Des Plaines River - Phase I


Water Resources Development Act 1999 (Public Law 106-53)


The Des Plaines River has a long history of flooding that has caused significant economic losses. The maximum flood of record occurred in September 1986 with an estimated $35 million in damage to 10,000 dwellings and 263 business and industrial sites. More than 15,000 residents were evacuated from the flooded area and seven lives were lost. Severe impacts to transportation networks were also identified in this area of 33 municipalities along 67 miles of river in two counties.

The flood damage reduction project consists of six structural elements: two levees, two expansions of existing reservoirs, one lateral storage area, and one dam modification. The levee projects include a flood warning system. Work involves construction of the Mount Prospect/Prospect Heights Levee, also known as Levee 37; the Rand Park Levee, also known as Levee 50; the Buffalo Creek Reservoir expansion; the Big Bend Lake expansion; the Van Patten Woods lateral storage area; and the North Fork Mill Creek dam modification.


Total Project Cost:

  $ 103,000,000

Federal Cost:

  $ 67,000,000

Non-Federal Cost:

  $ 36,000,000


Levee 37 Pump Station Upgrade is in the process of being contracted for construction.  The design work is done and the contract will be advertised for bids this month.  Construction is expected to begin this fall or Spring 2021.

Levee 37 and Levee 50 are fully constructed and are providing protection from flood events.  The remaining four recommended projects are on permanent hold until a final decision can be made about their future.

Project Manager

Jeffrey Zuercher

Project Area

Click map to enlarge.