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Element | Nature

The City of Cedar Rapids protects and enhances nature to grow health, resilience, and partnerships.

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Employing nature’s “ecosystem services” throughout Cedar Rapids is important for improving public health, building resilience to high heat and heavy rainfall events, and helping insect species avert population collapse. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Resources & Tools for Residents

  • Native Flowers & Grasses
    You've heard that monarchs need milkweed. Did you know that all bees and butterflies native to our region depend upon specific native plants for their reproduction cycles? If you plant native species, you're supporting our precious local ecosystems. If you haven't been, there's still time to start this spring! Here are some helpful resources:

More Tools »


The City employs nature to improve water quality in the Middle Cedar Partnership Project; rainfall infiltration in the stormwater cost-share program; and recreation, biodiversity, and quality of life through Parks, Forestry, and the 1000 Acre Pollinator Initiative.

Goals & Objectives

  • Goal 1: Protect and grow the tree canopy
    • A. Objective | Achieve annual net-positive tree count on City property and within City-owned right of way by FY25 (Emerald Ash Borer prevents more rapid timeline).
  • Goal 2: Improve water quality, decrease flooding potential, and increase recreation opportunities
    • A. Objective | Increase water volume handled by BMPs by 5% each year.
    • B. Objective | Expand functionality of stormwater system and grow collaboration in the watershed to achieve annual MS4 compliance.
    • C. Objective | Continue work in Middle Cedar River Watershed to increase the number of permanent nutrient-retention practices by 2% annually; increase acreage of perennial conservation practices by 10% annually; increase farmer contracts annually.
  • Goal 3: Implement park and green space best practices to improve biodiversity and public health
    • A. Objective | Partner with Monarch Research Project, Linn County, and other partners on 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative. Plant 325 additional acres of prairie on City property by FY21.
    • B. Objective | Reduce use of pesticide applications on City properties 5% from FY19 baseline by FY22.

Other Sources

1 "Health Benefits of Nature." Asla. Org, 2019.

2 "An Uncertain Future: The Outlook for Iowa Communities and Flooding as Our Climate Changes." Iowa Policy Project, 2019.

3 "Are You Looking for Cost-Effective yet Eye-Pleasing Ways to Lower Your Energy Bills?" U.S. Department of Energy, 1995.

4 "Using Trees and Vegetation to Reduce Heat Islands." U.S. EPA, 18 June 2018.

5 "World Seeing 'catastrophic Collapse' of Insects: Study." Phys. Org, Science X, 11 Feb. 2019.

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