Des Plaines River
|Des Plaines River|
Typical section of Des Plaines River in Lake County, Illinois.
|Origin||West of Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin
|Basin countries||United States|
|Length||133 miles (214 km)|
|Avg. discharge||535 cubic feet per second (15 m3/s)|
|Basin area||630 square miles (1,600 km2)|
The Des Plaines River is a river that flows southward for 133 miles (214 km) through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois in the U.S. Midwest, eventually meeting the Kankakee River west of Channahon to form the Illinois River, a tributary of the Mississippi River.
The river provided a transportation route and portage for native Americans, who revealed to early explorers how to traverse waterways of the Des Plaines watershed to travel from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi Valley. The river's name derives from the period of French exploration and colonization in the New World.
Course and character 
The slow-moving Des Plaines River rises in southern Wisconsin just west of Kenosha and flows southward primarily through marshland as it crosses into Illinois. The river turns to the west and flows through woodland forest preserve districts in Lake County and Cook County (and through the city of Des Plaines), northwest of Chicago. There are numerous small fixed dams on the river starting in central Lake County and continuing through Cook County. Eventually, the river turns to the southwest and joins with the Sanitary and Ship Canal in Lockport before flowing through the city of Joliet.
Parts of the Des Plaines River preserved in a mostly natural state are used for conservation and recreation, while substantially altered sections serve as an important industrial waterway and drainage channel.
The original course of the riverbed was moved to the west at the town of Lockport during the construction of the Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1905.
According to Chicago Wilderness Magazine, as the Des Plaines River runs 95 miles (153 km) through four Illinois counties, it "changes from prairie creek to a suburban stream, to a large urbanized river, to a major industrial waterway."
Sections of the river in Lake County and Cook County Forest Preserve districts in Illinois create "a nearly continuous greenway though all of Lake County and the northern section of Cook County." While canoe launching ramps are available, "The lack of ramps for trailered-boats makes this long river a quiet, family-friendly river."  This greenway also supports the Des Plaines River Trail, a multi-use trail that roughly follows the course of the Des Plaines River through Lake County and into Cook County.
The word la plaine, in the 18th century Mississippi Valley dialect of French spoken by the Frenchmen at the time, actually referred to either the American sycamore or the red maple, both of which resembled the European plane tree either in their palmate leaves or their similar bark.
The English word for the plane tree actually came from the 14th century Old French word la plane. However, since the 18th century, the French word for the plane tree has transformed into le platane. As the Latin name for the plane tree is platanus, this transformation was likely done as a part of the attempts of late 18th century French academics to change the spelling of many French words to what was perceived as their Latin origins. A side effect of this was the obscuring of the original French meaning of the name given for the Des Plaines River. Today, des Plaines in modern Parisian French now literally means "of the plains" or "of the prairie". This has led to some confusion about the meaning of the original French name for the Des Plaines River.
Many people today believe that the river was named after the plains and prairies through which the river flows. However, in the 18th century French dialect of the time, it was much more common to use the word "prairie" to indicate a plain, such as Prairie du Rocher and Prairie du Chien. Also, it is much more likely that the river was named in reference to the trees rather than the land, because the French at the time traveled nearly all the time by the river, and the view of the prairie supposedly referenced was nearly always blocked by trees. To this day a large number of both maples and sycamores grow along the Des Plaines River.
Although the original French name for the river has survived, its pronunciation has been altered. Today, it is pronounced in an anglicized way by locals (roughly "dess plains"), rather than according to the French pronunciation.
Des Plaines River Bridge 
The bridge is located on the south side of Joliet
Flood control projects 
A Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (the Chicago Deep Tunnel) to reduce the harmful effects of floods and the flushing raw sewage into Lake Michigan is semi-operational. It diverts storm water and sewage into temporary holding reservoirs. The megaproject is one of the largest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in terms of scope, cost and timeframe. Commissioned in the mid-1970s, the project is managed by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Completion of the system is not anticipated until 2019, but substantial portions of the system have already opened.
A modern flood control study report stated that flooding on the Des Plaines River has caused significant damage and economic impacts. The greatest recorded flood, in September 1986 caused an estimated $35 million in damage to 10,000 dwellings and 263 business and industrial sites. A Phase I flood control Project was authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 1999. Project features include levee, dam, and reservoir expansion at a total cost of $50.5 million (in 2002). On August 24, 2007, the river flooded by over 9 feet. On September 14, 2008, the river flooded after receiving over 10 inches (250 mm) of rain fall over two days.
See also 
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 13, 2011
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- Chicago Wilderness Magazine (online) -- http://chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/summer2000/IWdesplaines.html
- McDerrmott, John Francis. A Glossary of Mississippi Valley French. (St. Louis, MO: Washington University Press, 1941),p. 119. http://www.archive.org/details/glossaryofmissis00mcde
- Upper Des Plaines River and Tributaries Projects and Feasibility Study, Northwest Municipal Conference (http://www.nwmc-cog.org/jahia/Jahia/cache/offonce/pid/137)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-flood_25aug25,0,1775422.story Chicago Tribune August 25, 2007
- 2000 Des Plaines River Watershed Orthophotography (by Illinois State Geological Survey)
- Des Plaines River Wetlands Demonstration Project
- Upper Des Plaines River Canoe Routes
- Openlands Project Water Trails
- Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon