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) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program and a $30,000 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Grant Program to develop 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 Kellog 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) will be updated and included within this planning effort.  

Funding for this project is 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.  

Meeting Information

Nov. 13, 2019 Meeting 
Time: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
Meeting Focus: Flooding & Flood Problem Areas in the Watersheds

June 5, 2019 Meeting 
Draft Meeting Report (PDF)
Issues and Opportunities Summary (PDF)

April 24, 2019 Kickoff Meeting
Kickoff Meeting Presentation (PDF)
Lake Michigan Watershed Draft Meeting Report April 24, 2019 (PDF)

Related Documents

For more information, contact Mike Prusila, 847-377-7713, or Jacob Jozefowski, 847-377-7717.