the role of nutrients and hydrology in controlling the development of algal biomass (i.e., chlorophyll-a) and the depletion of dissolved oxygen.
Another research team is focusing on algal population dynamics as affected by changing nutrient concentrations in stream water. They are using both natural and artificial substrates to measure algal response to nutrient inputs. The fourth project concerns the impact of suspended and bed sediments on the potential bioavailability of phosphorus (P). A principal impact of this research will be to more clearly define the relationship between eutrophication and total P by determining what fraction of total P is potentially bioavailable, and how bioavailability varies with flow, stream order within a watershed, and between suspended and bed sediments.