Friends of the Chicago River celebrated its 40th anniversary through the River Revival Festival and Big Jump. Federal, state and local officials jumped into the Chicago River at Ping Tom Memorial Park to illustrate improved water quality and work toward regular swimming.
"I want to believe that we are doing the right thing, that we are taking care of our resources, and I think that becoming protectors of these resources also involves being in them," said Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward Alderman.
The River Revival Festival aims to raise awareness about the Chicago River system.
"It's important that we bring attention to our waterways. People usually associate the lake with Chicago, but really the rivers are just as critical to the formation of our city and to recreational opportunities. It's really a resource for the people of Cook County," added Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President.
Friends of the Chicago River says the quality of the Chicago River's water has come a long way, but there's still work to be done.
"We need more monitoring. We need to think about stormwater management to keep pollution out of the river. We need to stop any litter and any CSO's from happening, so no sewage, no litter in the river," said Executive Director Margaret Frisbie.
The Big Jump! was hosted by Friends of the Chicago River and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Josina Morita.