North Branch Chicago River Watershed
About the Watershed
The North Branch Chicago River Watershed planning area covers 94 square miles (60,658 acres), with northern and southern boundaries roughly extending from Illinois Route 132 (Grand Avenue) in the City of Waukegan in Lake County south to Dempster Street in Morton Grove in Cook County. The watershed is made of up 25 municipalities, ten townships, four drainage districts and two wastewater treatment plants.
The North Branch Chicago River is formed from three tributary streams: the 17 mile Skokie River (or East Skokie), 24 mile Middle Fork (also known as the West Skokie), and the 14 mile West Fork.
From their origins in Lake County, these tributaries flow south into Cook County where they converge to form the main stem of the North Branch. The North Branch flows south through the Chicago River, South Branch, and Sanitary and Ship Canal to join with the Des Plaines River, which is a tributary of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
North Branch Chicago River Watershed-Based Plan Update
Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) has updated the 2008 Watershed-Based Plan for the North Branch Chicago River Watershed. In 2018, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission was awarded an Illinois EPA Section 319 grant to complete the 10-year watershed-based plan update to maintain consistency with Illinois EPA and Clean Water Act guidance regulations. The watershed-based plan includes projects that improve water quality and are eligible for grant funding through the Clean Water Act. In February 2022, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission submitted a draft of the North Branch Chicago River Watershed-Based Plan to the Illinois EPA for their review and comments. Please see the draft chapters, appendices and executive summary below for public review and feedback. Funding for this project is provided, in part, by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
- Watershed-Based Plan Public Comment Period: March 6, 2023 - April 6, 2023 for public comments and feedback.
- Watershed-Based Plan Public Information Meeting: March 8, 2023, 2:30pm – 3:30pm
- 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:
- Cover Page & Acknowledgements
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9