Frequently Asked Questions

Q How did you choose the 14 counties?

A The database covers 14 counties stretching out beyond the greater Chicago region, including the counties bordering the Wisconsin-Illinois and Illinois-Indiana state lines. These 14 counties were chosen for several reasons: (1) they are either relatively urbanized or likely to experience increasing development pressures; (2) they encompass most or all of several key watersheds; and (3) they include some of the richest varieties of valuable dune, prairie, savanna, wetland, and forested ecosystem types in the Midwest.

Q What is green infrastructure?

A Green infrastructure is the interconnected network of open spaces, waterways, and natural areas that provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities and helps maintain the sustainability of the region.

Q How can I order a printed version of the map poster?

A Just send an e-mail to Ruth Williams ( and include in the e-mail the number of maps desired and your mailing address.

Q Why does the map have such odd boundaries?

A The map uses sub-watershed boundaries for its borders to illustrate how green infrastructure stretches across state and county lines, ignoring political boundaries.

Q What is an ADID wetland?

A ADID stands for "Advanced Identification." It refers to a classification process included in the Clean Water Act, which authorizes the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to identify aquatic sites that are considered generally unsuitable for disposal of dredged or fill material due to their high quality. These evaluations are done in advance of specific permitting processes. Sites are evaluated on three functional values: habitat, stormwater storage, and water quality. An ADID designation of unsuitability is advisory, not regulatory.

Q Wow! What a terrific site! Do you know of other organizations , perhaps in New York or North Carolina, that have undertaken similar efforts?

A CNT and Openlands looked at a number of similar projects across the country to identify best practices and learn from other projects. A comprehensive national resource for green infrastructure projects can be found at It is a partnership between The Conservation Fund and the USDA Forest Service and is a clearinghouse for green infrastructure information.
In New York, the New York City Open Accessible Space Information System Cooperative (OASIS) is a partnership of more than 30 federal, state, and local agencies, private companies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations to create a one-stop, interactive mapping and data analysis application via the Internet to enhance the stewardship of open space for the benefit of New York City (NYC) residents. OASIS' website features an interactive mapping feature and more background on the project at
In North Carolina, The Conservation Fund worked with University of North Carolina's Department of City and Regional Planning, the City of Kinston, and the County of Lenoir to develop the Kinston-Lenoir County Green Infrastructure Plan for the Neuse River Floodplain. In 2002, The Conservation Fund once again collaborated with the University of North Carolina's Department of City and Regional Planning, the City of Kinston, and the County of Lenoir to create a plan entitled Linking Natural and Historic Assets: Green Infrastructure As Economic Development in Lenoir County, NC. Further information can be found at

Q The download for the urban and urban open space land cover as a shapefile does not work. Any ideas why. Otherwise great site to get data.

A We fixed this - there was a problem with several of the ArcView format files - they have all been fixed.