Center for Delta Studies | SIU

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Center for Delta Studies


Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center

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Welcome to the Illinois Delta Region

Welcome to the Center for Delta Studies at Southern Illinois University.  With a mission of collaborative regional development of the 16 Illinois Delta counties and the greater Mississippi Delta region, the Center is envisioned to serve as a platform for research and service in the Delta by the faculty and staff of SIU.  Established within the Office of Economic and Regional Development (OERD), the Center is uniquely positioned to be a productive linkage between the people of the Delta and the capacity-building resources of the University.

The Illinois Delta, truly a land between three rivers, is a region of promise, potential, and resources.  Southern Illinois University is proud to call this region home and to be an integral part of its historical, cultural, educational, and economic community.  The bonds that have developed between Southern Illinoisans and SIU are inextricably linked as the region and the University continue their evolutions of progress and global dynamics.

Southern Illinois is awash in resources.  From historic Cairo one can see the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  With the Wabash along its eastern border, Southern Illinois features three navigable rivers.  Three interstate highways and major freight and passenger rail lines traverse the region, making it an epicenter of national transportation.

The region is blessed with nationally strategic energy resources that include coal, oil, natural gas, and biofuels including soybeans and corn.  The Illinois legislature recently passed the most comprehensive regulations on hydraulic fracturing, legislation that is regarded by many throughout the nation as the template for productive, yet environmentally sensitive development of the oil and gas resources in the region.

Agriculture has long been an economic staple of Southern Illinois with a rich multitude of plant and animal crops that are diverse and unique.  The region hosts a burgeoning supply of and demand for locally grown foods that are featured in numerous communities in farmers markets and co-ops.

Southern Illinois is a land of great history, beauty, and outdoor recreation.  From the magnificent Garden of the Gods within the Shawnee National Forest to the Mississippi River town of Chester, the home of Elzie Segar, the creator of Popeye, the region is a destination for all who love hiking, fishing, hunting, nature, golfing, festivals and fun.