Greening Infrastructure

The Chicago Wilderness Vision identifies 1.9 million acres that can be restored, protected, or connected through conservation and thoughtful, sustainable development. A strong, healthy network of natural lands and waters provides a range of benefits for both people and nature, including clean air, clean water, and flood control, as well as opportunities for recreation. Communities can use the Vision to make land-use decisions that will let them realize these benefits by protecting their natural resources.  The data is available for free through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning at

SWAT: The Sustainable Watershed Action Team

Land-use decisions are made at the local level in our region, and local officials have clearly expressed their need for technical assistance in addressing the tremendous growth pressures that threaten their communities’ natural resources and our regional green infrastructure.

To address that need,Chicago Wilderness created the Sustainable Watershed Action Team (SWAT). SWAT is an innovative partnership that delivers sustainable planning and customized technical assistance to help communities develop local plans, adopt protective ordinances, and implement sustainable development practices.

SWAT is composed of experts in planning, engineering, storm water management, and other professions who work directly with local officials and developers on specific planning or development projects.  This direct, hands-on outreach is a critical approach in protecting our green infrastructure and ensuring the health and sustainability of our communities and our region into the future.

Contact Chris Mulvaney, Chicago Wilderness Restoration & Green Infrastructure Coordinator, for more information on SWAT.

On the Ground: Green Infrastructure Plans

Explore the links below for examples of green infrastructure plans that Chicago Wilderness helped local communities develop:

Mapping and planning projects have also been completed with the City of Woodstock and City of Lakewood. 

Other current green infrastructure project include Kane County, Kishwaukee (Winnebago County), Midlothian Creek, and the 36 communities in the Millennium Reserve.