Practices that protect headwater streams is the focus of an ongoing study. A Field Day will invite farmers to be part of that discussion.   

headshot of Dr. Joan Brehm
Dr. Joan Brehm

“Viable freshwater water ecosystems are essential to agricultural production. At the same time, agricultural production has some of the largest impacts on our freshwater systems,” said Dr. Joan Brehm, a researcher at Illinois State University and part of the team examining stream conversation with a grant from the Illinois Innovation Network. 

Results of latest research will be shared with farmers at a Field Day with the Shelby County Farm Bureau on September 9. “The goal is to share information with attendees about the significance of headwater streams and practices that can be implemented to protect them,” said Brehm, who is working with Environmental Program Manager of the Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois State University alumna Raelynn Parmely on the event. 

The study, Mitigating Future Threats to Biodiversity: The Role of Headwater Streams and Land Management Practices in the Kaskaskia River Watershed, looks at ways to mitigate the negative impact from rising temperatures and increase the productivity of waterways that are critical to native fish biodiversity. The work is a combined effort of Brehm, who is the co-director of Illinois State University’s Center for a Sustainable Water Future, and researchers from the University of Illinois.  

Brehm noted the input of farmers is essential to the livelihood of the watershed. “Protecting the health and sustainability of our food and water ecosystems requires research that engages the landowners,” she said. “Farmers are making decisions about land use practices that directly impact our freshwater systems. We all want to ensure healthy and viable water resources for our future.” 

For information about the Field Day, contact For more about the research, contact