Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Long Term Resource Monitoring


Great Rivers Field Station

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The Great Rivers Field Station (Mississippi River, Reach 26 Field Station), operated by the Illinois Natural History Survey, is located near the Mississippi River at Brighton, Illinois. The Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) staff conduct monitoring of water quality, sediment, aquatic and floodplain forest vegetation, land cover and land use, macroinvertebrates, and fish communities along a 50-mile reach of the Mississippi River and the mouth of the Illinois River above the newly constructed Melvin Price Lock and Dam 26.

Sampling involves standardized field methods coordinated with the other five LTRM field stations. Monitoring data are currently being used to detect and explain long-term trends in river-floodplain natural resources, to investigate the effects of commercial navigation, and to increase our understanding of the ecology and management of this vital large floodplain river system. 

The Great Rivers Field Station houses seven full-time LTRM staff (Team Leader, three component specialists, two field assistants, and one clerical position) and two to four temporary summer positions. The field station is in a rented facility in Brighton, Illinois that includes a main office, a lab, a shop, and storage shed. 

In addition to LTRM sampling, current research projects conducted at the field station include: 

  • Monitoring of exotic carp habitat usage and food habits.
  • Monitoring biota in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement projects.
  • Effects of 1993 flood on natural resources.
  • Studies of Illinois chorus frogs and red-eared slider turtles.
  • Monitoring the the exotic zebra mussel and native unionid mussels in the Mississippi River.
  • Studies of pre- and post-settlement distribution of floodplain forests.
  • Food habit studies of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate research.
  • Monitoring aquatic habitat usage by larval fish.

In addition to the other LTRM field stations and the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, staff cooperate with scientists at other Illinois Natural History Survey field stations including the La Grange LTRM and Forbes Field Stations at Havana, Illinois, the Center for Aquatic Ecology in Urbana, Illinois, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and other regional, national, and international colleges and universities.



John Chick
Field Station Team Leader
Telephone: (618) 468-2850

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center
1 Confluence Way
East Alton, Illinois 62024

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