Scientific Studies of the Fox River, other Reports and Plans

The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed’s resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

Through our programs and activities, we encourage both adults and students to become involved in protecting the river and its watershed.

We offer these reports and scientific studies on the health and history of the Fox River to further general public understanding of the river, the watershed that creates it, and the life that depends on it.

We post Friends of the Fox River’s past “State of the Fox River” reports, FOTFR’s Annual Reports, and FOTFR’s annual not-for-profit organization “tax returns” (IRS Form 990), to further general public understanding of the state of the Fox River, and Friends of the Fox River’s organizational health.

Scientific Descriptions and Studies of the Fox River


The Wisconsin DNR recognizes three sub-watersheds of the Fox River.

The Upper Fox River Watershed is located almost entirely in Waukesha County

The Middle Fox River Watershed is the largest of the Fox River Basin watersheds (248 square miles), encompassing portions of Racine and Waukesha Counties

The Lower Fox River Watershed lies in parts of Racine and Kenosha Counties


The Illinois State Water Survey under the IDNR Office of Scientific Research and Analysis
published the following Assessments of the Fox River’s watershed in 1998.

Fox River Area Assessment Vol. 1 – Geology

Fox River Area Assessment Vol. 2 – Water Resources

Fox River Area Assessment Vol. 3 – Living Resources

Fox River Area Assessment Vol. 5 – Early Accounts of the Ecology of the Fox River Area

1915 Report of Survey and Proposed Improvement of the Fox River
by the State of Illinois Rivers and Lakes Commission

1991 Hydrologic Modeling of the Fox River Watershed
by H. Vernon Knapp, Terry W. Ortel, and Robert S. Larson
Illinois State Water Survey Office of Surface Water Resources and Systems Analysis
Prepared for the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Water Resources

2003 Fox River Fish Passage Final Report
by Victor J. Santucci, Jr. and Stephen R. Gephard
for the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources April 2003

2013 Freshwater mussels of the Fox-River basin
by Diane K. Shasteen, Sarah A. Bales, Alison P. Stodola
INHS Technical Report 2013  Issued March 19, 2013

2017 Fox River Basin Report
by Steve Pescitelli and Tristan Widloe
for the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources April 2017

2017 Fox River Corridor Existing Conditions Report
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and McHenry County Planning and Development
October 2017

2017 Seed Heads of Common Native Plants of the Tallgrass Prairie
by Izabella Redlinski
The Field Museum, 2017

Fox River Watershed and Tributary Maps

Watershed and tributary maps

Fox River, Fox Watershed and Regional Plans

The Integrated Management Plan for the Fox River Watershed
The Integrated Management Plan for the Fox River Watershed in Illinois was developed as a collaborative effort of members of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership (FREP).

Chicago Wilderness Oak Ecosystems Recovery Plan
Funded by USDA Forest Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service
Lead collaborators: Lake County Forest Preserve District • The Morton Arboretum

The Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trail Plan – Adopted 1999
Prepared by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, Openlands Project and the Illinois Paddling Council
Includes Fox River and Nippersink Water Trail Plans

The Illinois-Wisconsin Fox River Water Trail Initiative
FREP has joined with the Southeast Wisconsin Fox River Partnership and the Village of Waterford, Wisconsin, to pursue the designation of all or portions of the Fox River in Wisconsin and Illinois as a National Water Trail through the National Park Services’ National Water Trail System. Technical assistance from the National Park Service’s “Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program” has been awarded and planning is now proceeding. Visit the Fabulous Fox Water Trail website here:

State of the Fox River Reports

Friends of the Fox River’s Annual Reports

Friends of the Fox River’s most recent IRS 990 Forms