The 2019 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence

500 500 Stroud Water Research Center

Presented at The Water’s Edge gala each year since 2011, the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence is a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in freshwater-related activities. Honorees represent regions and watersheds from around the world and a broad range of activities, professions, and scientific disciplines.

The 2019 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence will be presented to Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters. Join us to celebrate on the evening of September 17.

One Man Makes a Difference

Chad Pregracke has the Mississippi River in his blood. He grew up on its banks and spent the majority of his time in and on the river with his family. That’s why he noticed a consistent and ongoing problem: the growing amount of trash littering the banks and in the stream.

At age 17, Pregracke began calling government agencies to tell them about the problem. None of his calls resulted in action, even though the trash problem seemed to be escalating every year. Pregracke decided that it was up to him to make a difference and, at 22 years old, he started to clean up the river. In 1997 he was able to gather together enough funding and begin cleanup of the second longest river in the United States. Friends joined in, and in 1998, when Pregracke was 23, Living Lands & Waters was founded.

Pregracke has received many accolades for his vision, charisma, non-stop work ethic, and natural  leadership including: The Jefferson Award for Public Service (America’s version of the Nobel  Prize); 2013 CNN Hero of the Year; the National Achievement Award from the National Rivers Hall of Fame; the Golden Glow Individual Award from the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers’ Council of Past Presidents; the Environmental Hero Award from Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn; the Humanitarian Award from the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days; and the Merit Award from the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Pregracke was recognized by the Points of Light Institute in 2011.

About Living Lands & Waters

Headquartered in East Moline, Illinois, Living Lands & Waters is a 501 (c)(3) environmental organization that was established by Chad Pregracke in 1998. Since the organization was founded, Living Lands & Waters has grown to be the only “industrial-strength” river cleanup organization like it in the world. Spending up to nine months a year living and traveling on the barge, the Living Lands & Waters crew hosts river cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings, and other key conservation efforts.