Illinois RiverWatch and NGRREC to Host Fall Speaker Series

Article by: Jan Dona, L&C Media Services,

EAST ALTON – Join the Illinois RiverWatch Network and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) for the Illinois RiverWatch Fall Speaker Series, featuring free Zoom presentations from four different scientists.

According to RiverWatch Director and Stream Ecologist Danelle Haake, the RiverWatch Fall Speaker Series will help make RiverWatch more of a year-round program.

“We hope the series will give people an opportunity to learn more about water through a series of online events,” Haake said. “We are focusing on how the choices we make in the watershed can impact streams and the animals who live in them.”

The series kicks off next week with a discussion led by Megan Pagliaro, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

“I’m going to be talking about freshwater fish in urban systems,” Pagliaro said. “I look forward to discussing my research and answering any questions on freshwater ecology.”

Following is a list of dates, times, speakers and topics along with registration information.

  • Impact of Urban Heat Islands on Freshwater Fish: 7 p.m., Sept. 22
    Speaker: Megan Pagliaro, Ph.D. student at UCB
  • The Important Role of Streamside Vegetation in a Changing Climate: 7 p.m., Oct. 6
    Speaker: Dr. Jason Knouft, professor of Biology at St. Louis University
  • 3D Printing and the Evolutionary Ecology of North American Riverine Snails: 7 p.m., Oct. 26
    Speaker: Dr. Paul Brunkow, associate professor of Biology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • How Winter Road Salt Hurts Water Quality and What We Can Do About It: 7 p.m., Nov. 12
    Speaker: Dr. Danelle Haake, NGRREC RiverWatch Director and Stream Ecologist

To sign-up for one or more of these free events, registration links can be found on the Illinois RiverWatch Facebook page at or send an email to

Those interested can register until the day of the event. Zoom links will be emailed to registrants prior to each presentation.

For more information about the Illinois RiverWatch program, visit or contact Haake at (618) 468-8724 or

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

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 aspires 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