RiverWatch Volunteer Coordinator Hannah Griffis testing for chloride. Photo by Danelle Haake, PhD, RiverWatch Director and Stream Ecologist.

EAST ALTON – Winter is quickly approaching, and Illinois RiverWatch is preparing to train community members to monitor chloride levels in local rivers, ponds, streams and wetlands.

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Identifying areas where salt use impacts water quality is essential for protecting habitats and keeping people and animals safe.

“Much of this salt ends up in local waterways where it harms aquatic life,” said Danelle Haake, RiverWatch director and stream ecologist. “We are seeking volunteers who are willing to check on their local streams several times between November and April. Each monitoring trip could take as little as 15 minutes!”

During the 2021 winter season, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported using more than 522,000 tons of salt on roadways throughout Illinois.

The trainings will be held virtually on:

  • Nov. 6, 6-7 p.m.
  • Nov. 14, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 29, 6-7 p.m.
  • Dec. 6, 7-8:30 p.m.

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Those interested can sign up for a virtual training on RiverWatch’s event page: http://www.ngrrec.org/riverwatch/events/.

The training sessions will provide participants with the information needed to become a Winter Chloride Watcher.

“Our goal is to show whether cities’ efforts are working to lessen the impact of road salt entering streams as the cities adopt Best Management Practices for the application of salt onto roadways,” Haake said.

For more information on the trainings, contact Haake at dhaake@lc.edu or (618) 468-2784.

To learn more about the ecological impacts of road salt in local streams visit http://www.ngrrec.org/News-Stories/Winter-Road-Salt-Impacts-Aquatic-Ecosystems/.

About National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

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