November 17, 2015

Whiles named to statewide advisory panel

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A researcher at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will serve on a statewide advisory committee tasked with protecting water supplies in Illinois. 

Leaders of the state Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of Matt Whiles, professor of zoology and interim director of the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at SIU, to serve on the Nutrient Science Advisory Committee. The group is one of five working groups identified to aid in the implementation of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. 

Stakeholder sectors represented in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Policy Working Group nominated the new members of the committee.  The committee will help guide the Illinois EPA on the development of numeric nutrient water quality standards by determining the numeric criteria most appropriate for Illinois streams and rivers based on the best available science. 

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy outlines best management practices to reduce nutrient losses from point sources such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and non-point sources, including runoff from farm fields and city streets. The goal is to reduce by 45 percent the amount of total phosphorus and nitrate-nitrogen reaching Illinois waters and leaving the state. 

Members will review and analyze available data, research results, statistical analyses and other pertinent information. The committee will then propose the appropriate numeric nutrient water quality standards for Illinois.  Illinois EPA and stakeholders will develop a plan for implementing the standards. Illinois EPA will then file rulemaking with the Illinois Pollution Control Board for the proposed numeric nutrient water quality standards.