Response Teams

The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) supports the people, environment, and economy of Illinois. When the PRI leadership team identifies an emerging issue that would benefit from the application of our scientists’ skills and knowledge, the PRI Executive Director may convene a “response team” to provide vital, timely scientific expertise and data to stakeholders, including:

  • Policymakers and government agencies
  • Private sector businesses and/or their associations
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Professional practitioners

The purpose of a response team is not to advocate for a particular policy or action. Rather, the response team aims to provide thorough, accurate, and objective information to stakeholders.

Response Teams & Reports

Natural Gas

The Natural Gas Working Group was formed in October 2017 to: 1) assist stakeholders in their responses to the natural gas leak that occurred from Manlove Field near Fisher, Illinois, and its associated natural resource impacts, and 2) consider natural gas storage activities in Illinois as they relate to natural resource characterization, management, and protection issues. 


Illinois River Management Plan

In 1997, an interdisciplinary, multi-agency collaboration developed an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) for the Illinois River Watershed, which encompasses approximately 44 percent of the land in Illinois. In 2017, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor asked PRI scientists to review and report on the progress that has been made toward the IMP’s seven key objectives over the past 20 years. PRI’s final report, Assessing Progress on the 1997 Integrated Management Plan for the Illinois River Watershed, is available at


Mahomet Aquifer

The Mahomet Aquifer Response Team was formed to clarify the science and communicate known threats and challenges regarding rapidly emerging issues of public concern surrounding the Mahomet Aquifer, and more generally subsurface water security in the State of Illinois. Relevant themes of the emerging problem include water, agriculture, and potentially climate adaptation, where substantial harm to local and regional populations and their economies could be exposed to recurring threats.


Zika Virus

There has been great concern and confusion about how Illinois might be impacted by the mosquito-spread Zika virus. These briefings from PRI describe the risks and recommend mitigation strategies.



In 2015, a bipartisan group of legislators asked PRI to review of how polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soils and other wastes are managed in Illinois. Their main concern was a proposal to deposit PCB wastes in an expanded section of a landfill near Clinton, Illinois. The legislators who asked for this report thought it would be helpful to undertake a review of current practices in Illinois, look at how other governments handle these wastes, and review current research on PCBs including alternative waste-management technologies. PRI’s final report on PCBs is available at