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 66 grants totaling $14.6 million. Together, these projects are:

  • Adding more than 20 million gallons of stormwater storage capacity
  • Enhancing 5,200 acres of riparian, wetland, and upland habitat
  • Adding or improving 160 acres of public green space

Application Information

Applicant FAQs View Now
Chi-Cal Rivers Fund 2023 Request for Proposals - CLOSED View Now
Chi-Cal Rivers Fund 2024 Request for Proposals View Now

Due Dates

Program Fact Sheet Download the PDF
2023 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2022 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2021 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2020 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2019 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2018 Grant Slate Download the PDF
2017 Grant Slate Download the PDF
Habitat Project Examples Download the PDF
Public Use Project Examples Download the PDF
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Project Examples Download the PDF
Sign up for the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund mailing list View Website
Staff Representatives

Program Director, Great Lakes

Senior Manager, Great Lakes Programs

Coordinator, Regional Programs