Thiess International Riverprize: Friends of the Chicago River a Finalist for Prestigious Honor

Friends of the Chicago River is one of three finalists for the prestigious Thiess International Riverprize, the Australia-based International River Foundation has announced. The nomination recognizes Friends for efforts to improve and protect the Chicago River system for people, plants, and animals.

Riverprize is the world's foremost award in river basin management, recognizing initiatives that restore and protect rivers, wetlands, lakes and estuaries. Previous winners and finalists have received widespread recognition, built new partnerships, shared their knowledge, and won other awards following Riverprize, becoming part of a network of river practitioners and experts from around the world.

The Thiess International Riverprize will be awarded at the 22nd International Riversymposium in Brisbane, Australia in October. The other two finalists are the James River Association, representing the James River in Virginia, and the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group which focuses on the Whangawehi Stream in New Zealand. "The finalists have all demonstrated remarkable achievements and success in their river restoration work," the foundation said in announcing the three.

The 2019 Thiess International Riverprize, funded by the Bert and Vera Thiess Foundation, marks the 20th anniversary of prize being awarded. Past winners represented the San Antonio River, the Rhine River, the Thames River, the Danube River, and the Mekong River. This year's judges come from Australia, India, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and the United States.

The Riverprize, presented biennially, was described by Steven Schauer, San Antonio River Authority's director of government and public affairs, as "the Nobel Prize for everyone involved in river and watershed stewardship."

Forty years and over 30 awards since our founding, Friends has established itself as Chicago's leader in bringing the river to life. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary and continue to evolve as an organization, we are committed to ensuring that the river is sewage and litter free, that we complete our vision of a continuous Chicago River trail, and that instream and adjacent lands are healthy for people and wildlife.

"It is extraordinary to be considered among the finalists and previous winners which include the Thames, the Mekong, and the Charles," said Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. "It is an honor to be elevated to this assembly and credit is due not only to our staff and board but all the volunteers, members, community partners, and funders who have been part of Friends' success."