News release from the Tri-State Watershed Alliance:
River Summit 2015
April 8th, 9th, and 11th 2015
(April 1, 2015) – For three days next week, the Tri-State Watershed Alliance will be hosting a River Summit 2015 in downtown Fort Wayne Indiana at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. The summit will bring together agriculture and urban groups to discuss, experience, and celebrate our most valuable resource – WATER.
The first River Summit in Fort Wayne was held during the summer of 2011. At that time, riverfront development was just beginning to become a community buzzword. That first summit concentrated on what would need to be done to begin to develop our riverfronts. Along with other community events, it awakened in the community a sense of longing for the rivers to play a significant role in our recreational and economic development life.
The success of that event coupled with recent developments throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed (WLEB) means the region will benefit greatly from taking a fresh look at our rivers. Beyond the current needs of industry and municipalities, communities are increasingly looking to the natural environment around their rivers for new economic development opportunities. Yet recent news events about the waters of the Maumee River Watershed, which comprises most of the WLEB, have left citizens with questions about the quality and feasibility of using their local rivers.
The 2015 River Summit will bring together professional organizations during the day on Wednesday, April 8th, to meet in one location providing an opportunity for their collaboration on pressing water issues. The sessions during this day are closed to the public.
Wednesday evening, however, is open to the public and will feature Chad Pregracke and Keith Bowers, beginning at 6 pm.
At the age of 17, Chad Pregracke, who grew up working and playing on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, became concerned with the toxic accumulation of trash along their banks. After reporting the trash for years with no action taken, he took it upon himself to clean up the rivers and founded Living Lands & Waters. (www.livinglandsandwaters.org). He will talk about his experience cleaning up rivers and prove that one man can make a difference in such a huge environment.
Keith Bowers is the President and Founder of Biohabitats, Inc. (www.biohabitats.com), which has a goal to, “Restore the earth and inspire ecological stewardship.” His address will focus on, “Watershed Thinking – Taking a Holistic Approach”.
On Thursday, April 9th, a full day of information and education sessions is planned for residents and professionals alike. The focus of the day will be to better understand the current state of our rivers as well as the opportunities our rivers offer for economic growth and community building.
The last day of the 2015 River Summit is Saturday April 11th. This will be a family-focused day on and along our rivers. Free activities and experiences will be provided that are associated with the multiple facets our rivers and riparian environment has to offer. Activities will be along the St. Marys River between the Historic Wells Street Bridge and City of Fort Wayne’s Water Filtration Plant. The morning will begin at 9 am at Arts United on Main Street until 10 am and from there the attendees will make their way to the river.
Hopefully you can join us for some, if not all of this event which will showcase the importance of our rivers and water resources to the economic health of the region. For more information including the agenda and other details about the activities on Saturday, please visit our website at https://www.OMIRivers.org/portal/river-summit-2015.