Since 1979, Friends’ policy and planning initiatives have driven critical water quality improvements, created new and accessible open space, and changed minds about how the Chicago River system should be viewed as we work to improve and protect it for people, plants, and wildlife. 

River advocacy remains a key component of Friends' public policy and planning efforts, as river supporters provide a "voice" for the people, plants and animals that depend on it. Visit Friends' "Get Involved" page to find out how you can make a difference, and "Who to call?" to take immediate action about river pollution.

Learn more about Friends' work in policy, planning, and on-the-ground projects below.


Friends has played an integral role in advancing watershed-wide policies for stormwater management, water quality and invasive species.


What will the Chicago River look like tomorrow? Friends' planning initiatives help policy-makers think big about land use and freshwater resources.

In action

Since 1979, Friends has turned policy ideas into actions. These initiatives have gone a long way towards improving the Chicago River for people, plants and animals.