An innovative partnership in the Lake Springfield watershed has demonstrated in its first year that reducing nutrient losses yields positive results for agriculture and the environment. Illinois Corn assists in the project with the expertise of staff member Caroline Wade, Nutrient Watershed Manager. IL Corn also is a member of Council on Best Management Practices, one of the project partners.
This cooperative project partners farmers, retailers, government bodies and private foundations to understand more about the Lake Springfield watershed and the municipal water supply for Springfield, IL, residents.
Farmers are encouraged to adopt a systems-based approach to nitrogen management, which involves splitting their nitrogen applications throughout the crop season and conducting on-farm nitrogen rate trials. The approach also includes utilizing cover crops, an age-old practice that improves soil health and helps to anchor plant nutrients where they’re best utilized by crops.
"The water quality in Lake Springfield this spring and summer has certainly benefitted from this partnership" said Ted Meckes, Water Division Manager for City Water Light and Power. "We have experienced low nitrate levels in the lake and want to thank the farmers and all the partners who are working together in this effort.”
“Mother Nature often challenges us with either too much or too little rain, and that can certainly impact Lake Springfield and the City’s water quality,” Meckes said. “Like farmers, we can’t control the weather but we feel this systematic approach to better nutrient utilization, as well as the use of cover crops, can minimize the incidence of nitrate losses.”
Council on Best Management Practices participates in the Lake Springfield project along with Sangamon County Soil & Water Conservation District, Springfield City Water Light and Power, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, local farmers and retailers.
For more information on CBMP and the Lake Springfield program go to www.illinoiscbmp.org.