The principal agencies responsible for protecting Illinois’ forests, soils, water, and fisheries are the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the United States Forest Service, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Soil erosion, poor drainage, and floods are major, and sometimes inter-related, problems in southern Illinois. Reforestation and other conservation techniques are practiced in both western and southern Illinois, where land too steep for farming was cleared in early times and is now seriously eroded. Much of the topsoil there has been lost through erosion, and only the underlying and impervious clay pan remains. In wet weather, rain cannot sink into the ground because of the clay pan and it runs off the surface in sheets, thus contributing to further erosion and to floods along the state’s major rivers. Many dams and flood-control projects have been built in the state.
Fish and game resources, greatly depleted because of water pollution and destruction of the natural habitat, are being increased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Two state agencies have responsibilities for air, land, and water quality. The Pollution Control Board institutes policies and regulations, hears pollution cases, and sets penalties. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency administers the emissions permit system, prosecutes pollution cases before the Pollution Control Board, and investigates environmental problems such as unlawful dumping. In 2008 the state had 43 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Progress was being made in efforts to reduce pollution; in the period 1995–2000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 14 percent. "Illinois" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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