Serve as Eyes and Ears for the Chicago River

Thanks for caring and taking the time to learn more about how volunteer to be the eyes and ears for the Chicago River. 

While most people see the Chicago River as a wonderful natural resource that deserves our care, we still have problems with illicit dumping, littering, and garbage carried to the river when it rains. Sometimes there are even wild animals that need help.

To help manage these distressing issues, Friends asks you to serve as eyes and ears for the Chicago River by watching out for garbage and visible pollution and to make a phone call when you see anything that looks like it does not belong. This list lets you know who to call when you see things that need immediate action on or along the Chicago River. 

City of Chicago at 311

For floating garbage, fly dumping or other illegal activities in Chicago.

(800) 332-DUMP (3867)

For fish kills, illegal dumping into the waterway or sewers, or complaints of water pollution in Cook County call the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

For more frequent reporting, download the Citizen Incident Reporting application by going to app store and searching for MWRD Citizen Incident Reporting.

(312) 742-7529

When trash is overflowing in a city park, call the Chicago Park District.

For injured wildlife

Read the guidelines on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website that helps you understand who to call or what to do: Injured Animal Information. After you make your call, we encourage you to call Friends of the Chicago River so we can follow up as well. Call our office at (312) 939-0490, ext. 10.