About Us

Friends of the Fox River Mission, History & Work

The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed’s resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

Friends of the Fox River is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of citizens and organizations taking action to protect and maintain the quality of the Fox River and its tributaries. Through our programs and activities, we encourage both adults and students to become involved in protecting the river and its watershed. Each year, we have over 4,500 citizens participating in our programs including our water quality monitoring program (Fox River Watershed Monitoring Network), river and stream cleanups, river habitat improvement projects, and water quality education events.


Friends of the Fox River has been working to protect and restore the Fox River for more than 30 years!

Incorporated in 1990, Friends of the Fox River is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a watershed of caretakers in the Fox River Valley. We are concerned citizens taking action to protect and maintain the quality of the Fox River and its tributaries.

Fact Sheet

  1. In Illinois, 13 dams impede the Fox River’s flow. 
  2. Most Fox River dams serve no purpose. 
  3. Fox River dams do not “improve fishing.” 
  4. River dams degrade water quality.

What We Do

  • We advocate the adoption of practices by individuals and governments that will best protect and enhance the quality of the watershed.
  • We advocate for the river when policies that effect the health of the watershed are debated.
  • We educate citizens about river issues through our publications and events.
  • We train citizens, teachers, and youth group leaders to monitor the health of the Fox River and its tributaries.
  • We use the stream data collected by our Monitoring Network volunteers to keep a watchful eye on water quality trends and take action when appropriate.
  • We organize river habitat improvement projects.
  • We organize Fox Rescue cleanup events each May and September where thousands of pounds of trash are removed from the shores and waters of the river by volunteers throughout the Fox River Valley.
  • We participate in the Fox River Study Group, a diverse coalition of river stakeholders working to improve the current water quality of the river and to prevent future problems.


Educating a Diverse Audience

The Friends of the Fox River strives to educate a diverse audience through a broad range of communication and outreach initiatives. These initiatives include:

Friends of the Fox River

  • We have organized spring and fall Fox Rescue cleanup events each year removing tons of trash from the Fox River and its tributaries.
  • We have enhanced river habitat by planting nearly 7,000 water willow plants in the Fox River.
  • We have issued State of the Fox River Reports annually.
  • We have created and distributed a “Welcome to Your Watershed” brochure that informs property owners about water quality protection.

Friends of the Fox River’s Watershed Monitoring Network

  • We have trained nearly 400 adults to monitor water quality in the Fox River watershed.
  • We have established over 100 stream monitoring sites that are monitored by volunteers annually.
  • We have enabled teachers to involve nearly 4,000 students annually in water quality monitoring and stewardship activities.
  • We have provided volunteer-collected water quality data to water quality resource professionals who use the data for antidegradation studies, to community decision makers who request information about their local streams, and to educators who use local water quality data for educational purposes.

The Fox River

You paddle it. You bike it. You fish it. You enjoy it.

So let’s preserve it.