Prairie Rivers Network 2016 Award Winners

Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) will honor Bruce Colravy, Steve Stierwalt, and a group of dedicated citizens from Southern Illinois for their work in protecting and promoting the health of Illinois rivers and wildlife at its Annual Dinner on Friday, October 21. The event will be held at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S First Street in Champaign, IL.

Bruce Colravy

Bruce Colravy

Bruce Colravy of Mahomet, IL will receive the River Steward award for his dedication to protecting and promoting the Sangamon River in Central Illinois through his work as co-founder and President of the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy (USRC). Each year, Bruce organizes many activities on the Sangamon, leading citizen science RiverWatch surveys, mussel surveys, clean-up efforts, float trips, and more. Bruce has been a integral part of attempts to create land and water trails through Mahomet and along the Sangamon River. The USRC is one of the most active watershed groups in the state of Illinois, attracting new members each year in the Champaign County area, while also intentionally including students from the University of Illinois.

Steve Stierwalt

Steve Stierwalt

Steve Stierwalt of Sadorus, Illinois will receive the Outstanding Public Servant award for his work as Chairman of the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Under Steve’s leadership, the Champaign County SWCD is playing a key role in advancing practices that preserve soil and protect water quality. Steve was recently elected President of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts on a platform aimed at providing more effective and broad-reaching technical assistance to meet the changing needs of farmers and help them steward land and water.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year award will be presented to a group of outstanding individuals who together have been instrumental in helping Prairie Rivers Network challenge a highly destructive levee project on the Mississippi River. The award will go to Mayor Tyrone Coleman of Cairo, IL; Richard Grigsby of Mounds, IL; Sarita Sawyer of Mounds, IL; Monica Smith of Cairo, IL; Lindell Warren of Olive Branch, IL; and David Willis of Olive Branch, IL for their work in opposing a project that would destroy invaluable wetlands and put their communities at risk of catastrophic flooding. The group offered their images and stories for use in a PRN video series, made personal appeals to lawmakers, travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal agencies and senators, wrote letters to the editor and opinion pieces, and recruited others like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and local mayors to call for an end to the project. Their voices were instrumental in raising awareness of the potential devastation of this project with key decision makers. 

#StopTheLevee Volunteers in Washington, D.C.

#StopTheLevee Volunteers in Washington, D.C.

The evening’s keynote speaker will be George Hawkins, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of DC Water. Not only does Mr. Hawkins provide clean water to the residents of our nation’s capitol, he is also one of the nation’s best communicators on the future of water and how we will meet the needs of a growing population, delivering clean, safe, and reliable water to all Americans. DC Water has been the recipient of almost every major award in the industry, including most recently, the 2016 US Water Prize for its resource recovery efforts.

The reception begins at 6:00 pm. Dinner follows at 7:30 pm.

Price: $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. Reservations are required.

For more information go to www.prairierivers.org/dinner or by call 217-344-2371 x. 200