Natural Resources, Energy & Environment

Whether you're managing your family's farm or you're an avid supporter of greenspaces in urban areas, interest in expanding our understanding of the natural environment has never been higher. With an increased focus on sustainability, safety, and innovation, what we know about shepherding our energy and environmental resources has evolved rapidly in the past decade. If you've got questions about best practices in environmental stewardship, you'll appreciate that our information is based on peer-reviewed science - the gold standard in determining the credibility and reliability of information.

Looking for an answer to a specific question? Contact our energy and environmental stewardship educator, Jay Solomon, to learn more about how Illinois Extension is prepared to help. 


Grass-based Agriculture

The Driftless Region of Illinois and Wisconsin is a unique agricultural region with a history of
evolving farming practices that are economically and ecologically viable. This technical report is
based on a four-year research project to understand barriers and limitations to grass-based
agriculture. The research seeks to identify opportunities to reduce barriers to grass-based agriculture to enhance both the agricultural and ecological outcomes of farming. We used a placed-based approach that builds on insights from farmers and agricultural stakeholders living and working in the region.

Throughout our research, we have been aided by numerous local stakeholders. We are grateful to
the local leaders, farmers, and residents who met with us and shared their insights. The information
received from the residents we engaged is at the heart of our research. We also want to thank the
local farmers who participated in our survey and the valuable information they shared about their
decision-making related to farming practices. We hope this report will help improve the future of
agriculture in the Driftless region.

Read the full report.

Resource Collections

Energy and Environment is a broad and diverse area of study. We've organized our resources into several topical themes to help you dig more deeply into your areas of interest. From educational curriculum units to websites devoted to deeply exploring a single topic area, our resource collection represents best practices based on both proven and emerging research and the work of our professional education staff.

Additional Resources for Water

Jo Daviess County Water Resource Management Plan

Land use changes affect water resources (see the following page maps showing land cover in the 1830s and in 2012).
This plan has been created to identify and assess issues related to surface water and groundwater in the county and to

document consensus about the best way to manage water resources going forward. Science-based stewardship and
evidence-based decision-making have been the guiding principles of this planning process.

This plan documents consensus on three broad goals designed to achieve incremental, sustainable improvements to
water resource management within the county:

▪ Enhance stormwater management
▪ Enhance surface water management
▪ Enhance groundwater management

View Plan

Additional Resources for Weather and Climate