Watershed planning documents have been developed for watersheds in Cook County focused on reducing flooding, and on reducing pollutant loads and protecting water quality.
Beginning in 2010 MWRD developed Detailed Watershed Plans (DWPs) for each of the six established watersheds in Cook County. The goals in preparing the DWPs were to identify the flooding-related problems in the watersheds, develop solutions to the most significant problems. The DWPs contain a summary of the watershed’s areas of concern, and a listing of recommended regional capital improvement projects to address those concerns.
The watershed planning process consisted of several steps:
Work on many of the projects recommended in the DWPs have been undertaken by MWRD, working with local partners. The completed DWPs cover these watersheds (outside the City of Chicago) in Cook County:
In addition to the DWPs, MWRD has worked with partner organizations, particularly the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), on watershed planning documents focused on water quality. U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA implement a program often referred to as the “319” program, so named because it was authorized in Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. 319 watershed-based plans characterize water quality conditions, identify key sources of pollutant loadings, and recommend types of projects suitable for restoring and protecting water quality. Under the 319 program grants can be awarded to municipalities and other watershed stakeholders for projects recommended in approved watershed-based plans. CMAP has posted information on the status of watershed planning in Northeastern Illinois on this webpage. MWRDGC has posted four recently approved watershed-based plans, developed by MPC and MWRD, on our website: