Outstanding Resource Waters are waterways where no new discharges of pollution are allowed. Authority for this unique and protective designation is contained within the State of Illinois’ water antidegradation rules (35 Ill. Adm. Code §§ 302.105, 303.205).

The protective power of Outstanding Resource Waters designation is great. Outstanding Resource Waters designation will keep Illinois’ cleanest and most beautiful waterways protected for future generations. If developers want to build along these waterways or existing dischargers want to expand their operations, they will be held accountable and must practice pollution control techniques. Such environmental responsibility is an investment in Illinois that benefits everyone by keeping people and wildlife safe and healthy.

The Problem: No Outstanding Resource Waters in Illinois

Unfortunately, Illinois is yet to designate any of our rivers, lakes, or wetlands as Outstanding Resource Waters.

The Solution: You

Fortunately, any citizen or organization may petition the Illinois Pollution Control Board to designate specific water bodies as Outstanding Resource Waters. Details on what must be contained in the petition can be found in 35 Ill. Adm. Code 102.820. Nominees should have exceptional ecological and/or recreational significance, and petitions must contain documentation of this significance.

Related Blog Posts

Rivers & Wildlife Priorities


Now you can get your own NWF/PRN...

Wetlands & Floodplains

The Importance of Floodplains



River Management

The Mighty Mississippi

Illinois has a...

Monarch Butterflies & Pollinators

The iconic black and orange Monarch butterfly has long captured our imagination. Their unique annual migratory...