Chicago Park District Natural Areas
RFQA Resources

The Rapid Floristic Quality Assessment (RFQA) protocol facilitates rapid assessment of Chicago Park District Natural Areas and allows natural areas managers to track site quality over time. RFQA relies on meander-based sampling of common and relatively easy to identify species. This protocol was developed for the Chicago Park District stewardship program.

Training Video for the Chicago Park District RFQA Protocol
Get Involved

You can help us better understand the natural areas at our parks by completing Rapid Floristic Quality Assessments. Watch the training video above and then reach out to cassi saari, cassi.saari@chicagoparkdistrict.com to learn more about participating in community science efforts at a park near you.

All Data

78 Chicago Park District Natural Areas have been assessed using the RFQA protocol. Data collection started in 2015 and continues each year. A subset of sites are assessed each year, so the number of years sampled varies between sites.

Data for all sites and all assessments through 2022 can be downloaded here CPD-RFQA-DataAllYrs.csv. Fields in this csv include:

  • date - date of assessment

  • site - CPD Natural Area

  • aa - assessment area: woodland, prairie, savanna, wetland, shrubland, dune/swale/panne, riparian shoreline/wet prairie

  • species - scientific name of species on the RFQA species list (see Datasheet & Rapid Color Guide above for list and photos of species)

  • common_name

  • native_status - native/non-native

  • cValue - Coefficient of Conservatism: Integer ranging from 0 - 10, representing the sensitivity of a species to anthropogenic disturbance (applies to Chicago area┬ánative plants; From Wilhelm & Rericha's Flora of the Chicago Region). Non-native species assigned cValue = 0, most conservative species assigned cValue = 10.

  • physiognomy - forb, grass, shrub, tree, woody vine...

  • coverClass - 1 (0-1%), 2 (2-5%), 3 (6-25%), 4 (26-50%) 5 (51-75%), 6 (76-95%), 7 (96-100%)

RFQA Site Reports

The PDFs linked below show up to three of the most recent assessments per Natural Area. Sites that were assessed in 2020 include 2020 maps of assessment areas.

Bessemer Park Nature Garden
Big Marsh - Bike Park
Big Marsh - NW
Big Marsh - Slag Meadow
BWC - 41st Street Bioretention
BWC - Burnham Centennial Prairie North
BWC - Burnham Centennial Prairie South
BWC - Burnham Nature Sanctuary
BWC - Burnham West South
BWC - McCormick Place Bird Sanctuary
Canal Origins Park Natural Area
Canalport Riverwalk Natural Area
Columbus Park Natural Area
Douglass Park Natural Area
Eugene Field Park Natural Area
Garfield Park Natural Area
Gompers Park Natural Area
Hegewisch Marsh Natural Area
Horner Park Natural Area
Horner Park Nature Garden
Humboldt Park Natural Area
Humboldt Park Natural Area Expansion
Humboldt Park Ponds
Hurley Park Natural Area
Indian Boundary Park Natural Area
Jackson Park 63rd Street Beach Dunes
Jackson Park Columbia Basin Fringe
Jackson Park Natural Area
Jane Addams Memorial Natural Area
Jesse Owens Park Nature Garden
Jesse White Nature Garden
Kiwanis Natural Area
La Villita Park Natural Area
Legion Park Natural Area
Legion SE ACOE
Leone Beach Park Natural Area
Lincoln Park - Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Lincoln Park - Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Lincoln Park - Diversey Natural Area
Lincoln Park - Kathy Osterman Beach
Lincoln Park - Marovitz Savanna
Lincoln Park - Montrose Beach Dunes
Lincoln Park - Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary
Lincoln Park - North Pond
Lincoln Park - Peace Garden
Lincoln Park - South Pond
Loyola Park Natural Area
Madigan Park Natural Area
Maggie Daley Park
Marian R. Byrnes Park
Marquette Park Natural Area
Mary Berkmeier Quinn Park of Trees
McKinley Park Natural Area
McKinley Park Natural Area Fall 2017 expansion zones
Nichols Park Natural Area
North Park Village - Walking Stick Woods
North Park Village Natural Area
Northerly Island 12th St Beach Natural Area
Northerly Island Natural Area
Ogden Park Nature Garden
Palmisano Park Natural Area
Park 538 - Thillens Natural Area
Park 562 - Van Vlissingen
Park 565 - Indian Ridge Marsh
Park 566 - USX
Park 568 - West Ridge / Rosehill
Park 600 - Deadstick Pond
Park 601 - Dunning-Read Natural Area
Ping Tom Park Natural Area
Portage Park Nature Garden
Prospect Park Nature Garden
Rainbow Beach Park Natural Area
Rainbow Beach Park South Natural Area
Ridge Park Wetland
Riis Park Natural Area
River Park Natural Area
Ronan Park Natural Area
Rutherford Sayre Park Nature Garden
SEPA Station 1
Sherman Park Natural Area
South Shore Natural Area
Steelworkers Park Natural Area
Taylor Lauridsen Park Nature Garden
Washington Park Natural Area
West Pullman Park Natural Area
Winnemac Park Natural Area
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