The Mississippi River has no shortage of historic events and reports written about it, so this past week should be no surprise as the River again makes the newswire. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced on October 30, 2006 a $6.8 million dollar award to Lewis and Clark Community College to fund the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) Field Station. This funding is in addition to $1.3 million of Illinois Department of Transportation funds to be used for site work and infrastructure construction.
United States Representative Jerry Costello was instrumental in securing more than $3.5 million in federal funds over the past four years to jump-start this project in 2002 when a group of visionaries saw an opportunity to further expand research and education at this unique site near the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in Alton, Illinois.
The Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers convergence in the vicinity of this location providing researchers the opportunity to study the ecology of these rivers, their floodplains, watershed management, the quality of the aquatic environment, natural resource and agriculture management issues, and provide wide-reaching influence for other major river systems worldwide.
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), the first of its kind in the nation, and includes three principal partners: Lewis and Clark Community College; University of Illinois' Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, College of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences; and the Illinois Natural History Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Other affiliate members of NGRREC include the U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers, The Nature Conservancy, Prairie Rivers Network, Missouri Department of Conservation, Principia College, Missouri Botanical Garden, and The Great Rivers Land Trust.
In keeping with the responsibility of ecology, the Center will be constructed as a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification which utilizes "green" building and design standards. Construction for the Center is scheduled to begin in Spring 2007 with staff moving in Spring 2008.
Additional information can be found at:NGRREC home page: www.ngrrec.org; http://www.illinois.gov/PressReleases/PrintPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=1&RecNum=5471; http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/news/stories/news2275.html