Summit-Lyons Conduit clean up

Small Streams Maintenance Program

Under the Cook County Stormwater Management Plan, the MWRD initiated a Small Streams Maintenance Program (SSMP) to relieve flooding in urbanized areas. The objective of the program is to pursue the MWRD’s stormwater management mission and remove obstructions and debris in the waterways that impede the natural drainage of small streams and rivers. The SSMP promotes clean water and reduces flooding by removing these downed trees or low hanging branches, dense weeds, invasive plants and addresses eroding stream banks. The MWRD works to remove and collect thousands of yards of debris from local streams each year and reports those figures here.

Between 2007 to 2020, the MWRD removed more than 366,000 cubic yards from area watersheds. In 2020, the SSMP removed a total of 14,842 cubic yards of debris using various forms of equipment. To report an issue, visit our Citizen Incident Reporting (CIR) page, call (847) 568-8225, (800)​ 332- 3867, or download our free CIR app for iOS by searching for ‘MWRD CIR’ on iTunes.


Debris Blockage Removal on the Des Plaines River at Dundee Rd: Before and After - Video


McCook Reservoir Debris Removal - Before



McCook Reservoir Debris Removal - After
During and after heavy storms, MWRD staff frequently cleared debris from the drainage structure at the Summit-Lyons Conduit to allow for efficient drainage and flow away from the area. The second photo features the same view after completion of the project, including debris removal, seeding and mulching. The SSMP crews maintained the natural appearance of the area while providing a clear drainage pathway.