2023 Chicago River Summit

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This March 8th, the Chicago River Summit: Greater Chicago Natural Solutions Tool: A Watershed Approach publicly launches the Natural Solutions Tool . The Natural Solutions Tool is an innovative, multi-benefit project prioritization tool designed to catalyze strategic green infrastructure projects. A key feature of this new and powerful online-mapping tool includes parcel prioritization – at the neighborhood level – that will drive investments in green infrastructure to areas of the Chicago-Calumet River watershed and beyond with the greatest need and opportunity, harnessing the power of nature to achieve multiple social, environmental, and economic benefits within communities – equitably.

The creation of the Natural Solutions Tool is the result of a vision for increased strategic and collaborative watershed-wide investments in nature-based solutions led by the Greater Chicago Watershed Alliance (formerly the Greater Chicago Watershed Alliance), which Friends of the Chicago River first convened in 2020.

The Natural Solutions Tool uses in-depth, mapped data to identify the most powerful locations for green infrastructure expansion and improvement. The tool will allow users to find parcels that meet certain characteristics where green infrastructure is most suitable, as well as to compare climate, public health, and equity information to address complex environmental challenges.

It is essential our region’s leaders integrate this critical decision making tool and put it in the hands of frontline communities. Join us as national and local experts demonstrate how the Natural Solutions Tool can build healthy, climate resilient communities.

Speakers include:

  • Taj Schottland, associate director of The Trust for Public Land's Climate, Land and People Lab, will demonstrate the Natural Solutions Tool highlights and capabilities.
  • Dr. Teresa Horton, Human Biologist at Northwestern University, will share her current research on how natural landscapes improve health, wellbeing, and resiliency—making the case for increased natural areas in our urban environments
  • Dr. Jeff Opperman, Global Freshwater Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, will connect the work we do at the local level to findings in the Living Planet 2022 report.
  • Lina Velasco, Community Development Director for Richmond, will speak to how Richmond has used their prioritization tool and the multi-benefit framework (and partnership) that helped them secure a multi-million dollar state grant.
  • Raed Mansour, City of Chicago, Department of Public Health, Director of Environmental Innovation, was a participant of the Technical Advisory Team that created the tool. Mansour will speak to how he can use the tool to support the work he does for the City of Chicago's tree program.

Purchase your tickets here.

Thank you to our generous sponsors