About the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers

The drainage area of the Kankakee River Basin, which includes the Yellow River Basin, covers 1.3 million acres in the eight counties represented on the Basin Development Commission.  Approximately 1.1 million of these acres are dedicated to farming.

The Kankakee River originates to the southwest of South Bend, Indiana, and runs for 133 miles until it enters the Illinois River in Illinois.  Until the late Nineteenth Century, the river was approximately 240 miles in total length.  Thereafter, large scale drainage efforts to deepen and straighten the channel established its current length during World War I.  The river forms the southern boundaries of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties and the northern borders of Newton, Jasper, and Starke Counties.

The Yellow River begins in southeastern St. Joseph County and follows a 62-mile course through Marshall and Starke Counties.  It enters the Kankakee River approximately ten miles to the west of Knox, Indiana.  

In 1933, the State of Indiana reconverted the area near the confluence of the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers to marshland.  Adjacent lands currently includes residential areas, large agricultural parcels, designated wetlands, forests, and lands under Department of Natural Resources management.  In addition to serving agricultural, commercial, and municipal needs, the rivers’ ecosystems and physical characteristics continue to provide significant opportunities for fishing, hunting, recreational boating, and other natural enjoyment. 

Mission Statement

The Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission advances Northwest Indiana’s safety, economic prosperity, and quality of its natural resources.  

Vision Statement

The Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission is building a region where its residents, farms, and communities prosper in concert with one of the nation’s most unique natural environments.