Scientific Surveys' Work Provides Vital Focus for Public Policies

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Lou Cowlishaw

A daylong tour of the Illinois Scientific Surveys on Feb. 13 will offer state legislators a chance to learn about a remarkable treasure, of which we all have reason to be proud.

The research and services provided by the Surveys touch the lives of nearly all Illinois citizens and enrich our understanding of vital environmental issues.

The agency provides high-tech computerized maps that help counties recognize recent growth patterns and plan for the future.

Their scientists compile information about the quantity and quality of ground and surface water supplies and the location of minerals and geologic features important to developers, local planners, design engineers and resource managers.

They develop strategies for dealing with agricultural pests and exotic species, such as corn rootworms, zebra mussels, the new soybean aphid and Asian long-horned beetles.

Survey scientists collect the data needed to maintain stream flows, protect and restore habitat and implement such projects as the Lake Michigan artificial reef and the Illinois River 2020 initiative.

They also assist industry and communities with waste reduction and management.

Because of the Surveys, Illinois is not at the mercy of federal agencies for reliable data on crucial topics, especially regulating air and water contaminants.

Located on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign, the Surveys include Natural History, Geological and Water Surveys and the Waste Management and Research Center. …