Cook County Land Audits

Please read about the two land audits that have been conducted in Cook County:

Photo by Marilyn L. Schweitzer

Cook County Land Audit 2001

The 2001 Cook County Land Audit was a first-ever countywide assessment of the ecological health of Forest Preserve District Lands, organized by Audubon Chicago Region, Friends of the Forest Preserves, and the Sierra Club. Plant monitors collected data at 87 transects within the District's natural lands and found widespread degradation. Floristic quality was low, bare ground was high, and the most common young trees were invasive species like buckthorn, as well as black cherry and sugar maple, which act invasive in our oak woods. The historic oak trees were not common among the smaller, younger size classes, suggesting degraded conditions that do not allow for oak reproduction. Based on this assessment, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County made major changes to its land management strategy, with the goal of improving the ecological health of District lands.

Please read the complete report .

This study was possible because of the time, energy, and expertise of the monitors who collected the data:

Barbara Birmingham, Barbara Hill, Bill Gunderson, Bob Arentz, Bob Bezouska, Bob Bluestone, Bob Claus, Bowden Quinn, Carol Alecia, Cathy Bloome, Connie Bishcoff, Cynthia Turner, Dale Shields, Dave Eubanks, Dave Wachtel, David Bier, Deb Petro, Debra Shore, Diana Granitto, Doug Chien, Elizabeth Plonka, Emma Visee, Erik Mason, Eve Komosa, Florence Brennan, Floyd Catchpole, Frank Veraldi, Gary Horn, George Milner, Gladys Bryer, Gretchen Grant, Heibergers, Jack Pizzo, Jackie Coffey, Jane Balaban, Janet Evans, Jean Guarino, Jean Sellar, Jerry Garden, Jim Robinson, Joe Neuman, John Navin, John Sheerin, John Yunger, Joy Truskowski, Judy Pollock, Juli Janisch, Karen Glennemeier, Kate Bliss, Keith Jones, Ken Stoffel, Kent Fuller, Larry Godson, Larry Hodak, Laurel Ross, Leon Halloran, Linda Johnson, Linda Masters, Linda Randa, Lissette Rivera, Liz Cozzi, Liz Meyer, Marge Keller, Margo Milde, Marianne Kozlowski, Mark Wotjczak, Meredith Ludwig, Mike Fitzpatrick, Milo Anderson, Nancy Freehafer, Nancy Williamson, Paul Strand, Pete Jackson, Rich Hyerczyk, Roger Keller, Ron Panzer, Scott Kobal, Sheila Hoyos, Steve Byers, Steve Christy, Steve Frankel, Steve Packard, Stuart Goldman, Tom Hintz, Tom Murphy, Victor Cassidy, Victor Guarino

Cook County Land Audit 2007-08

Photo by Marilyn L. Schweitzer

In 2007 and 2008, Audubon organized a second Cook County Land Audit in cooperation with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to determine the degree to which the District's efforts were succeeding. Plant monitors collected data at 200 circular plots throughout the District's priority conservation lands and found continued, widespread degradation. Invaders like buckthorn and weeds like poison ivy had increased since 2001. Floristic quality remained low, bare ground remained high, and oak regeneration remained very low. Sites that had received continued ecological management were faring well, with high floristic quality, fewer invasive plants, and better oak regeneration. However, the average state of District priority lands remained only poor to fair. The District has since taken new steps to increase the quantity and effectiveness of ecological management, and we hope that the next Land Audit will show that the ecological health of District lands has improved as a result of these efforts.

Please read the complete report .

This study was possible because of the time, energy, and expertise of the monitors who collected the data:

Alice Brandon, Alison Park, Andrew Blackburn, Angela Kerber, Barb Wilson, Bob Claus, Brenda Occhiuzzo, Briana Goodwin, Carol Howard, Carolyn Faber, Chad Gilson, Cynthia Stone, Dakota Blackburn, Dale Shields, David Wachtel, Diana Krug, Diane Benson, Dick Riner, Don Parker, Doug Dewitt, Duke Riggen, Ed Max, Elizabeth Gilson, Elizabeth Plonka, Erin Faulkner, Greg Carlson, Gregory Rajsky, Helen Marieskind, Helen Mlynarski, Holly Schmaling, James Doss, Jean Sellar, Jeanette Klodzen, Jeff Judycki, Jenna Fahey, Jennifer Boyer, Jerry Fuller, Joe Neumann, Joe Occhiuzzo, John Berg, John Gipson, John Navin, Juli Mason, Karen Glennemeier, Karen Laskowski, Keith Nowakowski, Ken Schaefer, Kent Fuller, Laura Walsh, Laura Wigren, Linda Masters, Lisa Culp, Liz Meyer, Lou Mule, Lynda Behrendt, Maggie Kallai, Marianne Kozlowski, Mark Berninger, Mary Beth Falsey, Mary Busch, Mary Claire Jarvis, Mary Zaander, Melissa Gebien, Michelle Jost, Michelle McNab, Mike Zarski, Nathan Schroeder, Noreen Newton, Otto Roeser, Paul Bollinger, Paul Dolinka, Paul Leffler, Peter Chen, Rebecca Mueller, Rich Hyerczyk, Ron Milnarik, Ron Vargason, Ross Noethling, Ryan White, Stan Fix, Stephanie Frischie, Stephen Packard, Steve Cloutier, Sylvia Zarski, Victor Cassidy, Wally Levenier, Yone Yu