Chad Pregracke grew up along the Mississippi River near East Moline and saw how neglected and trash-filled the region’s rivers had become. As a young man Pregracke began a life-long pursuit to clean up Midwestern rivers. Through his Living Lands & Waters he has greatly improved the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries in nine states. Pregracke recently expanded the group’s mission to include student educational workshops, The Million Trees Project, Adopt-A-River Mile, and invasive species removal. He received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2002, was named CNN Hero of the Year in 2013, and is the author of From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers.

Chad Pregrake

As of Nov. 27, 2018, from the Living Lands & Waters site