Institute For Environmental Studies

IES News Archive

News Archive

News Archive


Dissertation Defense Announcement

  • November 2023. Terri Tobias will defend her dissertation, "Freshwater Fungal Diversity and Ecological Interactions with Mosquitoes and Plant Communities," on December 7, 2023, at 10 am. Join us at
  • November 2023. Prof. Viadero and Bob Sinkler, Executive Coordinating Director of the Corn Belt Ports, discuss a new partnership between the CBP and WIU on WQPT. Watch the interview at

or listen at 

  • October 2023. WIU teams with the Corn Belt Ports to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability, multimodal transportation logistics, and community and economic development across the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

  • May 2023.  Jason Hunt, an ES Ph.D. candidate, was the lead author on a paper on invasive mosquitoes in western Illinois that will appear in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. Read the paper here:


  • November 2022.  Prof. Viadero was interviewed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press regarding the ongoing impacts of low Mississippi River water levels on commerce and the environment. 
  • October 2022.  Follow up from the 2022 Upper Mississippi River Conference - the St. Paul Pioneer Press covers WIU's Environmental Team on the proposed diversion of water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River Basin. 
  • Learn more about a recently revived proposal to divert water from the Mississippi River to help meet the water needs of the Lower Colorado River Basin. Read more at Please also see the two-part companion web story: • "Water Scarcity in the Lower Colorado River Basin" ( and • "Getting Water from the Mississippi River to the Lower Colorado River Basin" (
  • Recent Grad Wins Top Honor at 2022 Upper Mississippi River Conference October 2022. Claire Helmke's work on the integration of sonar-based bathymetric measurements into remediation planning at Carp Lake in Davenport, IA, took top honors at the 2022 Upper Mississippi River Conference Student Research Competition. Claire recently completed her MS in Biological Sciences.
  • July 2022.  Dr. Anshu Singh and Prof. Viadero published a new paper on trace metal contamination from an iron slag pile in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.  You can read and download it at
  • Photo of Dr, Anshu SinghMarch 2022.  Dr. Anshu Singh, a 2020 graduate of the Environmental Science Ph.D. program, was recently recognized by the Quad City Engineering and Science Council
    (QCESC) as the 2022 Senior Scientist of the Year.  Dr. Singh is the Chief of Environmental Services and Co-Founder of Riverside Global in Hampton, IL.  Learn more at


  • A new publication in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association by Dr. Michele Rehbein.  December 2021.  Dr. Michele Rehbein, a 2020 graduate of the Environmental Science Ph.D. program recently published her work on the first observance of Uranotaenia sapphirina and Aedes japonicus in northern Illinois. Her paper can be read or downloaded at
  • Environmental students present their work at the 2021 Upper Mississippi River Conference. October 2021.  Graduate students from WIU's Environmental Science Ph.D. program and the MS program in the Department of Biological Sciences presented their research work at the 2021 UMRC. Topics ranged from improvements in the management of agricultural tile drain water to the characterization of metals-laden sediment at a lake that's located in the Mississippi River floodplain.


  • November 18, 2020. Anshu Singh, a candidate in Western's Environmental Science Ph.D. program successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation on the partitioning of trace metals derived from a foundry slag deposit in a Mississippi River floodplain lake. October 28, 2020.

  • Michele Rehbein, a candidate in Western's Environmental Science Ph.D. program was the first student to successfully defend her Ph.D. dissertation on "Mosquitoes of Wetland and Low Order Streams in West-Central and North-Central Illinois: Developing Models between Culex Mosquito Abundance Versus Abiotic Factors and Identification of Mosquito Hosts through Genetic Sequencing," Read more at

  • ENVR 401, Colloquium on Environmental Studies,  offered online in Spring 2021.  ENVR 401 (STAR number 59104) is offered fully online in Spring 2021.  Please contact Vickie Livingston ( if you have questions about this course.

  • Return-to-work plans for IES.  Phase-specific plans for returning to work are available at

  • ENVR 201 is going online in Fall 2020.  ENVR 201 will be offered as an online course in Fall 2020. The STARS number for this course is 54822.

  • IES welcomes Prof. Steven Wei to our team!  Dr. Steven Wei recently joined WIU's Institute for Environmental Studies as an affiliate faculty member. Dr. Wei is a Professor of Physics and Engineering at Slippery Rock University, where he directs the School of Engineering. Prof. Wei will share his expertise in waste management and resource recovery in the mineral extraction and processing industries as well as watershed-scale environmental impact assessments with Western's Environmental Science Ph.D. students.

  • WIU Institutes team up to support waterborne commerce, economic development, flood risk management, climate resiliency, environmentally sustainable development in the Corn Belt.  Take a minute to learn about the Corn Belt Ports (CBP) Initiative at and how the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and the Institute for Environmental Studies (IES) are working to support this important regional opportunity.

  • Spring Break 2020 

  • Scholarship Opportunity

      Eddy Scholarship 2020
  • January 2020, Remote water surveillance capabilities arrive at WIU!

    QCCA water level station


  • October 2019, Ph.D. candidate receives a second QCCA scholarship.

     Students receive scholarships
  • September 2019. Ph.D. Candidate, Michele Rehbine, discusses the impacts of Upper Mississippi River flooding on regional mosquito populations on WQAD 
  • September 2019, Environmental Science Professor receives AAEES Board Certification.

       Professor receives Board Certification
  • March 2019. WIU Environmental Science Team discusses recent flooding on WQAD. 
  • March 2019, Ph.D. Candidates receive scholarships.

    Students receive scholarships
  • January 2019, Ph.D. candidate receives a second round of funding for research on mosquito microbiome.

    student funding announcement


  • October 2018, Another Great Upper Mississippi River Conference! Many thanks to the 176 attendees who joined us to discuss healthy watersheds and flood-resilient communities at Stoney Creek Inn in Moline, IL.
  • IES was a proud supporter of the student research posters session at the UMRC.  This year, undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students from Augustana College, Western Illinois University, and the University of Iowa presented eleven posters featuring their research. We were also fortunate to have two student authors from Southeastern High School in Augusta, IL.

  • October 2018, Ph.D. Student Presents her Findings at the Nachusa Grasslands Research Symposium. Learn more about Michele Rehbein's research on Aedes and Culex mosquito microbiomes at Nachusa Grasslands.

  • July 2018, "Math on the Mississippi" middle school summer science camp.  Environmental Science Ph.D. students, faculty, and staff lead a day of environmental inquiry at "Math on the Mississippi" summer camp.
  • July 2018.  Michele Rehbine and Jason Hunt, Ph.D. Candidates, appear on WQAD to discuss mosquito populations in the QC region. 
  • February 2018, Ph.D. candidate receives funding for research on mosquito microbiome.

    Student receives research funding.
  • February 2018.  Ph.D. Candidate, Terri Tobias, talks about scientific communication and public engagement on Tri-States Public Radio 


  • December 2017, Ph.D. Candidate shares his research on mosquito populations in west-central Illinois with Illinois Natural History Survey researchers.

    Jason Hunt seminar December 2017
  • October 2017, MOLINE, IL. 10th Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference. IES continues to be a proud cosponsor of the Upper Mississippi River Conference - a unique venue where stakeholders from federal, state, and local government, non-governmental organizations, academics, and the private sector gather to discuss contemporary issues that impact the sustainable use of the Upper Mississippi River and its environs.  If you're interested in learning more, conference materials are available at

  • hydropower icon

    18-July 2017, WIU-QC, MOLINE, IL. "Hydro Potential on the Mississippi River" workshop organized by River Action was a productive venue for stakeholders to examine America’s first renewable energy source – water. Speaker presentations and links to hydropower stakeholders are available here.  For those who are interested in more detailed information, click here to download the conference whitepaper developed and provided by WIU's Institute for Environmental Studies.


  • Raise the Grade!  Many thanks to the 200+ attendees of the 2016 Upper Mississippi River Conference - "Raising the grade in the Upper Mississippi River Basin"!  Be on the lookout for updates from working sessions on ecosystem health, flood control and risk reduction, and much more in the near future. You can access conference materials and subscribe to Facebook and Twitter feeds at

  • First Place Finish -  Congratulations to Jason Hunt, an Environmental Science Ph.D. student, for his First Place student presentation at the Fifth-Annual Great Plains Emerging Infectious Diseases Conference held by the University of Iowa.  Jason presented his work on the role the Upper Mississippi River watershed plays on the prevalence of the invasive mosquito, Aedes japonicus.  To learn more about vector biology work being conducted at WIU, click here.


  • Thanks to those who contributed to the success of the Upper Mississippi River Conference and the preconference Student Summit co-sponsored by the WIU College of Arts & Sciences' Institute for Environmental Studies. The Youth Summit attracted 112 participants from regional high schools and colleges who gathered to learn about the Mississippi River, environmental initiatives, and the organizations working to maintain the ecological health and economic prosperity of one of the world's largest rivers. The youth summit and conference were attended by students and faculty from WIU's Geography, Biological Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Environmental Sciences programs.  As part of the conference, a student poster session featured the research work of 18 undergraduate and graduate students from Augustana College, St. Ambrose University, and Western Illinois University.


  • Fall 2014, MOLINE, IL - Students in WIU's new Environmental Science Ph.D. Program now have the opportunity to study and conduct research in brand new facilities located in the heart of the Upper Mississippi River basin. Click here to learn more.


  • La Moine River Ecosystem Partnership features WIU ornithologist as Keynote Speaker.  13-November 2013, Dr. Tom Dunstan, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, will be the keynote speaker at the La Moine River Ecosystem Partnership's Annual Meeting at 6:30 pm in Rushville, IL.  Click here for additional details.

  • 25-28 September 2013:  Many thanks to everyone who participated in the joint 2013 Upper Mississippi River and Urban Waterfronts Conferences!  This year's conference, co-sponsored by the WIU College of Arts & Sciences' Institute for Environmental Studies, attracted attendees from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Angola, China, and Portugal.  U.S.-based participants came from 20 states plus the District of Columbia.

  • 6-August 2013; Approval to offer a Ph.D. in Environmental Science granted by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The Illinois Board of Higher Education passed the following motion: "... And grants to Western Illinois University authorization to establish the Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science: Large River Ecosystems in the Western Region subject to the institution’s implementation and maintenance of the conditions that were presented in its application and that form the basis upon which this authorization is granted." Approval to offer the program will now be sought from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


  • 28-September 2012; UMRC Thanks - Many thanks to those who contributed to the success of the 2012 Upper Mississippi River Conference!

  • 21-September 2012; Ph.D. program in Environmental Science approved by WIU Board of Trustees. A Ph.D. in Environmental Science, with an emphasis on large river ecosystem science, was approved by the WIU BOT. The multidisciplinary degree will allow WIU to provide greater coherence to the field of large river ecosystem science, broaden the advanced training available to its students, enhance opportunities for faculty engagement in scholarship, directly support regional economic and community development and advance its position as a leader in environmental research on the upper Mississippi River. The new degree program will be forwarded to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) for consideration. The full press release is available here.

  • Voices of the Hennepin Canal - A new book by Dr. Bill Griffin, WIU Professor Emeritus of Geography Mock up of "Voices of the Hennepin Canal," a book by Dr. Bill Griffin.

  • July 24; IES hosts Rivers as Bridges exchange students at Riverfront campus The Institute for Environmental Studies in conjunction with the Department of Geography and the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Research Station provide visiting Chinese high school students with hands-on experience in GIS technology and river ecology.  For more information on the Rivers as Bridges program, click here.

  • The Coneflower Project, March 4; Latest news release: "Sustainability and Curriculum at WIU, Part 1"  Click here to read the article.  Learn about this opportunity for faculty to learn and share knowledge and resources for integrating sustainability across our curricula and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration.  Click here for more information.


2011 UMRC registration image

  • April 4; The WIU Graduate Council approved ENVR 401, Colloquium on Environmental Studies, for graduate credit.  The first offering of this course as a "401G" will be in Spring 2012.

  • May 19 & 20;  Coneflower Project: Infusing Sustainability Across the Curriculum Faculty Development Workshop offered by Dr. Amy Mossman.  Click on the icon to see the workshop agenda; for additional information, contact Dr. Mossman at Adobe Acrobat Icon - Square

  • September; UMRC Thanks - Many thanks to those who contributed to the success of the 2011 Upper Mississippi River Conference!


  • November 18; Join Campus Greens for a screening of the film "Burning the Future: Coal in America" followed by a moderated panel discussion This event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in Morgan Hall Room 109. Admission is FREE.  Click on the icon for additional information. Adobe Acrobat icon

  • A new course for Spring 2011: Attention students in Mathematics, Biological Sciences, & related fields - Prof. A. Ekanayake ( is offering MATH 475/475G "Mathematical Models in Biology". Click here for more information on this exciting new course!

  • October 17; Join the Friends of Vishnu Springs and IES on Sunday, October 17, 2010 from 10 am to 4 pm for an open house at the Ira & Reatha T. Post Wildlife Sanctuary. Click here for more information from the Friends of Vishnu Springs.

  • September 21; Prof. Amy Patrick Mossman presents, “Sustainability Across the Curriculum from Brainstorm to Action: Realizing Our Education and Outreach Goals” as part of the WIU Sustainability Lecture Series: Conversations for the Natural & Social Sciences, Business, and the Arts & Humanities Tuesday, 21-Sept. 2010, at 12:30 pm, in the Malpass Library; 3rd floor west. Click here to download a pdf file of Dr. Patrick Mossman's presentation.

  • August 25-27; The Third Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference at the i-wireless Center in Moline, IL.  Click here to download a summary of the event and highlights of WIU's participation.

  • For ENVR Minors & BLAS Students: ENVR 201, Introduction to Environmental Studies, is offered this fall semester!  ENVR 201 will meet on M W F from 9:00 to 9:50 am and is offered at both the Macomb & QC campuses. When registering for this course, use STAR #48557 for the Macomb location or STAR #48558 to attend class at the QC campus.

  • A New Undergraduate Degree Program:  A new "hybrid" degree program between the Eastern Iowa Community College District and WIU-QC's Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration will be available for students in the Fall 2010 semester. For additional information on the program, click here to visit the WIU-QC RPTA web page.

  • March 14; New degree program featured in the Quad Cities Times, "Colleges team up for 3-year program"(14-March 2010). Click here to read the story.

  • River Conference featured in Focus Magazine. The Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference was featured in the Spring/Summer Edition of Focus Magazine: "Mississippi River attracts attention, efforts of WIU, partners". Click here to read the article.


  • Congratulations to Robin Bauerly, IES Administrative Assistant, for winning the 2009 CAS Civil Service "Recognition & Service Award"!

  • A new graduate course for Spring 2010! GEOG 630, Seminar in Physical Geography, is being offered by Dr. Ranbir Kang. Click here for more information about the course. Click here to email Dr. Kang.

  • Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the IES Advisory Board: Dr. Daniel Ogbaharya (Department of Political Science) and Dr. Amy Patrick Mossman (Department of English & Journalism)!

  • October 18; Many thanks to the 1,500+ visitors who attended the Open House at the Post Sanctuary! We are especially grateful to the the Friends of Vishnu Springs for their outstanding volunteer efforts as the driving force behind this event.

  • October 16 - 17; Join our friends and colleagues at Augustana College as they celebrate a significant milestone in the history of their Geography Department by attending the "Geography 60th Anniversary Symposium: A Celebration of Learning, Research and Service".

  • A new course for Fall 2009: Soc 499: Environmental Sociology will be offered by Dr. Richard Gee. This new course meets on MWF from 1:00-1:50 pm in Morgan Hall Room 307. Click here to email Dr. Gee.

  • The IES Advisory Board met on Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:00 am in the CAS Dean's Office.

  • For students who matriculate in Fall 2009 semester, the ENVR minor has been revised. Click here for a brochure on the revised Environmental Studies minor (pdf document). Click here for additional information on the IES Academic Programs page.

  • July 1, 2009; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director, Lynn Lewis and WIU President Al Goldfarb sign a Memorandum of Understanding in support of environmental education and research. Click here to learn more about this event.

  • June 2009; IES welcomes CAS Sciences Advisor, Ms. Jennifer Sandrik, to our team! Click here to go to the Academic Advising page for additional information.

  • April 8, 2009; 6th Annual WIU Environmental Summit, 9 am - 3 pm, University Union, Grand Ballroom. Click here to learn more about the Environmental Summit.

  • April 6, 2009; New program proposal for the Doctoral Degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis on large river ecosystem science will be considered by the WIU Graduate Council, 3 - 5 pm, University Union, Board Room. UPDATE Proposal for the Ph.D. in Environmental Science received approval from the WIU Graduate Council!

  • March 30, 2009; Sustainability Luncheon presentation by Ms. Selina Goddard, BIOSCI Graduate Student, on the relationships between historic land use and forest cover at the Ira & Reatha T. Post Wildlife Sanctuary, 12:30 - 1:30 pm, Malpass Library, Room 180.

  • March 25, 2009; Screening of "Fighting Goliath - the Texas Coal Wars" followed by a panel discussion on coal mining and utilization, 7 - 9 pm in Tillman Hall, Room 301 & Quad Cities via CODEC. An FYE 2009 cosponsored by IES and the Departments of Political Science & Biological Sciences. Click here for background information and a preview of the film.

  • January 2009; IES welcomes Dr. Eric Ribbens to our team! Dr. Ribbens is teaching ENVR 401, the capstone course in the Environmental Studies minor, during the Spring 2009 semester. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ribbens.

  • January 13, 2009; IES Advisory Board Meeting, 10 am, TL 301.


  • Highlights from the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine include: "WIU cosponsors first Upper Mississippi River Conference"; feature story on Drs. Sue and Richard Musser"; & "‘Vishnu Springs’ given to WIU, becomes Post Wildlife Sanctuary". Click the image for a pdf package of F/W 08 stories.  Cover of FOCUS Magazine Fall 2008

  • November 14, 2008; IES staff participate in CITR's Faculty Research Symposium.

  • November 1, 2008; Congratulations to IES Research Fellow Dr. Sue Hum-Musser for receiving a 2008 University Research Council (URC) grant to support her work on plant-herbivore interactions.

  • October 22, 2008; An important letter from community stakeholders regarding the Post Sanctuary.

  • October 14, 2008; Proposed revision to the Environmental Studies Minor approved by the WIU Faculty Senate.

  • October 6, 2008; IES sponsors trip to hear Wendell Barry speak at Augustana College.

  • October 4, 2008; Proposed revision to the Environmental Studies Minor approved by WIU's Council on Curricular Programs & Instruction (CCPI).

  • September 22 & 23, Geography Research Exhibit, Tillman Hall, Room 301F. Click here to learn more about the Exhibit.

  • IES welcomes Dr. Sue Hum-Musser, who joined the Institute as a Research Fellow in the Fall 2008 semester!

  • Congratulations to IES Research Fellow Dr. Susan Romano, on receiving support for her research on the hybridization, and spatial and genetic distribution of the federally threatened plant species, Boltonia decurrens, along the Illinois River, from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service!

  • August 21-23, 2008, Upper Mississippi River Conference: Weaving Multiple Uses into Sustainable River Communities, i wireless Center, Moline, IL.

  • August 11, 2008, Earthwatch Institute student research presentations, 1 p.m. at the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station.

  • June 23, 2008; WIU Institutes to Conduct Extensive Study of Flood Impacts.

  • Highlights from the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine include: "Institute for Environmental Studies - growing more than just plants" & "Fink gift provides Western students with local ecological laboratory" Click here for a pdf package of Sp/Su 08 stories.

  • April 28, 2008; Course in American Environmental History (HIST 422G) to be offered in Fall 2008.

  • April 23, 2008; Proposed revision of ENVR minor approved by CAS Faculty Council.

  • April 2, 2008; Proposed revision of ENVR minor approved unanimously by CAS Curriculum Committee.

  • April 2, 2008; Environmental Summit V cosponsored with Green Solutions.

  • March 7, 2008; IES Director, Roger Viadero, featured on Tri States Public Radio's "Emphasis".

  • February 22, 2008; IES Director, Roger Viadero Elected President of AES.

  • January 22, 2008; IES Advisory Board member Anderson featured in Keokuk, IA paper.

  • January 11, 2008; IES Advisory Board Meeting.

  • January 1, 2008; IES Advisory Board Member, Marty Green appointed VP of Governmental Relations for Illinois CPA Association.