Salt Creek is located in the eastern portion of DuPage County, Illinois, approximately 15 miles west of Chicago. The watershed has a drainage area of approximately 117 square miles from Lake County to the north to the point where it exits in DuPage County near the Village of Hinsdale.
The Salt Creek watershed has experienced rapid urbanization since the 1950s. The increased impervious area, the encroachment into the floodplain, and the loss of natural storage areas has increased runoff and flooding problems from the severe storms that regularly develop over the watershed. Many storms have produced enough rainfall to cause damages to businesses, residents, landscaping, streets, treatment plants, and other facilities within the watershed.
The watershed is divided into two main areas comprised of the Upper and Lower Salt Creek Watersheds. The Upper Salt Creek Watershed consists of the area beginning at the headwaters in Lake County to the Busse Woods Reservoir in the Ned Brown Preserve, Elk Grove Village. The Lower Salt Creek Watershed begins at the outflow to Busse Woods Reservoir and continues until Salt Creek joins the Des Plaines River. It is primarily Lower Salt Creek that flows through DuPage County.
Lower Salt Creek consists of approximately 17.8 miles of mainstem channel with the following major tributaries; Elk Grove Tributary, Devon Avenue Tributary, Spring Brook, Westwood Creek, Sugar Creek, Oak Brook Tributary, Ginger Creek, and the Bronswood Cemetery Tributaries. The mainstem channel is relatively flat with an average gradient of 2 feet per mile.