Of Time and the River
12,000 Years of Human Use of the Illinois River

"We have seen nothing like this river that we enter, as regards its fertility of soil, its prairies and woods; its cattle (buffalo), elk, deer, wildcats, bustards, swans, ducks, parroquets, and even beaver..." (Pere Jacques Marquette 1673)
Welcome. “Of Time and the River” is an educational Web site combining geology, archaeology, history, environmental science, and the changing ecology of the Illinois River to tell the story of this river during 12,000 years of human use. Our focus is a problem known as Non-point Source Pollution - pollution in the Illinois River from diffuse sources and not from a single point of origin nor introduced into the river from a specific source.






Golden Eagle Packet at Havana, Illinois
Our story begins about 17,000 years ago with the creation of the Illinois River by a cataclysmic event known as the Kankakee Torrent. This torrent of water carves out much of the present-day Illinois River valley, fills this new channel, and also fills the former Mississippi River channel left empty 24,000 years ago as a result of glaciation. You’ll see, hear, and read more about the Torrent in a moment when the video begins, and you begin your historical journey along the Illinois River.



VIDEO

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