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Since 1981, citizen volunteers, the Illinois EPA, and area-wide planning commisions have been working to monitor the quality of Illinois" lakes through the Illinois Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP). This cooperative effort provides information on many more lakes than could be otherwise monitored by the state agency staff. The volunteers have learned much about their lakes, and a substantial database has been established from information they have collected. The data is routinely used by lake scientists, planners, consultants, and the volunteers themselves for a wide variety of purposes.

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