Fitzgerald Road Preservation Project

Project Profile

Project Location

Rockford, IL

Project Operator

Natural Land Institute

Project Type


Project Credits


Credit Availability


Project Contact

Alan Branhagen, Executive Director,

As part of the Chicago Carbon Region Program, Natural Land Institute (NLI) preserved the 21-acre Fitzgerald Road forest on a 42.28 acre property that is part of a larger complex of protected lands. The Project consists of mature forest between 75 and 150 years old, with Oak-Hickory species dominating the dry-mesic upland and silver maple, hackberry, and green ash, and burr oak predominant in the wet-mesic floodplain. Protecting this area creates substantial conservation and community benefits including carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat and open space protection.

The property is zoned Agriculture and the surrounding land is facing a continued threat of urban expansion from the City of Rockford. Preservation of the Project is important as our urban wooded lands are becoming increasingly fragmented and rare in Winnebago County due to urban development pressures and agricultural development.

NLI is a not-for-profit Conservation Land Trust since 1958, with extensive experience in land management and conservation easements. NLI’s portfolio consists of holding and monitoring over 40 conservation easements and managing over 3,000 acres of fee land properties. Over its history, NLI has protected over 18,000 acres of natural land.

This project is part of the Chicago Region Carbon Program (CRCP) and complements other tree planting and preservation projects in the seven-metro counties supervised by the Chicago Region Trees Initiative. Projects in the 2022 CRCP cohort include:


Forest preservation projects not only reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but provide ecosystem services or co-benefits that can be quantified. The co-benefits from this project represent a savings (avoided costs) of $48,309 per year, and $1,932,379 over 40 years.

  • Rain interception (stormwater management) – 5,221 m3/year, $37,380 per year
  • Air quality – 0.22 tons/year, $329 per year
  • Energy – cooling (electricity) – 41,098 kWh/year, $3,119 per year
  • Energy – heating (natural gas) – 768,462 kBtu/year, $7,481 per year

Social Impacts

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action and global partnership among all countries, representing key benchmarks for creating a better world and environment for everyone. Well-designed and managed urban forests make significant contributions to the environmental sustainability, economic viability and livability of cities.

The main SDGs for this project are described below, with more detailed information in the Project Design Document.

This project is located within the floodplain of Silver Creek, which has suffered degradation under modern agricultural uses. Protecting the forest will continue to improve infiltration rates, prevent soil erosion, and enhance water quality.


Protecting the forest preserves a sink for greenhouse gases including CO2 and evapotranspiration, reduces and removes air pollutants, and improves water quality.


The project preserves and enhances biodiversity, increases wildlife habitat for birds and other wildlife, and supports soil health through nutrient and water cycling and photosynthesis.

Total Credits Issued: 3,230

  • 2023: 3,230 credits issued

Total Credits Sold: 0

Total Credits Retired: 0

Total Credits Cancelled: 0

Total Credits Available for Purchase: 3,230

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