A team of scientists including professor Bruce Rhoads was awarded a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) to quantify streambank erosion across the state and its contributions to phosphorus (P) loading of surface waters. Phosphorus (P) enrichment to streams, lakes, and estuaries is increasing throughout the United States and this nutrient is now viewed as a pollutant that can degrade the environmental quality of surface and coastal waters.

Currently, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy does not account for phosphorus from eroding streambanks, leading to inaccurate accounting of phosphorus loading to streams and rivers. By quantifying contributions from streambank erosion, the project will improve understanding of P loading, thereby providing essential information to guide allocation of resources for nutrient loss mitigation.

The project, which will receive $851,049 over four years, is led by Andrew Margenot, assistant professor of Crop Sciences and also includes Kaiyu Guan, associate professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES); Shengnan Zhou, research scientist in Crop Sciences; and Sheng Wang, research assistant professor in NRES.