Water & Land
Lake County has more than 200 lakes and rivers, and over 100 beaches. Here are some simple things you can do to protect this valuable resource:
Take Action: Keep harmful contaminants out of our water by:
- Dropping off unwanted medications at a local drug collection box.
- Disposing of household chemical waste properly.
- Using best practices when deicing driveways and parking lots.
You can also save water and protect the environment by using WaterSense labeled products in your home, yard, and business.
Sustainable land use preserves our landscape, conserves natural resources, and provides safety and well-being to the community. Lake County’s Planning, Building and Development Department encourages this approach through the Sustainability Chapter of the Lake County Regional Framework Plan. In addition, the Lake County Forest Preserve’s Strategic Conservation Planning provides guidance to smart development and livable cities that balances the built environment with the natural one.
Take Action: You can help shape the future of Lake County’s development and conservation measures.
- Residents: Find out how you can help conserve your part of Lake County through the Conservation@Home program or by enjoying Lake County’s Forest Preserves.
- Businesses: Corporate Campuses are part of Lake County’s habitat complexes by providing food, shelter, and space for local flora and fauna. Lake County’s Native Landscape Design Guidelines is just one resource available for Lake County businesses interested in incorporating plant species native to northern Illinois.
In 2024, Lake County is officially launching the first program in its Tree Initiative: The Tree Planting Solution for Clean Water. This American Rescue Plan Act-Local Fiscal Recovery Funds funded program is for divisions of local government to improve their stormwater management systems by planting new trees. By enhancing green infrastructure, Lake County communities will also be better equipped to address other impacts of climate change, including more severe weather events, diminished air quality, and rising temperatures.
Through this program divisions of local government can:
1. Receive free native trees from local nurseries that will be planted on qualified sites by a tree planting crew.
2. Share educational outreach materials with residents about the importance of urban forestry in Lake County.
3. Collaborate with County staff on concepts for a regional Lake County Tree Strategy.
In order to be eligible for this funding, sites selected for these new plantings should be in urban areas (as defined by the 2020 US Census) and be located in areas where new trees will enhance stormwater management efforts. This could include:
- Areas with low canopy cover: https://chicagorti.org/maps/municipal-canopy-summaries/
- Areas with increased risk of flooding: https://chicagorti.org/maps#flood-risk
- Areas that have a documented history of being negatively impacted by stormwater runoff or flooding
- Areas near features that can amplify the impact of stormwater (e.g., hard, impermeable surfaces like paved streets and parking lots)
This will be a competitive process, with interested divisions of local government—municipalities, park districts, etc.—submitting proposals that include descriptions of locations for new plantings, as well as explanations of how plantings in that area will enhance stormwater management and mitigate risks to residents and the local environment, built and unbuilt. Trees will be planted in areas defined by selected proposals. Tree diversity standards of 20:10:5 must be maintained, this includes planting up to 20% from one family, up to 10% from one genus and up to 5% from one species.
The application is open now until March 14th, 2024. Apply for the Tree Initiative
View the Lake County Tree Program for Clean Water Applicant Scoring Criteria
Please view the webinar below before submitting an application. The webinar includes important information on the timeline of the program, tree and site specifications, and instructions for how to apply. Slides from the webinar are also available.