Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group

About the Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group

The Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group was formed in 2017 by community wastewater treatment plant operators, industrial dischargers and other stakeholders to work together to understand and address water quality and regulatory issues. The 490 square mile watershed area covered by the group extends from just north of O’Hare Airport down to the confluence with the Kankakee near Channahon, including 17 tributary streams. 

Our Work

  • The Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group implements a comprehensive Bioassessment Monitoring Program, collecting biological, chemical and habitat data from nearly 150 stations across the watershed over a five-year cycle.
  • The Watershed Group is coordinating the first Nutrient Assessment & Reduction Plan (NARP), due at the end of 2023 on behalf of member wastewater treatment plants. This plan will utilize data collected and other information to identify actions needed to reduce nutrient related impacts to local streams as well as Gulf of Mexico. 
  • We are coordinating outreach and reporting activities for the Time Limited Water Quality Standard for Chlorides and have developed a Lower Des Plaines Watershed Chloride Reduction Plan for the non-TLWQS portion of the watershed.
  • To provide consistent outreach and messaging around water quality related issues, we work collaboratively with the Lower DuPage River Watershed Coalition to develop and distribute outreach materials and provide technical trainings. 

Where We Work

The Lower Des Plaines Watershed Group boundary extends from the Willow Creek subwatershed just north of O’Hare Airport down to the confluence with the Kankakee River near Channahon. There are two major tributaries to the Des Plaines River in this section that are not included in our workgroup area – Salt Creek and the DuPage River Watershed. Both of these watersheds are managed through separate watershed groups – the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup (East and West Branches of the DuPage River and Salt Creek) and the Lower DuPage River Watershed Coalition. 

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This large watershed area is broken down into smaller drainage units by the U.S. Geological Survey called Hydrologic Units These Hydrologic Units are broken down to different scales and given an identification code or Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) We are using the HUC12 scale, so each of these subwatershed areas are identified by a 12-digit number or HUC. The table below lists out the subwatersheds included in the map.

Map #Subwatershed NameHUC
1Des Plaines River + Silver Creek & Crystal Creek71200040506
2Des Plaines River – Maple Lake-Sanitary & Ship Canal71200040705
3Des Plaines River + Lower Rock Run, Fraction Run, Miline and Fiddyment Creeks71200040706
4Des Plaines River + Cedar Creek71200040905
5Grant Creek71200040904
6Jackson Creek71200040903
7Jackson Creek Headwaters – Jackson Branch & Manhattan Creek71200040902
8Sugar Run71200040901
9Hickory Creek + Marley Creek 71200040603
10Hickory Creek Headwaters – Union Ditch71200040601
11Spring Creek – Trib to Hickory Creek71200040602
12Long Run71200040703
13Sawmill Creek71200040704
14Flag Creek71200040701
15Willow Creek + Higgins Creek71200040504