The Dell Ecology Lab at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) of Lewis and Clark Community College was recently awarded $50,000 by Phillips 66.
“The funding provided by Phillip’s 66 is vital for advancing our efforts in understanding and combating plastic pollution,” Ecologist Tony Dell said. “With their support, NGRREC will not only conduct cutting-edge research but also drive initiatives in education and policy development. By leveraging this support, we can make significant strides in protecting our rivers, lakes, and oceans from the detrimental effects of plastic pollution.”
Melissa Erker, director of Government and Community Relations at the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery, said the project is a good fit for the company’s environmental priorities.
“Supporting a project like this at a world class research facility in the backyard of our Wood River Refinery aligns with our sustainability commitment of providing energy today with an eye on tomorrow,” Erker said. “We are committed to focusing on continual improvements that keep our assets and communities strong as we work to meet the world’s changing energy needs.”
The ecological threats posed by microplastics in waterways have become increasingly evident; yet remain under-studied in freshwater systems. NGRREC will use the funding to promote a newly formed initiative aimed at understanding the plastic cycle within the Mississippi River Basin.
“Through this initiative, we aim to understand the sources, transport, and fate of plastics in the basin, shedding light on their potential ecological and human health impacts,” Dell said.
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)
NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and to practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.