Since 2015, CRTI has been surveying municipalities and park districts to determine the operational capacity of the Chicago region.
This survey assesses the capacity of public land managers to maintain and improve their portions of the urban forest. The 2014 inaugural survey included responses from 132 municipalities and 20 park districts in the seven counties of the Chicago region: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.
In 2014, municipalities were grappling with emerald ash borer infestation. The emphasis in most communities was taking down trees, with some creating emerald ash borer plans that included treatment priorities, engaging residents about the removed trees, and replacement planting.
In 2019, most communities emphasized trying to get back into a routine, establishing pruning cycles, or expressing interest in investing in tree care and planting.
Altogether, these data are more useful for deciding where and how to provide outreach, training, and technical assistance, rather than as a fixed barometer for the region, because there are simply too many variables at play any given year. The results inform CRTI’s annual strategic planning and many of our projects, including our tree preservation ordinance templates, our Urban Forestry Basic Training course, and our Tree Risk Assessment short courses.
The survey will be sent out every five years to track our region’s progress (and primary obstacles) in its capacity to care for trees.