2019 Conference Program


Oct. 23-24, 2019

Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, Moline, Ill.





WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23, 2019 | Stoney Creek Conference Center, Moline, Ill.

7-8:30 a.m. | Registration and Continental Breakfast..............Breakfast Sponsored by EnviroNET

8:30 a.m. | Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • Kathy Wine, Executive Director, River Action

  • Mark Schwiebert, Schwiebert Foundation for Environmental Studies

8:45-10:15 a.m. | Keynote Session

  • John Anfinson, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, National Park Service - "Let the Great River be Great and Mighty Somewhere Else"
  • Colin Wellenkamp, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative - "A Healthy Mississippi Equals Robust River Cities”


    10:15-10:30 a.m. | Break..............................Sponsored by Terracon


    10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | Morning Concurrent Sessions


    TRACK 1 – Sustaining the River ~ Water Quality Matters

    • Lauren Salvato, Upper Mississippi River Basin Association - “Interstate Water Quality Monitoring on the Upper Mississippi River"
    • KathiJo Jankowski, USGS - "The Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: What do we learn about the river through long-term water quality monitoring?"
    • Chris Jones, University of Iowa - “The Iowa and Upper Mississippi River Water Quality Information Systems”

    TRACK 2 – Utilizing the River ~ Importance of Tourism, Eco-tourism and Recreation

    • Martin Graber, Mississippi River Parkway Commission/Great River Road - "THE Road on THE River"
    • Katie Burns, Audubon Minnesota - “Reconnecting River Cities with Water Conservation”
    • Dave Herrell, Visit Quad Cities - "BIG River – Accelerating our Visitor Economy through our Global Asset”

    Noon | Boxed Lunch & Networking

    12-4 p.m. | Field Project Tours or In-house Workshop

    WORKSHOP - “We survived 2019’s record flooding, so now what?” ~ Planning for future flood fighting, damage mitigation and prevention ~ Update on Regional Flood Alliances and 2019 Flood Response

    Moderated by Ed Freer, Graef USA

    Panelists Include:

    • Antonio Arenas Amado, University of Iowa
    • Colin Wellenkamp, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
    • Jessica Brooks, National Weather Service
    • Paul Osman, Illinois Office of Water Resources


    FIELD PROJECT TOUR #1 - Blue Heron Eco-Cruise & Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center - A scenic 30-minute bus trip up the Iowa side of the Mississippi River will take participants to the Rock Creek Marina and Campground, located just outside of Camanche, Iowa. Participants will board the "Blue Heron," a 24-passenger pontoon boat owned and operated by the Clinton County Conservation Board, for an approximately 1½ hour guided adventure cruise through Mississippi River backwaters. Field trip participants also can visit the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center. This tour is limited to the first 24 participants to register!

    FIELD PROJECT TOUR #2 - Habitat Rehabilitation & Enhancement and Dredge Re-use Projects - A driving and walking tour of several habitat rehabilitation and enhancement project (HREP) sites, completed, under construction and proposed, and dredged material beneficial use sites, located in and around the greater Quad City area. Specific tour sites will be determined by river levels, possible dredging and construction activity and other variables. Potential sites include: Beaver Island, Princeton Refuge, Andalusia Slough HREPs; Princeton and Buffalo (Iowa) beaches, and the Centennial Bridge beneficial use of dredged material sites. This tour will be guided by Corps of Engineers, DNR and USFWS staff members who have had significant involvement with the Corps' ongoing Upper Mississippi Restoration and Dredged Material Management Programs.

    4-6:30 p.m. | Reception and Student Poster Session

    5 p.m. | Cash Bar Open

    6:30 p.m. | Catfish Dinner and Entertainment

      Larry Long ~ Singer-songwriter, spoken-word poet, rouser, seeker, storyteller and conservationist



    THURSDAY, OCT. 24, 2018 | Stoney Creek Conference Center, Moline, Ill.


    7 a.m. | Riverfront morning walk (weather permitting)


    7-8:15 a.m. | Registration and Continental Breakfast


    8:15-9:45 a.m. | Plenary Session

    • Olivia Dorothy, American Rivers - “The Upper Mississippi River: America’s Third Most Endangered River©”

    • Loren Wobig, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Water Research - “Focusing the Vision for High Flows on the Mississippi River”


    9:45-10 a.m. | Break.................................Sponsored by American Rivers


    10-11:30 a.m. | Morning Concurrent Sessions


    TRACK 1 – Sustaining the River ~ Beneficial Use of Dredging & Dredge Materials

    • Mark Binsfeld, J.F. Brennan - "Right-Sizing for Restoration: A Contractor’s Approach for Building EMP Island Habitats"
    • Jon Hendrickson, US Army Corps of Engineers - ”Altered Hydrology – Effects on Upper Mississippi River Dredging and Habitat Restoration”
    • Matt Afflerbaugh, US Army Corps of Engineers - "Channel Maintenance Dredging and Placement of Dredged Materials"


    TRACK 2 – Utilizing the River ~ Economic and Philanthropic Impacts of River Tourism, Eco-tourism and Recreation

    • Craig Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey - ”Economic Impacts of Recreation and Tourism”

    • Mark Schwiebert, Schwiebert Foundation for Environmental Studies - “Why Folks Give: ‘A River Runs Through It’”

    • Trygve Madsen, Earth Economics - “Accounting for Environmental Change: A Modernized Approach to Benefit-Cost Analysis on the Upper Mississippi River”

    • Tony Singh, Singh Family Foundation -


    11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. | Luncheon and Featured Speaker

  • Mike Davis, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - “Restoring Minnesota’s Native Mussels –Surveys, Research, Propagation, Reintroductions”
  • :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Luncheon sponsored by Ingram Barge ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    1-2:30 p.m. | Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

    TRACK 1 – Sustaining/Improving the River ~ Agricultural Water/Storm Water Management
    • Jay Solomon, University of Illinois Extension – “Storm Water Management Issues in Rural Illinois”
    • Tim Wagner, Izaak Walton League – “Keep it on the Farm: A discussion regarding the practices of regenerative agriculture and how they can protect our rivers and greatly reduce flooding in the era of a changing climate.”
    • Haley Haverback, University of Illinois Extension – "Biennial Report for the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy"


    TRACK 2 – Utilizing the River ~ Moderated Panel Discussion: To Drink or Not to Drink (River Water, That Is)?
    Moderated by Anthony Heddlesten, US Army Corps of Engineers
    • Bob Bohannon, City of Moline, Ill.
    • Joshua Lighton, Iowa American Water
    • Roger Viadero, Ph.D., Western Illinois University
    • Jennifer Hoggatt, Missouri Department of Natural Resources
  • Jason Daniels, US EPA

    2:30 - 2:45 p.m. | Break.......................Sponsored by Sierra Club Eagle View Group

    2:45 - 4:30 p.m. | Closing Plenary Session

    Andrew Stephenson, Upper Mississippi River Basin Association – “Flooding, Sediment, and Drought Management on the Upper Mississippi River: Reflections on a series of citizen-led conversations” - UMRBA and US Army Corps of Engineers hosted meetings in Hannibal, Missouri; Muscatine, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; Winona, Minnesota; Godfrey, Illinois; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri brought together local citizens for conversations on reducing the risks of flooding, maintaining the navigation channel, managing river sediment, and preparing for a future long-term drought. They shared the impacts to their communities and talked about how all can work together better to address these issues. Preliminary feedback will be shared in this session.