Chicago River Day is Action and Advocacy

Canoe guides Zack Nauth and Marvin Fournier prepare to launch with a CBS 2 news photographer.

The advocacy and action of Friends and our partners for increased environmental restoration to improve and protect our waterways was highlighted this week in a news story by CBS 2 that featured a look at the historic environmental abuse of Bubbly Creek on the South Branch as well as the comeback of the Chicago River overall; action is particularly important as we are just two weeks away from one of our most prominent advocacy and action days – the 29th annual Chicago River Day on Saturday, May 8.

Watch the CBS 2 News Story 

You can take action by volunteering for Chicago River Day, our large-scale spring cleanup and restoration event. While the overall health of the Chicago River system continues to improve, litter remains a stubborn problem, particularly litter from take-out food and single-use plastics. There are nearly 70 sites along the river system that are open for registration.

Since Chicago River Day began in 1992, volunteers have carted off hundreds of tons of garbage and invasive plant material from the 156-mile Chicago River system, restoring riverbanks and open spaces. Friends will also continue the successful Summer Challenge litter clean up launched last year in response to the pandemic so volunteers can work together, but safely apart, all summer long to create a Litter Free Chicago River system. This year Chicago River Day includes opportunities for volunteers to participate in the Illinois Spring Bird Count, a yearly bird count that consists of volunteers conducting bird censuses in all 102 Illinois counties.

Registration is required, and volunteers have two start times to choose from – 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Masks and social distancing are required, regardless of vaccination status. Thank you to all our Chicago River Day Sponsors.