Help us protect Illinois's waters. Photo: Plano, IL by Anne Hornyak


Illinois is a state defined by water. Great rivers like the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash as well as Lake Michigan form much of our state boundary. The Illinois, Kaskaskia and Rock rivers and other smaller watersheds drain the interior of our state.

Illinois was once a wetland rich state covered by wet meadows and marshes. Now less than 10% of our state’s original wetlands remain. With its proximity to the most populated part of our state, Lake Michigan is the largest lake in our state formed by retreating glaciers but smaller natural, glacial lakes are found throughout northern Illinois, including the popular Chain O’Lakes.

Sierra Club's Water Campaign is focused on protecting rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands throughout the state and improving water quality.

Currently the focus of our work to protect the waters of Illinois includes:

       • Preventing the transfer of aquatic invasive species between the Lake Michigan and Mississippi watersheds by way of Chicago Area Waterways

       • Reducing nutrient inputs to Illinois waterways from agriculture and urban sources

       • Reducing the destruction of streams and wetlands and water pollution caused by coal mining and coal waste in Illinois

       • Protecting the best streams in Illinois from new pollution

       • Reducing water pollution from urban landscapes, especially from coal tar sealants