North Branch Chicago River Watershed

About the Watershed


The North Branch of the 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 of the 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.



  • Skokie River
  • Middle Fork
  • West Fork

The North Branch Chicago River Watershed Workgroup (NBWW) is a voluntary, dues-paying organization with a mission to bring together a diverse coalition of stakeholders to work to improve water quality in the North Branch of the Chicago River watershed, in a cost-effective manner to meet Illinois EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. The NBWW is committed to an approach for attaining water quality standards that focuses on stakeholder involvement, monitoring, and locally led decision-making based on sound science. Membership consists of municipalities and agencies with separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and other interested parties. For more information about the NBWW visit

NBWW Quarterly Membership Meetings

The NBWW General Membership Quarterly Meetings will integrate the North Branch Chicago River Watershed Planning Committee (NBPC) & North Branch Watershed Consortium (NBWC). There will be a section within each quarterly meeting for NBPC and NBWC business such as ongoing and future projects that address flood mitigation, stormwater management, and green infrastructure improvements in the watershed.

For more information about the North Branch of the Chicago River Watershed or the NBWW, contact Ashley Warren, 847-377-7710.