Photo © Friends of the Chicago River, photo of the “fish hotel”
Friends of the Chicago River is the only organization solely dedicated to the Chicago River.
While Chicago’s engineering feats created a useful river for commerce long ago, its fish habitat was degraded in the process. Friends of the Chicago River was able to offer an alternative vision for fish habitat and recovery by installing the Fish Hotel in 2005. Thousands of visitors from around the world were in awe of the beautiful floating garden, our Fish Hotel, off of the Chicago Riverwalk. This glimpse of color along Chicago’s second waterfront not only provided an oasis in the midst of a busy city and gave valuable habitat in an otherwise limited reach of the river, but it inspired the City of Chicago to commit to more permanent habitat that will take the river to the next level. Fish are making a remarkable comeback. We achieved our goal to demonstrate that fish habitat can be established in the Main Stem. In 2012, we removed the Fish Hotel from the Chicago River because we had achieved our goal—proving that if we built habitat fish could thrive.
Since 1979, Friends has been working to improve the health of the Chicago River for the benefit of people and wildlife; and by doing so, has laid the foundation for the river to be a beautiful, continuous, and easily accessible corridor of open space in the Chicago region.