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Mission And Structure

Our Mission

The Office of Water Resources is the lead state agency for water resources planning, navigation, floodplain management, the National Flood Insurance Program, water supply, drought, and interstate organizations on water resources. Interagency duties include the state water plan, drought response, flood emergency situation reports, and the comprehensive review of Illinois water use law.


The primary capital activity of the office is in the area of urban flood damage reduction. The office assists units of local government with urban flood damage reduction projects through planning, design, construction, and financial assistance. The urban program also features the acquisition of flood prone homes and businesses.

Structure and Duties of the Illinois Office of Water Resources


The Office of Water Resources consists of four Divisions: the Division of Capital Programs , the Division of Resource Management, the Division of Coastal Management and the Division of Program Development.

The Division of Capital Programs administers the Urban Flooding Mitigation program, water supply planning including water withdrawals from Federal reservoirs, stream gaging, and operation and maintenance of state facilities including Stratton Lock and Dam and Sinnissippi dam. The Division of Capital Programs is the Technical Liaison to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and provides daily briefings on flood conditions of monitored streams throughout the state and its boundary waters during and following a flood or other disaster. 


In addition to its normal functions, the Capital Programs Division gathers water resource data prior, during and following a flood or other disaster. This data is assembled and disseminated to various state and local agencies. Representatives of the Division act as the Technical Liaison to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and provide daily briefings on flood conditions of monitored streams throughout the state and its boundary waters. In cooperation with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a summary sheet of river stage information is provided on their website.

The Division of Regulatory Programs administers regulatory programs over construction in the floodways of rivers, lakes, and streams; construction in the shore waters of Lake Michigan; construction and operation of dams; construction in public bodies of water; and diversion of water from Lake Michigan.  Resource Management inspects dams, gives permits, coordinates the National Flood Insurance Program and regulates floodplains.

The Illinois Coastal Management Program (CMP) is a non-regulatory division of IDNR that is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environmental, economic, and social value of Illinois’ Great Lakes Coastal Region. Our program fosters healthy ecosystems and resilient communities by providing expertise, funding, and other resources.


The Division of Coastal Management was created in 2012 under the authority of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, then transferred to the Office of Water Resources in 2022. CMP is part of a nationwide network of 34 state and territory coastal programs funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CMP is also funded by United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to implement the objectives of the GLRI Action Plan. Since its inception, the CMP has completed dozens of valuable projects in all areas of progressive coastal management through its committed team of scientists, communicators, and other coastal professionals.

Program Development coordinates Office program development, human resource needs, legislation review and development, and funding planning for the Office of Water Resources. Works directly with Federal, State, and local governments in programming and implementation of different elements of the office programs. Tracks and monitors the status of each office division programs, studies, designs, grants, operations, and projects. Provides meaningful input in regard to floodplain management aspects and understanding. Travels statewide to address program related matters. Responsible for analyzing Water Resources related legislation for impacts on current programs. Drafts new legislative proposals when necessary to accommodate Water Resources. Provides testimony relating to the functions of the Division. 

The Division of Program Development was recreated in 2023.