Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Announces 960K in Grants

Friends is thrilled to receive funding from the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund as one of five community-driven projects to help create a healthier river, habitat, and communities.  Green space, wildlife habitat and stormwater management are essential to the vitality of our river systems—and to the health and safety of the communities around them.

Friends of the Chicago River  will reconnect Mill Creek to the Cal-Sag Channel by removing two shelf structures which block fish passage from the Cal-Sag Channel, opening up 2.5 miles of high-quality stream habitat to benefit more than 17 species of fish.

Here's a snapshop of the collective impact of this funding:


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Not Looking Away Anymore

More and more people aren't looking away anymore when the Chicago River is a strange two-toned contrast of teal and brown. There's a shift in our mindset and they want to know "What's happening?" Read this editorial by the Chicago Sun-Times.

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River Discoloration

Friends of the Chicago River has been working to understand what happened over the weekend that resulted in the dramatic color difference between the North Branch and the Main Stem of the Chicago River between Lake Michigan and Wolf Point.  It appears that the heavy rain increased turbidity and the amount of stormwater pollution that ended up in the river.

See the 4:30 p.m. Monday update 

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Bubbly Creek Spill

Following an oil spill reported Wednesday evening, the USEPA Region 5 is leading the clean-up in Bubbly Creek. The agency arrived on site Thursday morning and are actively cleaning the area and still searching for the point source. There are crews working hard both on land and boat. Pockets of oil were discovered as far south as California Avenue. The windy conditions today are affecting the river’s current to head east towards the lake.


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Catch of the Day

Nearly 200 anglers gathered for the first #ChicagoFishes event on Oct. 13, and the biggest and most surprising catch of the day was an American eel that came from 3,000 miles away to the Chicago River by five-year old, Richie Garcia.


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River Commitment Awards Honor Partners and Volunteers

Each year, Friends recognizes partners, stakeholders, and volunteers that help us achieve our vision of making the Chicago River one of the world’s greatest metropolitan rivers with its annual River Commitment Awards.  On October 18, 2017, we held our annual meeting and honored this year's most inspiring partners with the following awards:  the River Champion—awarded for going above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of their organization; Spirit of the River—for extraordinary efforts that embody the spirit of the river, and Volunteer of the Year—awarded to an exemplary volunteer who exceeds all expectations helping the river. 

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Friends, City, and MPC Recognized

On Wednesday, October 11, Friends of the Chicago River, the City of Chicago, and Metropolitan Planning Council received the “Best Plan” Award for “Our Great Rivers” as part of Friends of Downtown’s annual awards for those who advance the quality of life for downtown residents, workers, and visitors. It was Friends' 4th award this year.


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River Health Boosts Commerce

The new Odyssey Chicago dinner cruise boat is a great indicator of how much Friends' efforts to improve the Chicago River are paying off not just for people and wildlife but also the economy according to a story in the Chicago Tribune business section today.  “The river is growing in popularity, and it’s certainly much cleaner than it was five, 10, 15 years ago. And there’s been an enormous amount of public and private development. All of that added to the attraction,” said Dan Russell, regional vice president at Odyssey parent Entertainment Cruises.

“New boats coming onto the Chicago River demonstrate that the river has become part of what we have to offer the people who live, work, and visit Chicago; it’s no longer second fiddle,” said Margaret Frisbie, Friends' executive director.


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September Turtle Tagging

In order to understand how turtles are using the restored sites that Friends cleared to improve their reproductive success, Friends is working with the Forest Preserves of Cook County to track and tag them. In September Maggie Jones, Friends' conservation specialist and Margaret Frisbie, Friends' executive director, worked with FPCC biologist Chris Anchor to measure, weigh, draw blood from and tag the turtles before letting them go back into the river system.

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