Local Partner Projects

Shedd Aquarium: Kayak for Conservation  We've teamed up with Shedd Aquarium to install and nurture a floating habitat, Shedd's River Island, alongside our existing floating gardens. Shedd's island features more than 15 aquatic, wetland and terrestrial plant species to provide food and shelter to local wildlife. It covers over 260 square feet, and is a valuable addition to our overall Wild Mile park. If you'd like to paddle the Chicago River and monitor wildlife with Shedd conservation experts, click here.


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District MWRD has partnered with us to conduct a 4-year study to measure the effects of our floating habitat on the populations and health of local fish species. They utilize electrofishing techniques to gather fish and benthic organism samples, multiple times per year.


MS & PhD Projects

DePaul University – MBA students are working on a specific business problem, which they will present solutions for in June. 

Northeastern Illinois University – Collecting periphyton and performing mesocosm experiments at the Chicago Botanic Garden, to better understand the effects of our floating habitat on the river ecosystem.

Northwestern University – Monitoring the wildlife interactions occurring in and around the root systems of the native plants on the floating habitat.

University of Illinois – Conducting urban bird surveys. Also investigating the use of recycled car battery housings to provide bats with habitat, while preventing the spread of white nose syndrome.


Undergraduate & Community Projects

University of Chicago – Students from the Horticulture Club are building and monitoring habi-hacking devices, designed to maximize the biodiversity on our floating habitat. 


Completed Studies 

Undergraduate & Community Projects

DePaul University – Business students collected research on similarly based organizations and created case studies, which analyzed several key aspects of said organizations that our team could potentially benchmark off of. 

Our Research

We performed some of our own research, which determined that floating gardens are an effective habitat solution in urban waterways: 

  • Co-founder of Urban Rivers, Joshua Yellin, installed 50 square feet of floating gardens in the Chicago River in June of 2013, which served as the basis for his Master’s research study that monitored urban fish populations. Results indicated a nearly 100% increase in the fish abundance in the river immediately surrounding the floating gardens when compared to traditional docks.