Fish Hotel Upgrade on the Way
Thousands of visitors from around the world were in awe of the beautiful floating garden off of the Chicago Riverwalk. Known by locals as the Fish Hotel, this glimpse of color along Chicago’s second waterfront not only provided an oasis in the midst of a busy city and gave valuable habitat in an otherwise limited reach of the river, but it inspired the City of Chicago to commit to more permanent habitat that will take the river to the next level. The City is planning to install floating islands and instream habitat when it completes the next phases of the Chicago Riverwalk.
Many know the tale of the remarkable engineering feat Chicagoans took in the 1890s to reverse the flow of the river. Yet even before that was completed in 1900, we dug a large straight channel downtown for shipping that removed many of the best fish hang-out spots. Throughout the lifecycle of fish, they seek out shallow, rocky areas for spawning, mating, and maturing. Given the depth of the main stem downtown however, the Chicago River has been less than a four star resort for its aquatic life.
Through the Fish Hotel, Friends offered an alternative vision for fish habitat and recovery. We achieved our goal and fish are making a remarkable comeback. We look forward to the next visionary addition, floating islands in the Chicago River. This new, more permanent fish habitat and beautification project will continue the river’s renaissance as an asset to Chicago and its people.
P.S. We are in the process of finding a new home for the fish hotel. Contact us if you think you might be interested in this amazing mobile habitat for fish.
Created by Friends of the Chicago River to demonstrate that you can construct fish habitat in urban areas, the Fish Hotel provided respite in the Main Stem for many species of fish, muskrats, great blue herons and other creatures. The palette of native wildflowers and grasses included milkweed which produced its own Monarch Butterflies.