Places > DuPage County Natural Areas Management Program

DuPage County Natural Areas Management Program


Project Type
Non-Bank Project
Illinois | DuPage County
Climate Adaptation & Flood Resilience, Natural Resource Planning/Restoration
Ecological Setting
Grasslands, Prairies, & Upland Forests


The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in the Chicago metro region owns more than 9,000 acres of highly urbanized, yet resource-rich forested and riparian land.

In the mid-90s, most county residents had little understanding of ecosystem health and restoration – issues that were plaguing the District. To create a plan for improving ecological conditions in 70 natural areas of the District, RES ecologists inventoried the plant communities and developed recommendations to restore healthy systems to woodlands, stream corridors, and savannas.

Some were controversial at the time. Such as removing buckthorn from public park properties. (This socio-ecological issue became national news – and halted buckthorn removal and savanna restoration in the Cook County Forest Preserves for 5 years – in the late 90s before a moratorium was lifted in 2002.)

DuPage County preserve management recommendations have been followed for more than 20 years now, and natural resources in the District (and beyond) are significantly, measurably improved – and awarded.

The DuPage County Natural Areas Management Program (NAMP) has been used, not only throughout the District to improve ecosystem health, but also as a guideline for ecosystem management throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

In 2012, RES collected high-resolution aerial imagery of the Lower DuPage River to identify locations of woody invasive plants for eradication.

Twenty years after field inventory for the DuPage NAMP, this new imagery is assisting the District in assessing trouble spots and continuing to lower O+M costs in high-quality natural areas.