First Biennial RiverWatch Symposium October 4
August 30, 2011
The First Biennial RiverWatch Symposium will be held in Peoria October 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hotel Pere Marquette.

The symposium will convene stream stewards from across the state for the first time to learn how 15 years of their collective sampling has been translated into real-world information.

Laura Sass, from the Illinois Natural History Survey, will present the findings of her analysis of over 15 years of data collected by volunteers from all over Illinois. This first public presentation will show detailed trends and highlight the relevance of data collected by citizen scientists. "At the symposium, Governor Quinn will receive an award acknowledging the strong support shown for RiverWatch," said the program's administrative assistant Crystal Bartanen. "We'll also be recognizing several of our certified volunteers who we call 'citizen scientists' with service awards."

A poster session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will conclude the day's events.

For more information about the symposium, visit

RiverWatch is a statewide partnership of organizations and individuals working to protect Illinois streams. Established in 1995 as a sub-program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Eco Watch Network, certified volunteers examine indicators such as stream habitats and the diversity of macroinvertebrate species to provide reliable water quality data that can be used by scientists to determine how the conditions of streams are changing over time.

In 2004, when IDNR could no longer financially support the program, a grant from then Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, and several non-profit organizations, provided support to maintain the basic components of the program. In the summer of 2005, the Lt. Governor's Office took the lead in creating a vision for a more comprehensive, statewide volunteer monitoring program.

Since its founding in 1995, over 1,700 individuals have received certification through RiverWatch, and 750 stream sites have been established for annual water quality sampling.

RiverWatch is a program of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.

For additional information, visit