Protecting Land and Water

From establishing city parks to protecting and stewarding large-scale landscapes and the health of our waters across the region, Openlands values the land, and we work with partners across northeastern Illinois to protect open space.

As Chicago’s regional land trust, Openlands works to connect a web of green across municipalities, waterways, and state lines. Land trusts across the country are engaging local communities to conserve the lands we all treasure, from woodlands and prairies to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Land conservation protects habitats and migratory paths for threatened plant and animal species. By protecting and restoring the land, we ensure clean water, expand public access to open space, and build resiliency against a changing climate.

Conservation of public and private lands in the Chicago region also yields economic benefits and improvements in green infrastructure. One study found that every $1 invested in restoration of conserved land results in a $8 return. Activities related to outdoor recreation, eco-tourism, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation are estimated to contribute over $1.06 trillion annually to our national economy.

Protecting Public and Private Land

As Chicago’s regional land trust, Openlands drives regional conservation strategies to protect public and private lands as open space, wildlife habitat, trails, parks, and other community assets.

Restoring Public and Private Land

Openlands restores landscapes small and large in concert with public and private landowners, supporting native ecosystems across the region.

Improving Water Quality and Waterways

Through innovative programs and partnerships, Openlands connects communities and government agencies to build and maintain innovative green infrastructure to manage stormwater in flood-prone metropolitan areas.