Calumet River in Chicago

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund

The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund is a public-private partnership working to restore the health, vitality and accessibility of the waterways in the Chicago and Calumet region by supporting green stormwater infrastructure, habitat enhancement, and public-use improvements.


The Chicago and Calumet watersheds comprise a highly engineered system of waterways that provide many benefits to the people and wildlife of the region. They move treated wastewater away from urban centers, help to manage flood waters, provide economically important conduits for commercial shipping, tourism and recreational boating, and offer vital habitats for many resident and migratory wildlife species. Despite these services, the waterways have been degraded by many stressors. Dangerous flooding, impaired water quality, habitat degradation, and limited safe public access have significantly reduced the ecological, economic and community values of the system.

To help restore these values for the people and wildlife of the region, a team of private and public organizations has established the Chi–Cal Rivers Fund (Fund). The geographic focus of the Fund includes projects that occur close to or otherwise demonstrate direct benefits to the major waterways of the system and their tributaries (depicted in the map below):

Map of Chi-Cal Rivers Fund program area

With an emphasis on these waterways, the Fund will achieve its impact primarily by supporting projects through a competitive grants program focused on three goals:

  • Increase stormwater storage capacity through green infrastructure
  • Enhance fish and wildlife habitat
  • Improve public-use opportunities

By slowing, storing and filtering runoff, these actions will help reduce combined sewer overflows and discharge of contaminants and sediment to local waterways. This work will reduce property damage and health risks associated with flooding and reduce municipal costs of managing and treating stormwater. In addition, it will improve habitat for many fish, birds and other wildlife and promote safe and economically important public uses associated with the river systems of the region.

Since 2013, the Fund has awarded 54 grants totaling $11.1 million. Together these projects are:

  • Adding more than 10.5 million gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • Enhancing 3,170 acres of riparian, wetland and upland habitat
  • Improving 14.5 miles of riparian habitat
  • Adding or improving 121 acres of public green space

Application Information

09/29/2021 Chi-Cal Rivers Fund 2021 Request for Proposals - CLOSED View Now
04/13/2021 Chi-Cal Rivers Fund 2020 Request for Proposals - CLOSED View Now
12/07/2019 Applicant FAQs View Now
11/15/2021 2021 Grant Slate Download the PDF
11/15/2021 Program Fact Sheet Download the PDF
12/07/2019 Sign up for the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund mailing list View Website
04/13/2021 2020 Grant Slate Download the PDF
04/13/2021 2019 Grant Slate Download the PDF
12/03/2019 2018 Grant Slate Download the PDF
12/03/2019 2017 Grant Slate Download the PDF
05/21/2020 Habitat Project Examples Download the PDF
05/21/2020 Green Stormwater Infrastructure Project Examples Download the PDF
05/21/2020 Public Use Project Examples Download the PDF
Staff Representatives

Program Director, Great Lakes

Senior Manager, Great Lakes Programs

Coordinator, Regional Programs