As the only four-year university on the Kankakee River, Olivet Nazarene University is uniquely qualified to host the upcoming conference focusing on long-term health of the Kankakee River Basin.
The Kankakee River Watershed Conference will take place Feb. 10, 2017, at Olivet’s main campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The conference is designed for sharing information and resources among leaders in science, agriculture, economics, fishing, paddling and education. Registration and the conference schedule are available at olivet.edu/watershed.
The conference theme is “Kankakee: The River That Connects Us.” Among the 15 featured speakers are: Brian D. Anderson, Ph.D., director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Timothy Nugent, president/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County; Chuck Theiling, Ph.D., of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Education is an important need for real understanding of watershed issues,” said Dr. Randy Johnson, conference co-chair and biological sciences professor at Olivet. “That is what this conference will address. Solutions to environmental issues don’t happen without stakeholders seeking to understand one another’s perspectives, challenges and needs.”
Johnson said the conference is of particular interest to residents of Illinois and Indiana. Named a National Water Trail, the Kankakee River originates near South Bend, Indiana, and joins the Des Plaines River to form the Illinois River. As the Illinois flows into the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico, what happens in Illinois and Indiana ultimately impacts Louisiana and beyond, Johnson pointed out.