The Upper Des Plaines River originates in primarily agricultural Racine and Kenosha Counties in southeastern Wisconsin and flows south by southeast to the confluence with Salt Creek near Riverside, Illinois. (Salt Creek is a tributary of the Lower Des Plaines River.) The Upper Des Plaines River basin drains approximately 480 square miles (307,000 acres) of land, 346 of which are in Illinois.
The basin is comprised of a variety of land uses, stages of development, and habitat types. Generally speaking, the upper half of the basin is characterized by a combination of cropland, grassland, wetland, and forest.
In the Lake portion of the watershed, there are 33 municipalities and 12 townships.
The Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup (DRWW) is a voluntary, dues paying organization with a mission to bring together a diverse coalition of stakeholders to work together to improve water quality in the Des Plaines River and its tributaries in a cost effective manner to meet Illinois EPA requirements. Visit the DRWW website for more information.