Stormwater Management

Great Lake at SunsetEffective, sustainable stormwater management is a major goal of Village leadership. Flooding is not a new problem in Winnetka, as it is naturally a lowland marsh environment: various initiatives to hold or redirect stormwater when major storms occur have been implemented in the Village since the 1930s. Today, the Village is undertaking a large-scale initiative that will result in a major change in the way stormwater is handled.

The Project

The Village is building stormwater collection and holding tanks under Duke Childs Field (New Trier’s athletic fields), the Winnetka Park District’s golf course, and behind Crow Island School. During major storm events, water will be conveyed/drain into the tanks and be slowly released into the Skokie Lagoons. This water detention/drainage system will alleviate intense flooding experienced by many Winnetka residents.

In order to undertake necessary construction, the Village has secured Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with New Trier, District 36, and the Winnetka Park District, and is now working to secure project approval from the Cook County Forest Preserve and the Army Corps of Engineers.


The Village held a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 13, 2022 on Little Duke Field. The project commenced shortly thereafter. Construction updates for the Forest Preserve phase of the project can be found here and updates for the Crow Island phase of the project can be found here. The Duke Childs Field/Winnetka Park District golf course phase of the project is complete.

Historical Background

Stormwater discussions had many iterations, as Village leadership and residents discussed options to assess whether they were feasible, cost effective, and as non-invasive as possible.

  • A tunnel project along Willow Road was discussed and set aside due to cost concerns
  • A Stormwater Master Plan was completed in 2014, following work with Baxter and Woodman consultants, to provide a comprehensive policy to guide efforts in flood management, stormwater drainage (detention, retention, and sewers), stormwater quality, floodplain management, green infrastructure, and wastewater
  • The Village engaged Strand Associates in 2015 to examine options for flood risk alleviation that are technically and scientifically sound, sustainable, and cost-effective, resulting in the current plan and construction initiatives. This study included intensive data gathering, public meetings, and open houses. A number of possible stormwater detention locations were discussed, resulting in the current-day plan of Duke Childs Field, behind Crow Island School, and underneath the Park District’s Golf course
  • Pump stations were constructed in 2014 and 2015 at Ash Street and Winnetka Avenue, respectively, increasing storm sewer drainage/discharge capacity by 50% and improving flow in existing upstream sewers
  • Storm detention sewers were built, updated, or installed in 2013-14 in several locations in the Village

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Project Plans and Intergovernmental Agreements