New Strategy for River Edge Site Improvements Released

Restored riverbank and native habitat along the North Branch of the Chicago River at Horner Park.

On August 7, 2023, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released the Chicago Waterways Restoration Framework Plan, a comprehensive resource that compiles feedback from Friends of the Chicago River and dozens of our fellow river advocates and agencies who make up Chicago’s River Ecology and Governance Task Force. Formed in 2019, Friends and the Metropolitan Planning Council provide leadership and administrative support for the task force.

Framework Story Map Here 

The 129-page framework plan will help guide the USACE in identifying potential sites and focus areas for further study and will provide a baseline for the next phase of river improvement projects within the City of Chicago. The document builds off past work, including plans and documents authored by Friends of the Chicago River over our history. The plan has mapped and identified over 80 City of Chicago river edge sites, outlining opportunities for enhanced habitat, stormwater management, recreation, and river access.

Download Plan Here 

“This plan is important to helping agencies identify potential next phases of river investments, and will hopefully lead to a whole suite of future projects to improve the health of Chicago’s rivers and the community’s ability to access and enjoy them,” said Adam Flickinger, Friends' Planning Director. “The USACE and the Department of Planning and Development led a very engaging process to collect the input for the plan, and we are excited to see it approved and published.”

The framework plan was developed with in-depth input from a collaboration of the USACE, the River Ecology and Governance Task Force, Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and the Chicago Park District.

View a story map of the framework plan here and download the full plan here.