The Prairie Research Institute’s Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, and Illinois State Water Survey are collaborating with the Forest Preserves of Cook County to develop a comprehensive Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan for the Forest Preserves.
According to Toni Preckwinkle, Forest Preserves President, “This plan will provide strategic guidance to ensure the diversity of our natural heritage is sustained in the next century.”
The Forest Preserves of Cook County manages more than 69,000 acres of public land, approximately 11 percent of Cook County. These lands include some of the country’s most biologically diverse flora and fauna as well as archaeological sites that provide insights to cultural history and the people who have lived on these lands.
The role of the Prairie Research Institute is to:
- compile the known ecological and archaeological data on the forest preserves and make that information available for use by Forest Preserves staff,
- identify gaps in information,
- fill critical gaps in data using rapid field surveys,
- collaborate with Forest Preserves staff to engage constituents and build consensus,
- develop landcover maps and prioritize areas for natural and cultural resource conservation, and
- provide management recommendations for preserving and enhancing natural and cultural resources into the future.
The Prairie Research Institute is well suited for this project. “They were the ideal partner for this project”, said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “They have a breadth of expertise and an ability to organize and protect sensitive information. This partnership gives the Forest Preserves access to more than 600 scientists and technicians with knowledge of Illinois resources unavailable anywhere else.”