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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about participating in community science efforts at a park near you.
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 2020 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)
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 native 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%)
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.