Our rare and diverse natural areas and ecosystems are some of the most valuable and irreplaceable assets in metropolitan Chicago. ON TO 2050 strongly affirms that these natural resources are critical for protecting the quality of our air, land, and water, providing ecosystem services, wildlife habitats, and recreational spaces, contributing to a high quality of life, and supporting a vibrant regional economy.
Our abundant water supply has been crucial to attracting people and investment. In addition, the region’s extensive green infrastructure network provides invaluable habitat and species diversity, protects environmental quality, aids in flood mitigation, and is an important line of defense against the impacts of climate change. The unique and exceptional landscapes and waterways of greater Chicago, from Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to its oak savannas and prairies, form a key element of our natural and cultural history and are foundational to the region’s future.