Topic: Events

October 21, 2013

“Troubled Waters” to be shown in Champaign-Urbana

One of the goals of Prairie Rivers Network is to improve the health of Illinois’ rural rivers by reducing farm chemical pollution. The documentary Troubled Waters does a nice job of describing the issue. Thanks to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center for publicly screening this film on Tuesday, October 22!

The algae in this stream indicate there are too many nutrients in the water.

Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story tells the story of the unintended consequences of farming on the health of the Mississippi River. Fertilizers and pesticides leave farm fields during storms and make their way into our river systems. These Midwest rivers then drain into the Mississippi River, which finds its end at the Gulf of Mexico. Every year during the summer, a Dead Zone forms in the Gulf because of this pollution.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will be hosting a free showing of this Emmy Award-winning documentary.

Where: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 1 E Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, IL

When: Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 6 – 8:30 pm

After the movie, Dr. George Czapar of the Illinois State Water Survey will give a brief presentation on nutrient pollution and water quality issues in Illinois.

This event is free and open to the public.

One dollar pizza and refreshments will be offered beginning at 6 pm. Please register if you would like pizza.

Free parking is available.

October 7, 2013

Prairie Rivers Network to Honor River Advocates at Annual Dinner

Media scholar Robert McChesney will be keynote speaker

Prairie Rivers Network will honor Kevin Cummings and Suzanne Smith for their work in protecting and promoting the health of Illinois rivers and wildlife at its Annual Dinner on October 11. The event will be held at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S First Street in Champaign IL.


Kevin Cummings will receive the Outstanding Public Servant award for a distinguished career spent researching and fostering critically important freshwater mussels, often called “the livers of the rivers.” As the Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Mollusks at the Center for Biodiversity, Illinois Natural History Survey, Cummings is a renowned expert on mussels, and their protection and conservation. For decades, he has monitored mussels throughout Illinois, the Midwest, and around the world. Recently, Cummings undertook an effort to reintroduce threatened and endangered mussels to the Middle Fork and Salt Fork rivers, a project that is seeing extraordinary results. Beyond his groundbreaking field work, Cummings has a special talent as an ambassador for these overlooked organisms, continuously engaging in public education regarding the value of mussels as sentinels and indicators of water quality and ecosystem health.


Sue Smith, right, discusses the threat of Sunrise Coal to water

For her many years of dedicated volunteer work, Suzanne Smith of rural Homer, IL will be presented the River Steward award. Smith has been a tireless champion for the Salt Fork and Middle Fork Rivers, organizing river clean ups, taking on drainage issues, and promoting restored wildlife habitat. Smith was a co-founder of Salt Fork River Partners, a group of area residents dedicated to conservation of the river. Most recently, Smith has been an outstanding leader in the Stand Up to Coal campaign—an effort to protect prime farmland, rural communities, and clean water from the damages of proposed coal mining. She continues to be a powerful spokeswoman for a beloved stretch of river in Illinois and has inspired many others to follow suit.


The evening’s keynote speaker will be media scholar Robert McChesney, who will discuss his new book, “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America.” Dr. McChesney was the longtime host of “Media Matters” on NPR and is a prolific and well-published writer on the topics of journalism and democracy. He will address the unhealthy influence of money on politics and offer insight on how to overcome this challenge, strengthen democracy, and advance good environmental policy.

The reception begins at 6:00 pm with music by Tom Turino. Dinner follows at 7:30 pm.

Price: $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10

You can RSVP for the Annual Dinner at or by calling 217-344-2371 x. 200

September 16, 2013

Panel discussion on Champaign County water resources

The Sierra Club Prairie Group will sponsor a panel presentation and discussion titled Champaign County’s Water: Where It Comes From, Where It Goes To, and How We Can Protect It Along the Way to increase local awareness about federal, state and local policies that regulate Champaign County’s water use and quality.

Panelists Robert Hirschfeld and Kim Knowles of Prairie Rivers Network, Dwain Berggren of the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Frank DiNovo, retired Director of Planning and Community Development with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, will provide information about Champaign County’s ground and surface water and the regulatory bodies and policies that impact them. A facilitated discussion will focus on how community members can support policies that protect local water resources.

Program co-sponsors include: CCNet (Champaign County Sustainable Networking) Channing- Murray Foundation, Faith in Place, Grand Prairie Friends, Izaak Walton League, Prairie Rivers Network, U of I Students for Environmental Concerns, Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign’s Green UU’s and Social Action Committee, Upper Sangamon River Conservancy

For further information contact: Carol Hays

September 3, 2013

Are You Ready to Ramble?????

Rain garden rambling, that is. If you would like to see some real, live rain gardens, please join Prairie Rivers Network staff and members for a bike ride to four Champaign properties. We will meet with residential rain garden owners and talk with City of Champaign staff about the new stormwater utility fee and associated rain garden incentive program.

The ramble is about 6 miles from 2-4pm Saturday, September 21, which happens to be It’s Our River Day. We’ll end our tour by refueling at Custard Cup (on you). Please register at And tell your friends!


July 25, 2013

Sangamon Watershed Celebration!

grassed waterway, a conservation practiceJoin Prairie Rivers Network at the 9th annual Sangamon Watershed Celebration in Decatur. This is a fun event sponsored by our friends at the Agricultural Watershed Institute. Come out for music, food, and learning!

This year’s celebration focuses on creating a vision for agricultural landscapes. Prairie Rivers Network will be part of the professional panel on Saturday that discusses the future of agriculture. We hope to see you there!

When: August 9-10, 2013
Where: Richland Community College-National Sequestration Center, One College Park, Decatur, IL (under the wind turbine)
Cost: Friday reception and concert ($15 in advance, $20 at door), Saturday program (free)

For more information, click here.

May 21, 2013

Celebrate Clean Water and Good Beer!

Please join Prairie Rivers Network and friends for our Happy Hour on May 31st!Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks flickr stream

We’ll raise a toast to clean water, healthy rivers, and good beer!

When: May 31st, 2013, 6-8pm
Where: Mike n’ Molly’s, 105 N. Market St, Champaign, IL

Everyone is welcome!