From April 21, 1998, through April 30, 1999, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Fox Waterway Agency, conducted an investigation designed to characterize the hydrology, water quality, hydrologic budget, sediment budget, and nutrient budget of Lake Catherine and Channel Lake, Lake County, Illinois. These lakes are the northernmost lakes of the Fox Chain of Lakes. Lake Catherine and Channel Lake are divided into two basins by a submerged ridge but are continuous at the surface. The lakes are marginally to moderately eutrophic. Lake Catherine and Channel Lake have a combined volume of 7,098 acre-feet at a stage of about 736.5 feet above sea level. Lake Catherine and Channel Lake are subject to thermal stratification. Although most of the water in the lakes is well oxidized, nearly anoxic conditions were present at the bottom of Lake Catherine and Channel Lake during part of the summer in 1998. Water enters Lake Catherine and Channel Lake as inflow from surface water in the watershed (61.9 percent), inflow through the State Highway 173 bridge openings (20.7 percent), direct precipitation (8.2 percent), inflow from storm drains (7.2 percent), and inflow of ground water (2.0 percent). Water exits Lake Catherine and Channel Lake as outflow through the State Highway 173 bridge openings (87.8 percent), evaporation (7.2 percent), and as outflow to ground water (5.0 percent). About 5,200 pounds of phosphorus and 107,200 pounds of nitrogen compounds were added to the lakes during the period of investigation. Phosphorus compounds were derived from primarily internal regeneration (40.2 percent), inflow from surface water in the watershed (30.9 percent), inflow from storm drains (12.5 percent), and inflow through the State Highway 173 bridge openings (9.8 percent). Inflowing ground water, waterfowl excrement, precipitation, and atmospheric deposition of particulate matter account for 6.6 percent of the phosphorus load. Nitrogen was derived from inflow of surface water from within the watershed (52.9 percent), internal regeneration (19.5 percent), inflow through the State Highway 173 bridge openings (10.7 percent), precipitation (7 percent), and inflow from storm drains (6.5 percent). Inflowing ground water, waterfowl excrement, and atmospheric deposition of particulate matter account for about 3.4 percent of the nitrogen load. About 2,220 pounds of phosphorus and 52,300 pounds of nitrogen compounds are removed from the lakes, primarily through the openings at State Highway 173. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and dissolved phosphorus are utilized by algae and aquatic macrophytes. Uptake of these nutrients by aquatic macrophytes and algae temporarily removes them from the water column but not from the lake basin. Because the amount of nutrients entering the lake greatly exceeds the amount leaving, the nutrients are concentrated in the sediments at the lake bottom, where the nutrients can be used by the rooted aquatic macrophytes (rooted aquatic plant large enough to be visible to the unaided eye) and released to the water column during reducing conditions. The buildup of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds in the lakes has the potential over time to stimulate algal and plant growth to nuisance levels that have the potential to affect the fishery and detract from the aesthetic quality of these lakes.