Paul Osman is manager of statewide floodplain programs for Illinois Office of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Many communities in the Upper Mississippi River watershed have discovered that living with the river makes much more sense than fighting the river. New technologies, such as accurate forecasting and real-time flood mapping, help to make flooding a predictable risk. Strict floodplain regulations and building codes keep development out of harm’s way. State and federal mitigation programs help to fund opportunities which promote open space uses.
That ol’ river is no longer a threat to communities. It is increasingly an asset.
Lee Sandlin is the author of 'Wicked River,' a narrative history of the Mississippi River and society in the 19th century. Wicked River takes readers back to a time when the river was still wild; back to a time of pirates, music, drinking, and gambling. Lee was born in Wildwood, IL, and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where he now lives.
Dougas Blodgett is director of river conservation for the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. One of his major responsibilities is overseeing implementation of the conservancy’s conservation action plan for the Illinois River and its associated strategies for conserving the biological diversity of this large-floodplain river ecosystem. A primary strategy of that plan is restoration and management of functional floodplain. Doug oversees the conservancy’s model landscape-scale floodplain projects along the Illinois River – the 2000-acre Spunky Bottoms Project and the 6600-acre Emiquon Preserve (recently designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" by RAMSAR). He also is involved in Conservancy conservation efforts on the Wabash, Cache and Mississippi Rivers.
Bill Brewer is Western Illinois University's architect and director of facilities - Quad Cities. Prior to relocating to the Quad Cities to manage the construction of the new riverfront campus, he served as the assistant director of the physical plant for facilities planning and construction on the Macomb campus. Bill is a registered architect in the State of Illinois and a LEED AP with more than 24 years experience in designing, constructing and operating higher education facilities.
Bill Cappuccio is an engineer with the flood plain management program at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Since 1985 he has been Iowa’s state coordinator for the National Flood Insurance Program. He has more than 30 years experience in flood plain management.
Stacy James has been employed by Prairie Rivers Network as a water resources scientist since 2006. She contributes to Prairie Rivers’ mission to protect Illinois’ clean water by working to reduce the amount of urban and agricultural pollution entering streams. Before joining Prairie Rivers, she was a post-doctorate student at the U.S. Geological Survey's Columbia Environmental Research Center in Missouri, where she conducted research on the effects of water pollution on amphibians.
Amy Sauer, Mississippi River program manager, joined the Biodiversity Project in September 2011 and manages the Mississippi River Network, a coalition of 39 organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring the Mississippi River for the well-being of the land, water and people of the country’s greatest river. Amy holds an M.S. degree in environmental science from American University and both a B.S. degree in biology and an M.Ed degree in secondary education from Xavier University. Her previous experience includes working in the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, both in Washington, D.C.
Scott Tomkins is the administrator of financial assistant agreements for the Bureau of Water with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). He has worked with the IEPA for the past 20 years. He received his B.S. degree in biology from McMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. Scott grew up near the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
Scott Whitney is the Mississippi Valley Division Regional flood risk manager and senior program manager for Operation Watershed-Recovery for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Scott leads and supports national and regional efforts designed to achieve collaborative, comprehensive and sustainable national flood risk management necessary to improve public safety and reduce flood damages to industry and communities. He has worked to establish leadership and management in the efforts to restore the navigation and transportation systems damaged by the historic 2011 Mississippi River flood.
Lawrence A. Zehnder (Larry) is administrator of the City of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department. His work experience covers 38 years, having served in parks and recreation positions in Cleveland, Greenville, SC, Athens, TN, Charleston SC, and Norfolk VA. He is a graduate of Clemson University and several of the National Recreation and Park Association professional schools and has been professionally certified in three states.