Swimming Getting Closer Every Day

While there are a lot of good reasons not to swim in the Chicago River system, they are becoming a fewer and Friends is pleased to be developing ideas and partnerships that will help make the river safe and more accessible every day. Check out the Chicago Sun-Times piece regarding a potential swimming event that ran last week. Also check out Friends' comments on why you should NOT jump in just yet.

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Long-Time Volunteer Hearlded at Chicago's Jazz Fest

One of Friends of the Chicago River's longest and most loyal volunteers, Tom Nelson, who sadly passed away last winter, was heralded in the Chicago Tribune because of his spirited style and dedicated to the Chicago Jazz.

Nelson met his wife, Laurie, at the Chicago Jazz Fest and on their first big date he brought her down the Chicago River in a big inflatable raft which he ended up bringing to Jazz Fest, using it as a couch to enjoy the sounds of jazz in the magnificent park.



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Great Cities Need Great Rivers

The Columbia College Chronicle highlights the need for investment and collaboration to make the rivers that flow through the Chicago and the collaboration through Great Rivers Chicago and the "Our Great Rivers" plan that was released this summer.

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And They All Jumped In

On August 27, 2016 David St. Pierre, the executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), the agency in charge of our sewers and stormwater, and the biggest discharger to our waterways, jumped into the Cal-Sag Channel downstream of the Calumet sewage treatment plant to prove that he believes the water is clean enough for swimming.

St. Pierre’s jump, inspired by Steve Buchtel, executive director, Trails for Illinois, who jumped in with him (to benefit the Cal-Sag Trail), marks a moment in history that should be celebrated with brass bands and confetti.

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Bridgehouse Museum Teaches River History

Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum sits on one of the most historic sites in Chicago where soldiers built Fort Dearborn in 1803--and started digging a channel through a sandbar that is the footprint for the Main Stem eastward today. Visitors to the museum can discover this and other interesting facts about Chicago's growth to become one of the nation's largest cities over the course of barely 50 years--all because of the river.

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We Will Be Swimming

And we know that people already are.

Our Great Rivers, released this week by Friends, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the City of Chicago with enthusiastic support by and leadership from Mayor  Rahm Emanuel, has continued to attract attention. The Chicago Tribune ran the story on the front page, the Chicago Sun-Times picked it up,  and a host of TV and radio stations including NBC News Chicago and the online journal Next City quoted Friends' vision for swimming which is now protected by law.

In fact, next week...

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Among Great Rivers

Friends of the Chicago River was pleased to share in the announcement of Our Great Rivers, a vision and acition agenda that highlights ideas and strategies that will contribute to the continued improvement of the Chicago, Calumet, and Des Plaines rivers where they flow through the City of Chicago. A segment on Chicago Tonight with Friends' executive director, Margaret Frisbie, hightlighted how Our Great Rivers will be a useful tool for Friends and other organizations that have been working to improve and protect these rivers.

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Stormwater Wreaks Havoc. Next Time You Can Help

This weekend's torrential rains caused combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that drove sewage and other pollutants into the Chicago River system, potentially harming people and wildlife. In fact, the volume was so great the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) had to open the controlling gates at Wilmette which allowed polluted water into Lake Michigan causing beach closures. Friends called for an Overflow Action Day Friday in advance of the weekend's wet weather and had piece in the Chicago Sun-Times on how you can help.

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Friends' Bridgehouse Museum Continues to Inspire

Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum continues to inspire visitors with its interesting content, access to the innerworkings of the bridge, and sweeping views of the Chicago River. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, programs include a summer lunchtime lecture series, Asian Carp Grill Fest, and musical interludes.

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