1st ANNUAL “IT’S OUR RIVER DAY”
ON SEPTEMBER 18 A GREAT WAY TO CELEBRATE ILLINOIS WATERWAYS
Illinois waterways have been crucial in shaping the culture, commerce and
communities of our state. Ancient civilizations settled along our rivers
because of the rich diversity of plant and animal life, and access to trading
partners. Early pioneers settled here not via wagon train, but by canoes and
flatboats. Millions of migratory birds use Illinois rivers as flight
patterns. Today, we still rely on rivers for drinking water, transporting
goods and nature-based recreation.
vital link between the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico flows across Illinois,
from the increasingly clean Chicago River to the resource-rich Illinois River
to the mighty Mississippi. The Illinois River, its tributaries and all of
Illinois’ rivers and streams - big and small - are the lifeblood of our
Saturday, September 18, a statewide celebration of these precious resources
will occur in towns across Illinois. The 1st Annual “It’s Our River Day” will
feature dozens of activities and events promoting recreation, conservation
and education about Illinois rivers.
example, you could tour the Jake Wolf Hatchery in Mason County and see how
coho salmon are reared. Take a canoe or kayak ride. Learn to fish in
Yorkville or Chillicothe, or fish for free in the historic I&M Canal.
you could roll up your sleeves and volunteer at any of 20 community “Illinois
River Sweep” clean-ups being organized by the Friends of the Illinois River.
These river sweeps are a great way to get to know your neighbors while
cleaning up your riverfront, and you never know what you might find.
goal of “It’s Our River Day” - which will be held on the third Saturday of
every September - is to boost awareness of rivers by offering hands-on
conservation activities as well as lively recreational opportunities. Broad
citizen participation is needed to protect this natural resource, and “It’s
Our River Day” is an important organizing tool for private and public
agencies concerned with protecting this asset.
rivers are increasingly becoming attractive tourist destinations. Such
activities as bird-watching, fishing paddling and boating generate revenue
for many towns along the rivers. Any investment of time or money in the
preservation and protection of our waterways is an investment in Illinois’
Native American proverb states, “We do not inherit the earth from our
ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” That must be the guiding
principle of our stewardship and is the sentiment behind “It’s Our River
For details on the many “It’s Our River Day” activities on September 18, call
the Lieutenant Governor’s Office at 217-782-7884 or visit www.CleanWater.il.gov.
(As Lieutenant Governor,
Quinn is Chairman of the Illinois River Coordinating Council, which is
responsible for coordinating public and private funding for restoration of
the Illinois River watershed.)