Together We Are the Eyes and Ears of the River

North Branch of the Chicago River near Horner Park in the Irving Park community.

The action and advocacy of Friends of the Chicago River rely greatly on our community partners, volunteers, and neighborhood residents to help us be the eyes and ears of the river and the wildlife who call it home.

Recently residents of the Irving Park community made us aware of the construction of an unpermitted seawall constructed by a private property owner on the North Branch of the river near the Horner Park Natural Area in Chicago. Our outreach to government agency partners has confirmed that no one secured the necessary permits and permission needed to build it. The protection of the remaining natural edges of the river is a crucial contributor to the overall health of the Chicago River system. Agencies are now in contact with the property owner, and we are tracking the next steps closely.

If you spot any irregular activity in the Chicago-Calumet River system please notify us at or call (312) 939-0490, ext. 10.

To report illegal dumping contact the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District at 800-332-3867 (DUMP) or submit an incident report online

Just south of this area, a $5.6 million river shoreline restoration project was completed at Horner Park in 2018, restoring 11 acres of riverbank from a thicket of invasive plants to a thriving savanna of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Invasive plant species were removed and replaced by 128 native trees and 282 shrubs to combat erosion. Two acres of riverbank were added as well as new access to nature with trails along the river. The restoration project was the culmination of years of work by the Horner Park Advisory Council and Friends who partnered together on a study to implement the vison of an improved Horner Park along the Chicago River.