The goal of the NGRREC partnership is to dramatically improve the management and quality of rivers, while accommodating their current economic uses. Better management will improve water quality, water supply, ecological integrity, recreational and aesthetic uses, sport and commercial fishing and the many other benefits working waters provide. To achieve this goal, the partners of NGRREC require approximately $3 million annually. This funding will help develop a core program of researchers and educators that are critical in developing stable, ongoing and comprehensive research and educational programs. In addition, it will foster collaborations with other institutions, resulting in more comprehensive programs and greater opportunities for acquiring financial support from a variety of sources.
Increasing scientific staff is not only valuable for the advancement of large-river science, but also will stimulate the regional economy for many years. For example, each Ph.D. level scientist brings in an average of $200,000 to $400,000 of research funding from federal, state and private sources each year. The majority of these funds are used to employ research support staff and for the purchase of equipment and supplies locally. This effect will be complemented by visiting scientists, who will establish temporary residence in Illinois while conducting research. The new scientific staff and existing staff will provide the critical mass of people necessary to establish NGRREC as the nexus of research and education on river and watershed systems.