On February 21, 2017, COS president Carl Giometti attended a presentation of the Industrial Corridor Modernization: North Branch framework plan, prepared by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD).  Overall, the plan should be seen as a positive step towards bird conservation. 

The presentation was necessarily broad as it affects a wide range of constituencies but there were a few items of particular interest to COS members:

  • The framework plan calls for significant improvements to edge habitat quality.  Instead of barren metal sheet pilings, the plan calls for submerged plant development and more "natural" shorelines.
  • Over 50 acres of new park/green space is to be added.  About 50% will be public land while the other half will be developed and maintain by private property owners for the public's use.
  • The DPD is anticipating more residential and office uses to continue to be developed in this area.  These buildings typically employ more glazing.  The Chicago River is a major migratory bird corridor and this threatens to increase the amount of bird strikes in this area.

During public comments, Carl asked the city planners to consider the following items to further enhance the conservation aspects of the framework plan:

  • As the entire corridor will be zoned with a new overlay district, this new district should require buildings employ bird-safe building methods.
  • While much of the shoreline will be occupied by recreation-oriented design, choose a few areas with limited access to allow refuge for those bird species most vulnerable to disturbance.

What You Can Do To Help

  1. Please contact your alderman and ask that bird-safe building measures be required by the new North Branch Industrial Corridor Overlay zoning district. Because the plan requires the overlay district, all alderman will get an opportunity to cast a vote.  
  2. Email dpd@cityofchicago.org or call 312-744-1074 to express support for the North Branch Industrial Corridor Framework plan to include bird-safe building practices as well as the designation of wildlife priority areas with limited or low-impact access.
  3. Attend the March 7th public meeting and be a vocal advocate for bird and wildlife conservation.

The framework plan can be found here: City of Chicago - North Branch Industrial Corridor Framework