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Urban Biodiversity Master Plan (In Progress)

Project History

Key Objective

Description

The iCAP 2020 objective 8.1 is to "Develop a coordinated urban biodiversity master plan by FY24 to make the Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and campus metro area a model for biodiversity." The responsible campus unit for championing this objective is UI Extension with F&S.

Maintaining biological diversity in our plants, animals, and ecosystems is one of the most impactful first steps we can take toward strengthening our communities’ overall resilience. Integrating native plants and greenspaces into local urban areas is central to our biodiversity master plan. In addition to supporting native plants, pollinators, and land and water health, our biodiversity plan supports human health and well-being; for example, minimizing illnesses associated with ticks and mosquitos and reducing the adverse environmental impacts of homeowner landscape and lawn maintenance practices. Urban greenspace and landscape beautification are also proven to reduce levels of anxiety and stress. We want to encourage community members to become involved with and excited about these biodiversity strategies. Community gardens and food forests (to be included in the master plan) will provide opportunities for residents to engage with the ways biodiversity impacts everything from the ground beneath their feet to the food on their table. 

Background

The Resilience iCAP Team requested for U of I Extension to convene and coordinate steering and advisory committees to oversee the development of the Biodiversity Plan. Broad stakeholder input and direct faculty/research involvement will be included. Initiatives within the plan will be coordinated with the campus landscape master plan, other campus plans, and city and county comprehensive, stormwater, and related plans. Local applied research projects will connect UIUC researchers to people in the community to ensure best practices are being incorporated. The steering committee is anticipated to be established in 2021 and will work through the planning process over the subsequent 3 years. A final plan will be released in 2024. 

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Lisa Merrifield

    Project Leader:

    Lisa Merrifield

Dates

  • Proposed August 30, 2021
    Proposed by Lisa Merrifield (Finish background data collection and review of current efforts that support biodiversity in the Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and campus metro area)
    Investigated October 10, 2021
    Investigated by Lisa Merrifield (Identify a steering committee to include members of the municipalities and campus to discuss project plans)