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.
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.
In February 2022, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission submitted a draft of the Lake Michigan Watershed-Based Plan to the Illinois EPA for their review and comments. Please see the draft chapters, appendices and executive summary below.
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.
Draft Watershed-Based Plan Documents:
Watershed-Based Plan Meeting Summaries
- Nov. 13, 2019 Meeting
Meeting Focus: Flooding & Flood Problem Areas in the Watersheds
November 13, 2019 NBWW Meeting Minutes
Lake Michigan & North Branch Chicago River Watershed-Based Plan Joint Stakeholder Meeting
- 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)