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Illinois in the 21st Century: the Scientific Surveys
Natural History Survey   Geological Survey   Water Survey
Waste Management and Research Center

"Dealing with dynamic natural forces-water and weather, says the Water Survey’s Chief Derek Chief Derek Winstanley - Illinois State Water Survey Winstanley, gives our scientists an edge in anticipating and responding to the challenges and opportunities to serve the citizens of Illinois." He stresses the value of 100 years of research and monitoring on the availability and quality of surface and groundwater, and on the atmospheric phenomena of weather, air quality, and climate in the state and the Midwest. "The State of Illinois ranks first among all states in accumulated data knowledge of its natural resources: water, minerals, biota, and atmosphere."


Strengths of the Scientific Surveys
More than 100 years of service to the people of Illinois
Internationally recognized institutions, now in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Affiliated with the University of Illinois; strong links with state and federal agencies
Leaders in research on emerging environmental, economic, technological, and natural resource issues
Premier environmental and natural resource databases and collections
Education and outreach to provide information, technical assistance, and developments in technology to business, industry, schools, citizens, and communities
Unique among the 50 states: model for multidisciplinary research in the natural, physical, and environmental sciences
Director George Vander Velde - Waste Management and Research
        Center"We help businesses and communities apply our research results to problems with managing their wastes," says Director George Vander Velde of the Waste Management and Research Center. "Environmental regulations today are so complex, businesses need sound information *and the expertise* to deal with these problems. We fund research that brings together the efforts of Survey scientists, focusing on implementing solutions to waste and contamination issues." He points out, "The knowledge gained and innovative technologies developed through our Wowork rk is applied by Illinois’ businesses to improve their competitive-ness and efficiency by lowering costs for reducing pollution."


Chief William W. Shilts - Illinois State Geological SurveyThe trend in science-based land management is to integrate studies of our environment, according to the Geological Survey’s Chief William W. Shilts. "The Scientific Surveys have been working together since the start of the century," says Shilts, "but now the approach is ecosystem-based, broader and interactive. Our studies of watersheds and wetlands-truly a four-Survey effort-cover the hydrology, plants and animals, soils, and the underlying geology." "Mapping, our core program, is also at the core of what’s called smart growth," says Shilts. "Geologic maps help communities plan, so that development doesn’t fill up all the open spaces and strain the resources of a region." He points out that maps help with "...zoning and construction, uncovering hazards, locating and protecting water supplies, as well as determining where the best farm land is being consumed and where there’s danger of building over resources. The objective," he says, "is balanced growth."
Chief David Thomas - Illinois Natural History Survey"Many environmental problems are much broader in scope than the expertise of any one Survey," says the Natural History Survey’s Chief David Thomas. "The Illinois River system, for example, presents large-scale complex problems that require the application of expertise of many scientific disciplines. "Illinois is a commercial crossroads," he says, "and exotic species such as purple loosestrife, zebra mussels, tiger mosquitoes, and Asian long-horned beetles have invaded our state. The economic cost of the invaders is estimated at more than $123 billion nationwide. Habitat disturbance and degra dation facilitated the invasions. Restoration of these areas requires the combined expertise of all the Scientific Surveys."
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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