RiverWatch's Six-Year Progress Report

Article by: Nate Keener, nkeener@lc.edu

On Oct. 4, Citizen Scientists, public and private stakeholders and decision makers convened in Peoria, Ill. to learn about the evolution and progress of the RiverWatch Network.

The First Biennial RiverWatch Symposium was at Pere Marquette Lodge, where RiverWatch Coordinator Nate Keener shared his vision of the future of RiverWatch and solicited recommendations from attendees on how to make the program stronger. RiverWatch thanks James Bland for contributing 308 hours to the recent publication of  Aquatic Macroinvertebrates of Illinois: A Supplement for the Illinois RiverWatch Program.

For the first time, the results of the analysis of 15 years of RiverWatch data were revealed by Laura Sass, stream habitat ecologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey. Sass gave attendees a glimpse of the importance of the data collected by volunteer stream monitors and highlighted some of the trends emerging from that data. The service of intrepid RiverWatch volunteers was honored during an awards ceremony that recognized the efforts of long-term volunteers and those that made the program possible. Citizen Scientists who have participated for 5, 10 and 15 years received a complimentary copy of the Macro Guide, a certificate and small token of our appreciation.

A poster session offered a chance for all in attendance to network and learn about various projects from around the state that help to keep our water ways safe and clean. The First Biennial RiverWatch Symposium was a tremendous success and attendees are already talking about ways to build on this year's success for 2013.

NGRREC℠ would also like to thank the co-chairs of the Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System, Bill White, Christine Davis, and Rick Mollahan, as well as University of Illinois Conferences and Institutes for graciously hosting our Symposium in conjunction with the 13 Biennial Governor's Conference. The symposium would not have been successful without their help, and we look forward to working with them in 2013.

RiverWatch is a program of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center a partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lewis and Clark Community College and the Illinois Natural History Survey.

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