How do natural areas in DuPage County save taxpayers’ dollars while at the same time improve the environment?

How do natural areas in DuPage County save taxpayers’ dollars while at the same time improve the environment?

Well, there are so many reasons!  

#1 - Infrastructure - Water costs money to move, and if you don't need to move it and you can support wildlife you are all the better.  DuPage County has a great program in place for stormwater management.  As a citizen of DuPage County or really anywhere, you can do more.  Native landscaping and especially rain gardens help water stay on site and filter into the ground.  Native plants create a soils structure like a sponge. This sponge sucks up water and releases it slowly into streams, which can reduce flooding and costs associated with flooding. In combined sewer areas like Chicago, water infiltrating into the ground rather than being shipped off to the water treatment plant keeps treatment costs lower and the potential for sewage overflow from happening.

#2 - Drinking Water - That water that just filtered into the ground now can be drinking water, especially for those not on city water, and for those who depend on the Fox River for drinking water. It has been filtered through your native plants and it infiltrated more due to your native planting.

#3 - Climate Change - Native plants can store vast amounts of carbon. Trees in tree trunks, prairie grasses in their vast root systems, and especially wetlands that store carbon in anaerobic really locking up that carbon for long periods of time. Natural areas also reduce urban heat island effects, stabilize moisture and air masses, and trees provide shade. Oak trees planted in the correct location not only support local wildlife, but also can shade your home greatly reducing energy bills and use.

#4 – Ecosystem Resilience – Humans depend upon the ecosystem, from water to food, and the more native plants and intact ecosystems we have in place the more we can keep our selves healthy.

#5 – Food- If you eat food like I do you might want to pay attention.  Much of our food is pollinated, our pollinators need nature areas to live. So, if you want to eat, you need nature to support your pollinators. If you want to eat more inexpensively, you will want to support native plants as water is a key ingredient to keeping those food crops watered.

#6 – Mental Health – Natural areas not only can increase a properties value, but can also increase your mental health, just check this story our from WBEZ Mental health is well healthy, but it can also save tax payers money by keeping a community health with preventative care.

#7 – Tourism and Living- I have heard from several people that they moved from other parts of the Midwest because the Chicagoland area, surprisingly enough, has many protected natural areas and some of the most diverse ecosystems in the entire United States. Check out this awesome article from Mike at Chicago Nature Now that describes in a two-part article just how we stack up against National Parks, it is quite eye opening.

#8 – Turf Grass & Pavement – Natural areas reduce pesticide use, watering, and filter pollutants from turf and parking lot runoff.  Reduced exposure to pollutants can lead to improved health and less medical costs.

There are so many more reasons you should protect and retore new natural areas. I could keep going on and on and on, but I have to get back to restoring nature areas myself. 

How do you create nature on your property?  Plant native plants. A small pollinator garden or if you are property owner you can convert your large turf area or agriculture into nature area. Just ask we will will help.


Thanks Again!


Nick Fuller


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