Serve as eyes and ears for the Chicago River

Thanks for caring and taking the time to learn more about how volunteer to be the eyes and ears for the Chicago River. 

While most people see the Chicago River as a wonderful natural resource that deserves our care, we still have problems with illicit dumping, littering, and garbage carried to the river when it rains. Sometimes there are even wild animals that need help.

To help manage these distressing issues, Friends asks you to serve as eyes and ears for the Chicago River by watching out for garbage and visible pollution and to make a phone call when you see anything that looks like it does not belong. This list lets you know who to call when you see things that need immediate action on or along the Chicago River. 

  • For floating garbage, fly dumping or other illegal activities in Chicago, call the City of Chicago at 311.
  • For fish kills, illegal dumping into the waterway or sewers, or complaints of water pollution in Cook County call the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District at (800) 332-DUMP (3867).

For more frequent reporting, download the Citizen Incident Reporting application by going to app store and searching for MWRD Citizen Incident Reporting.

  • When trash is overflowing in a city park, call the Chicago Park District - (312) 742-7529.
  • For injured wildlife check out what do to by reading the guidelines on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website that helps you understand who to call or what to do: Injured Animal Information   (Please note that in most cases that will be nothing.)

After you make your call, we encourage you to call us so we can follow up as well. Call our office at (312) 939-0490.

Thank you!