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May Big Dreams Come True: Great Rivers Chicago

Great Rivers Chicago is wrapping up and thousands of people have weighed in with their hopes and dreams and thoughts about the Chicago River. Regarding the massive planning process, Friends’ executive director, Margaret Frisbie said, “I’ve been inspired to hear people speak about the river with passion and excitement." 

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Chicago River Day Volunteers from North to South

While the sun wasn't shining but over 2,500 volunteers were at Friends of the Chicago River's 24th annual Chicago River Day. Families, corporate teams, and community groups worked together at over 60 locations to pick up garbage (which is unsightly and harmful to wildlife), remove invasive plants, and spruce up river-edge trails.

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New Water Tech Ideas Can Help River

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement of Current, a new public and private partnership developed to solve water challenges facing the nation and the globe, could lead to a healthier Chicago River system," said Friends' Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. "Ideally their work will address the local challenges the river still faces and will create new technologies for such as end of pipe sewage treatment, increased nutrient removal and recovery, and easy to install sewage effluent disinfection at Stickney."

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Be it Resolved

In other excellent river news on Wednesday morning, John Quail, director of watershed planning, and Anthony, Cefali, policy and planning specialist, joined Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle when she introduced a new resolution in favor of Overflow Action Days, Friends’ new program designed to build program awareness of how we can reduce river pollution and flooding by taking action at home.

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River Still in the Burnham Plan

The river and Friends featured prominently in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement for new investments to improve Chicago's Parks. The mayor thanked Friends for our tireless advocacy for the river and the Chicago Riverwalk. Part of the Parks "Building on Burnham" plan includes the addition of river access at almost every mile from the North Side south to Little Village.

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Disinfection Starts on the North Side

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the ribbons will be cut and the switch thrown on to begin the process of sewage effluent disinfection at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District's (MWRD) O'Brien Water Reclamation Plant located on the North Shore Channel. Friends of the Chicago River and many partners worked tirelessly for more than a decade to reach this day which will have a dramatic impact on ambient water quality.

It is overwhelming to see this major benchmark in water quality improvements come to pass. It is the direct result of Friends’ advocacy and demonstrates it take a sustained effort to get things done.

 

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Vacancy: New Osprey Platforms

In the Chicago region and across the country, ospreys are making a comeback from the devastating impacts of pesticide use in the mid-1900s. Friends of the Chicago River is in the midst of a three-year project to boost these birds' reproductive success by building a series of platforms to attract nesting pairs. Read on for a photo-filled description of the process. 

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Chicago River Fishing Can be Year Round

When Friends of the Chicago River and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released 195,000 juvenile channel catfish into the river we knew they were joining fish of their own kind and over 70 other species distributed downtown, up north, in the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, and all along the Little Calumet. Among the many native species are sport fish like large mouth bass and a variety of sunfishes.

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Lathrop Homes Redevelopment Promises Water and Wildlife Benefits

The developers of Lathrop Homes are closer to digging and their plans revealed to Friends' Planning Committee in January show a natural river edge alive with opportunity for wildlife and for people to share the river. Last fall Friends walked the riverbank with Related Midwest designers who promised a soft river-edge alive with native flowers, shrubs, and trees along with other habitat benefits.

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New Osprey Nest Goes Up at the Botanic Garden

On Friday, January 29 Friends installed the second of at least six planned osprey nesting platforms at the Chicago Botanic Garden just north of Dundee Road.  The Botanic Garden, which is hydrologically part of the Skokie Lagoons complex, is an excellent location for a nest.

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