Learn to Monitor Streams with Illinois RiverWatch


By Jamie Perry



Illinois RiverWatch needs volunteers   

“Illinois RiverWatch is a great way for students to get experience with doing field work and collecting real scientific data,” said RiverWatch Technician and Volunteer Coordinator Hannah Griffis. “Students will learn about the different critters that live in streams and how they can be used to assess water quality.” 

Illinois RiverWatch Network is hosting fall stream sampling events around Madison and St. Clair Counties. These events are designed for new volunteers to participate in sampling a stream without attending a RiverWatch training event and for current volunteers to become more familiar with the RiverWatch sampling techniques. Participants will conduct stream monitoring with the help of a RiverWatch staff member. All dates are weather dependent. 

“RiverWatch is a great way for students to learn about the importance of our freshwater natural resources, how to monitor them, and what can be done to help conserve them,” Griffis said. “By getting out into a stream, students are able to connect to what they are learning about rather than just talking about it in a classroom.” 

Saturday, September 17th ~ Richland Creek at Centennial Park ~ Swansea, IL 

Thursday, September 22nd ~ Piasa Creek ~ Godfrey, IL 

Saturday, September 24th ~ The Nature Institute ~ Godfrey, IL  

To register visit https://conta.cc/3c2HXZe or contact Griffis at hgriffis@lc.edu or (618) 468-2781. 

Each event will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers will be getting in the streams and participating in all the monitoring steps. It is best to wear rain boots or other closed-toed shoes that can get wet. More details will be provided to volunteers who register. 

RiverWatch is the only statewide biological monitoring program that provides volunteers with a hands-on opportunity to become keepers of our local waterways. They monitor stream habitat and water quality. RiverWatch was established in 1995 and has since expanded to the statewide level, with over 200 participants monitoring streams annually. 

The Illinois RiverWatch Network is a volunteer monitoring program by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC). Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center strives to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit www.ngrrec.org.  


Volunteers sampling for macroinvertebrates at the Illinois RiverWatch training day. Photo from NGRREC

About Jamie Perry

Jamie is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design and plans to graduate in Spring 2024.
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