ALTON - Interested in science? Want to learn more about the
Mississippi River watershed? If so, why not tour the National Great
Rivers Research and Education Center's Jerry F. Costello Field
The Field Station, which is located near the confluence of the
Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers at One Confluence Way in
East Alton by the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, is open to the public
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free, guided tours
are given every Friday at 11:30 a.m.
"The Field Station's construction process, and the building
itself, incorporates many green elements with a goal to attain
Leadership in Energy Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED)
certification at the highest level," said Water Resources and
Sustainability Coordinator Ted Kratschmer.
Touring guests can explore an interactive exhibit,
sustainability touch screens and the green features of the Field
Station, including a vegetative roof, educational dragonfly pond
Mesocosms are large concrete channels containing water and
plankton, which can be used as artificial environments for
research. Up to 3.5 million gallons of Mississippi River water per
day will be pumped to NGRREC's mesocosms and wet lab when the
construction is complete later this year.
"Aquatic mesocosms of this scale that can be setup in multiple
ways just don't exist anywhere else," Aquatic Ecologist John Chick
said. "Scientists from all over the world are interested in
utilizing NGRREC's mesocosms for research."
Because the Field Station is situated at the confluence of
three major rivers in the third largest watershed in the world,
NGRREC℠ scientists are able to conduct important research that helps
to shed light on the structure and function of floodplain-river
NGRREC℠ aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education
and outreach related to the interconnectedness of big rivers, their
floodplains and watersheds, and the people who use them.
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center is a
partnership of Lewis and Clark Community College, the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Prairie Research Institute's
Illinois Natural History Survey.