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Environment – Open Spaces

SSMMA Environmental Programs

Open Space

South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association has undertaken several steps to preserve and enhance the Southern Suburbs’ Open Space. The South Suburban Calumet Area Open Space and Trail Plan is part of a South Suburban Calumet Area Open Space Initiative, a joint project of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and Openlands Project. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation provided funding for this project.

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Millennium Reserve

SSMMA is a proud participant of one of 12 Millennium Reserve conservation projects furthering the mission of transforming the Calumet Region of Chicago into a one-of-a-kind public destination that protects and enhances natural ecosystems, supports healthy and prosperous communities, and stimulates vigorous and diverse economic growth.

Click here to see SSMMA’s Millennium Reserve story map.

The Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect Americans, especially children, to the nation’s rich outdoor treasures; build upon public and private priorities for conservation and recreation lands; and use science-based management practices to restore and protect our lands and waters for future generations. Please click here to download a Millennium Reserve Introduction.

One Millennium Reserve conservation project is the Midlothian Creek Green Infrastructure Plan. Read more here.

In February 2015, President Barack Obama designated the Pullman Park District on the far south side of Chicago (part of the Millennium Reserve) as a national monument. Click here to read about it.

Altogether, the 12 Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core projects and partners include:

Blue Island Rain Barrel Initiative, City of Blue Island and Metropolitan Planning Council. Installation of 200 rain barrels to address storm water issues in Northeast Blue Island, with the assistance of volunteers and workforce training program participants.

Burnham Prairie Restoration, US Army Corps of Engineers. Restoration of 93 acres of wetlands on Forest Preserve District of Cook County property, creating jobs and enhancing the hydrological and ecological integrity of the site.

Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago Park District. Conversion of 60 acres of parkland into wildlife habitat through native tree planting and habitat restoration.

Calumet Invasive Species Conservation Corps, Friends of the Forest Preserves. Invasive species removal on 227-acres across four Forest Preserves, employing local residents who receive conservation training.

Calumet Water Trails Brochure, Openlands. Brochure with detailed maps and information on water trails in the Calumet region, promoting ecotourism, local business, and recreation safety.

Greencorps Chicago, City of Chicago. Green job training and invasive species control at 15 sites, benefitting both the local ecosystem and local economy by hiring and training individuals with barriers to employment.

Midlothian Creek Green Infrastructure Plan, Chicago Wilderness, SSMMA, the Field Museum, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Mapping project to identify green infrastructure elements and create a strategic plan for communities in the Midlothian Creek watershed, including Blue Island, Midlothian, and Robbins.

Mighty Acorns Program: Calumet Partnership, The Field Museum. Classroom lessons and Calumet site study introducing 400 fourth through sixth grade students to ecology and natural resources stewardship.

Millennium Reserve Roots, IDNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Neighborhood native plant habitat installations which promote ecological connectivity with existing natural areas.

Northerly Island Restoration, US Army Corps of Engineers. Restoration of 40 acres of upland and lowland habitat.

Off the Beaten Path Eco-Tours, Southeast Environmental Task Force. Themed tours of natural areas, restoration sites, and industrial sites, led by knowledgeable volunteers, which will highlight the ecological, industrial, and cultural heritage of the Southeast side of Chicago.

River Volunteer Stewardship Program: Kickapoo Woods Demonstration Site, Friends of the Chicago River. Ecological restoration of a five-acre demonstration site through community stewardship workshops and volunteer workdays.

News updates:

For a 4-25-14 Millennium Reserve update, click here.

Governor Rauner signs Executive Order providing independent status for Millennium Reserve. Read the story here.