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Will the Riverwalk Help the River?

Margaret Frisbie, Friends of the Chicago River’s executive director, was recently interviewed on WBEZ’s “Morning Shift” about progress on the Chicago Riverwalk and the RFP the city issued for a new management company to run it. The riverwalk is projected to be completed in 2016 and will showcase the Chicago River with a series of individualized public spaces and a 1 ¼ mile continuous walkway running from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. The City is looking for a management company to run it at a profit.

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The Chicago River IS improving

Environmental writer, Kevin Hebert, decided that too much of the time environmental news is just gloom and doom so he asked Friends  and two others to weigh in on how our waterways are doing to share some good news. Fortunately for us and because of a lot of dedicated effort they are getting better all the time! 

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Sunken Barge Update

Heavy rains a few weeks ago sunk a barge being used as part of the Chicago Riverwalk construction project. According to city sources Riverwalk contractor, Walsh Construction, prepared a salvage plan for the barge which was reviewed and approved by Illinois EPA (IEPA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Both agencies put personnel on site to monitor the progress while it is being lifted. As of today, the removal of the barge is continuing per the plan and IEPA and USCG have not voiced any concerns.

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7th Circuit Court Blocks Lock Closures Again

The U.S. 7th Circuit Courts of Appeals rejected a bid by other states to close Chicago's locks in an effort to stop the movement of Asian carp. The judge writing for the panel, Diane Wood, wrote that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is "taking its stewardship over the CAWS and the carp problem seriously."

 

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Poor, Poor Chicago River

Since early June the Chicago River has been deluged with sewage and polluted stormwater becasue of the frequent heavy rains that have overwhelmed the tunnel and reservoir  (TARP/Deep Tunnel) system meant to protect the river.  Find out more about it and what you can do by listening to Friends' executive director and others on "The Morning Shift."

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IDNR Nonpoint Plan Ready for Comments

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) draft plan for controlling nonpoint source pollution or some reaches of the Chicago River system and Lake Michigan has been posted online for review by the general public. The goal is to restore and protect coastal waters.

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New Paving Techniques Help River

New techniques for permeable paving, which help prevent flooding and pollution from reaching the Chicago River, are being implemented this week at Lawrence’s Fisheries, a Friends’ business member, by Ozinga Chicago, a business member as well.

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Friends and IDNR Release 30,000 Channel Cats

Friends of the Chicago River and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released 30,000 channel catfish into the Chicago River system on June 10. A first step in a major river restoration project funded by the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, 10,000 were released downtown at the confluence of the North Branch, Main Stem, and South Branch and 20,000 into the Little Calumet.

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Friends Big Fish Ball Raises Record Funds

On June 5, Friends of the Chicago River's annual gala, the Big Fish Ball, raised over $250,000 to support Friends' mission to improve and protect the Chicago River. Held on Riverside Drive in front of the Merchandise Mart, the event was near capacity with 470 diners there to enjoy the lovely summer weather, wild river animals, delicious dinner, and  the beautiful river. The Big Fish Ball was presented by Here: A Nokia Company.

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Redevelopment of Historic Lathrop Homes Moves Forward with Loan From CHA

The Chicago Housing Authority recently approved a $3.4 million loan for the redevelopment of Lathrop Homes, marking a turning point for this project which has been a decade in the works. The preliminary design for the site includes 6 acres of green, community space, multiple public walkways along the river, and a building layout focused on increasing connectivity to the surrounding community. Needless to say, Friends of the Chicago River is very much looking forward to the benefits the redevelopment of this historic community will bring to the North Branch of the Chicago River.

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