Sustainable management of big rivers is topic of Earth Day forum, April 22

“Our Rivers: A Sustainable Resource?” is the focus of a public education forum that four Washington University faculty will lead as part of a community-wide symposium being held in conjunction with the 5th annual St. Louis Earth Day Celebration, April 22-23.

Barge traffic makes its way through a lock on the Upper Mississippi.

“Dialogue for Development: Investing in Sustainable Communities” is the unifying theme of the two-day Earth Day Symposium, to be held at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd. Washington University is co-sponsoring the symposium as part of a collaboration that involves 39 organizations, government entities, and companies. The program’s goal is to provide the St. Louis community with new tools and strategies to enable profitable development, a clean environment, and the long term livability of healthy, dynamic communities.

The Washington University-led program on sustainable rivers will be held April 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., director of the Environmental Engineering Science Program in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science; Washington University faculty Charles Buescher, professor of environmental engineering, Robert Criss, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences and William Lowry, Ph.D., professor of political science in Arts & Sciences. The colloquium will provide a background history of the rivers in our region and their various uses in transportation, agriculture, power production, recreation and public water supply. See below for a detailed agenda and names of other presenters.

Other highlights of the two-day Earth Day program include more than 20 presentations by local, national and international experts, participation by local government representatives, interdisciplinary workshops, technical seminars, a green buidling expo and a post-conference barge trip on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Other topics to be addressed in educational tracks include Community Design and Water Quality, Green Buildings, Transportation, and Economics and Policy of Sustainable Development.

The public is welcome to attend, but registration fees will be charged; fees range from $25 for policy seminar to $75 for a day-long symposium event. For information, contact St. Louis Earth Day via the Web:; email:; or phone: (314) 962-5838.

Although the big rivers colloquium is being offered to the public as part of the St. Louis Earth Day Celebration, it also marks the final event in a year-long Washington University Sesquicentennial Environmental Initiative, a series of educational programs exploring the role that research universities can play in addressing issues related to the environment. This initiative is shaping the University’s educational programs, research, and operations as they relate to the environment and become one of the defining interdisciplinary programs at the Washington University.

Through a series of lectures and colloquia, the sesquicentennial initiative is attempting to better understand the depth of environmental challenges facing the St. Louis region, the nation, and the world, and ultimately, to define steps that could be taken to solve these problems. The series began last semester and featured such prominent people as former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators Carol M. Browner and William Reilly; Nobel Laureate Mario Molina and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India Chair S. P. Sukhatme. The series is supported by the Washington University in St. Louis Sesquicentennial Commission and generous funding from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation (


Our Rivers: A Sustainable Resource?
Earth Day Celebration Colloquium
Missouri Botanical Garden
April 22, 2004

10:30 -12:00 noon
Management Models of Large Rivers

Moderator: C.A. Buescher, Jr. PE, Retired Chairman of the Board, St. Louis County Water Company; Senior Professor of Engineering, Washington University

  • Richard Aylard, Corporate Social Responsibility Director, RWE Thames Water, England
  • Peter Tennant, Deputy Director, Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission
  • Pat O’ Donnell, Project Manager, St. Louis District Corps of Engineers

1:45-3:15 p.m.
Research for Large Rivers

Moderator: Dr. Pratim Biswas; Director, Environmental Engineering Program, Washington University

  • Mike Chapman, PE; Unit Leader-River Engineering & Restoration Unit, Kansas City District Corps of Engineers
  • Robert Criss, Professor Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University
  • William Lowry, Professor Political Science, Washington University
  • James Goodrich; U.S. EPA Cincinnati, Ohio

3:30-5:00 p.m.
Win-Win Strategies for Large Rivers

Moderator: John L. Stein, Retired Director, Strategic Environmental Initiatives, Anheuser Busch

  • David Fisher; Executive Director, The Great Rivers Greenway District
  • Angela Anderson; Director, Upper Basin Program, Mississippi River Basin Alliance
  • Roger Walker; Associate, Armstrong Teasdale LLP
  • Kristin Perry; Missouri Clean Water Commission Ag Rep., Bowling Green, Mo