In efforts to revitalize the Chicago River and attract fish that were once abundant in the area, “Fish Hotels” have been installed along the River Walk . An organization called Friends of the Chicago River came up with the idea as an aquatic life restoration project. The first fish hotel was installed in 2005, with additional locations installed in 2012. Appearing as floating gardens in the river, the islands add greenery to the concrete jungle of the city. In addition to increasing the fish population of the river, which in turn can be an indicator of the health of the waterway, the fish hotels are meant to pique interest of others and raise awareness for river conservation.
Over a century ago, during the reversal of the river in efforts to reduce pollution of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River was dug deeper to better accommodate shipping and transportation. This cleared out many of the preexisting fish habitats, which in turn diminished the amount of fish in the river. The goal of these “hotels” is to attract and sustain fish to increase aquatic diversity in the river. Next time you’re along the river (which by the way, the river walk is beautiful and has awesome restaurants!), look out for these fish hotels!
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