Lake Michigan Watershed

About the Watershed


The watershed in Lake County comprises approximately 54 square miles, about 11% of the total area of the County.  From north to south, Green Bay Road generally marks the drainage divide between the Lake Michigan watershed to the east and the Mississippi River watershed to the west (into which the rest of the County drains).  

In Lake County, the Lake Michigan watershed is characterized by numerous small streams that flow through over 40 relatively steep-sided ravines into Lake Michigan. 

Between Winthrop Harbor and Waukegan, the watershed contains a coastal lake plain along Lake Michigan, which includes a large wetland complex designated a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Lake Michigan Watershed Map


  • Bluff/Ravine
  • Dead River
  • Kellogg Creek
  • Pettibone Creek
  • Waukegan River

Watershed-Based Plan Development

Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) is developing a Watershed-Based Plan for the Lake Michigan Watershed. Projects that improve water quality and are identified in watershed-based plans are eligible for grant funding through the Clean Water Act and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. To maintain consistency with Illinois EPA and Clean Water Act guidance, the Dead River and Kellogg Creek Watershed-Based Plans (developed by SMC in 2008) and the Waukegan River Watershed Plan (developed by the Waukegan Harbor Citizens Advisory Group in 2007) are considered plan updates included within this planning effort.  

Funding for this project was provided, in part, by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

  • Watershed-Based Plan Public Comment Period: March 6, 2023 - April 6, 2023for public comments and feedback.
  • Watershed-Based Plan Public Information Meetings
    • March 9, 2023, 10:30am – 11:30am
    • March 14, 2023 11:00am – 12:00 pm
  • Watershed-Based Plan Public Hearing: March 15, 2023, 9:00am – 11:00am at the Lake County Courthouse Building, Assembly Room (10th Floor), 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, Illinois 60085.

Watershed-Based Plan Documents:

Lake Michigan Watershed-Based Plan Executive Summary

Lake Michigan Watershed-Based Plan Appendices

Lake Michigan Watershed-Based Plan Webapplication

Watershed-Based Plan Meeting Summaries

Related Documents

For more information, contact Mike Prusila, 847-377-7713, or Jacob Jozefowski, 847-377-7702.