Cities and Counties Leading the Way on Innovative Landscape Level Conservation Planning

Photo of Green Space area in the Chicago Wilderness network of conserved lands (C) Copyrighted imaged used with permission of The Chicago Wilderness Alliance

Interview with Nancy Williamson and Steven Byers - 11:00

Nancy Williamson and Steven Byers presented at the recent Green Infrastructure Conference on how the Chicago Wilderness Alliance has been to assemble a large multi-partner alliance that has conserved over 350,000 acres of connected green spaces to conserve water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and public recreation areas for citizens in and around the Chicago metropolitan area.

Chicago Wilderness Alliance

Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance that connects people and nature. We are more than 250 organizations that work together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all who live here, by protecting the lands and waters on which we all depend. Our four key initiatives—to restore the health of local nature, green infrastructure, combat climate change, and leave no child inside—reflect our commitment to using science and emerging knowledge, as well as a collaborative approach to conservation, to benefit all the region’s residents.

 The members of Chicago Wilderness include local, state and federal agencies, large conservation organizations, cultural and education institutions, volunteer groups, municipalities, corporations, and faith-based groups.

Learn More About Chicago Wilderness Alliance


Collage of Sonoran Desert Conservation Images (C) copyrighted and used with permission of Pima County, Arizona

Audio Interview with Sherry Ruther, Pima County Government, Arizona - 30:00

Sherry Ruther is the Natural Resource Manager for Development for Pima County, Arizona. At the recent "Green Infrastructure Conference", the Service interviewed Ms. Ruther to learn why and how Pima County took this broad, regional approach to conserving not only the endangered ferruginous pymgy owl, but the many other unique and valued natural resources of the Tucson area. Their 'lessons learned' may be of interest to other municipalities and resource groups looking to improve natural resource planning.

Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan
Tucson Arizona - Pima County

Desert habitat is a key ecosystem in the United States, supporting hundreds of unique wildlife and plant species. One of the challenges is finding a way to conserve these natural areas and meet community needs while ensuring self-sustaining natural systems that provide air, water, food, wildlife, recreation, and jobs. Pima County is the governing entity for the city of Tucson, and spans approximately ______ miles--about the size of 4 New England states put together. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began working with the Pima County government on the issue of the fedeally-listed endangered ferruginous pymgy owl. Because of the proactive efforts of Pima County and it's citizens, what resulted was much more than just habitat for one species--but a connected network of lands and waters, totallying 565,000 acres that helps conserves the unique communities of this part of Arizona.

Learn More about the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan