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New Habitat Award Goes to Friends

Today the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund announced $1.1 million in grants to benefit the Chicago River system including $175,000 to Friends of the Chicago River for in-stream habitat improvement. "This grant is an exciting extension of our work to improve water quality to protect the health of people and fish," said Margaret Frisbie, Friends' executive director.

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First Catfish Cavities Getting Installed

This week Friends of the Chicago River and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are installing the first 25 channel catfish nesting cavities of 400 total planned. The project, funded by the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, will provide constructed nesting habitat in reaches of the river system where natural habitat is lacking.

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Three Down, One to Go

On Sunday, November 9 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ribbon for the new boathouse at West River Park, further improving river access which Friends has been striving towards for the last 35 years. The River Park boathouse will open to rent canoes and kayaks  starting next spring. The mayor also announced that the funding is in place for the final boathouse that will be built at the mouth of Bubbly Creek.

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Barges Sinks in the South Branch

Last Friday a barge that was being loaded with clay from a construction site on the South Branch of the Chicago River broke down the middle, spilling its contents into the water. The construction company in charge, Clark Construction, said clay was not in any way contaminated but was unwilling to share any more details.

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Will the Riverwalk Help the River?

Margaret Frisbie, Friends of the Chicago River’s executive director, was recently interviewed on WBEZ’s “Morning Shift” about progress on the Chicago Riverwalk and the RFP the city issued for a new management company to run it. The riverwalk is projected to be completed in 2016 and will showcase the Chicago River with a series of individualized public spaces and a 1 ¼ mile continuous walkway running from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. The City is looking for a management company to run it at a profit.

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The Chicago River IS improving

Environmental writer, Kevin Hebert, decided that too much of the time environmental news is just gloom and doom so he asked Friends  and two others to weigh in on how our waterways are doing to share some good news. Fortunately for us and because of a lot of dedicated effort they are getting better all the time! 

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Sunken Barge Update

Heavy rains a few weeks ago sunk a barge being used as part of the Chicago Riverwalk construction project. According to city sources Riverwalk contractor, Walsh Construction, prepared a salvage plan for the barge which was reviewed and approved by Illinois EPA (IEPA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Both agencies put personnel on site to monitor the progress while it is being lifted. As of today, the removal of the barge is continuing per the plan and IEPA and USCG have not voiced any concerns.

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