Bridgehouse Museum Teaches River History

Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum sits on one of the most historic sites in Chicago where soldiers built Fort Dearborn in 1803--and started digging a channel through a sandbar that is the footprint for the Main Stem eastward today. Visitors to the museum can discover this and other interesting facts about Chicago's growth to become one of the nation's largest cities over the course of barely 50 years--all because of the river.

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We Will Be Swimming

And we know that people already are.

Our Great Rivers, released this week by Friends, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the City of Chicago with enthusiastic support by and leadership from Mayor  Rahm Emanuel, has continued to attract attention. The Chicago Tribune ran the story on the front page, the Chicago Sun-Times picked it up,  and a host of TV and radio stations including NBC News Chicago and the online journal Next City quoted Friends' vision for swimming which is now protected by law.

In fact, next week...

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Among Great Rivers

Friends of the Chicago River was pleased to share in the announcement of Our Great Rivers, a vision and acition agenda that highlights ideas and strategies that will contribute to the continued improvement of the Chicago, Calumet, and Des Plaines rivers where they flow through the City of Chicago. A segment on Chicago Tonight with Friends' executive director, Margaret Frisbie, hightlighted how Our Great Rivers will be a useful tool for Friends and other organizations that have been working to improve and protect these rivers.

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Stormwater Wreaks Havoc. Next Time You Can Help

This weekend's torrential rains caused combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that drove sewage and other pollutants into the Chicago River system, potentially harming people and wildlife. In fact, the volume was so great the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) had to open the controlling gates at Wilmette which allowed polluted water into Lake Michigan causing beach closures. Friends called for an Overflow Action Day Friday in advance of the weekend's wet weather and had piece in the Chicago Sun-Times on how you can help.

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Friends' Bridgehouse Museum Continues to Inspire

Friends' McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum continues to inspire visitors with its interesting content, access to the innerworkings of the bridge, and sweeping views of the Chicago River. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, programs include a summer lunchtime lecture series, Asian Carp Grill Fest, and musical interludes.

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Osprey Flying Overhead

The Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) named the osprey as the bird of the month for July--an apt celebration as Friends and the preserves continue to build nests and increase potential for new pairs to make Cook County their home. According to Field Museum scientist, Doug Stotz, there are 16 nesting pairs locally.

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Making Headlines with Clean Water

Although you can't see it the Chicago Reader says the biggest news in water quality improvements in decades is the addition of sewage effluent disinfection at two of sewage treatment plants discharging to the Chicago River. "Friends and our partners worked tirelessly for over a decade to see this day," said Margaret Frisbie, Friends' executive director.

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82,000 Channel Cats Join In

Bringing the total of channel catfish released into the Chicago River system by Friends and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to over a quarter of a million fish, on May 18 an additional 82,000 juvenile catfish were allowed to swim free in the Little Calumet River.

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2,000 Northern Pike Released to the River

On Tuesday, May 17 Friends of the Chicago River and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) released 2,000 juvenile northern pike into the North Shore Channel. Part of a project to restore the channel funded through the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, Friends and IDNR will start planting water willow and lizard's tail next summer to improve conditions for fish and other aquatic life.

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