Systems Planning

Healthy Ecosystems

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​​​Healthy Ecosystems Goal 

Conserve, protect, enhance, and restore our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems​​​

How are we doing?

Ann Arbor’s natural systems are a defining characteristic of the community. Maintaining and improving natural features offers health, economic, aesthetic, educational and recreational benefits to our community. With 33% tree canopy in 2009, the city of Ann Arbor has average or above-average tree canopy cover compared with other small and medium-sized communities in the United States.  However, Ann Arbor's urban tree canopy is below the 40% canopy cover recommended by American Forests. The City adopted its first Urban and Community Forest Management Plan in 2014 to increase canopy citywide. The Huron River and its watershed play a key role in Ann Arbor’s natural systems. Ann Arbor, with the help of partners like the Huron River Watershed Council, is proactively taking steps to protect and enhance the health of the watershed.​​​​​

What are the indicators?

Tree Canopy                                       

The Urban and Community Forest Management Plan sets targets to achieve different tree canopy goals for each land use category. City staff will use recommendations from the plan to expand tree canopy cover across land use categories.​​The chart bellow looks at all 1.3 million trees in the Ann Arbor area and was taken from LIDAR data collected in 2010.

Source: City of Ann Arbor

​ ​ ​​Tree Canopy Targets.jpg

​Watershed Health         

The Huron River Watershed Council ​(HRWC) monitors the physical and biological conditions for many of the streams that empty into the Huron River. The amount of impervious service in the city and within the creeksheds significantly impacts creek quality. Allen Creek, which is nearly 50% impervious surface, has the most indicators in “poor” condition. The composite score bellow shows an overall indicator for all creeksheds based on a score of 100. The composite score captures health of the creeksheds based on the following areas:  ​

-Creekshed land use/Land Cover

-Creekshed natural areas

-Stream habitat and flow

-Dam and impoundment conditions

-Fish and aquatic insect community

-Stream temperature

-E. coli




Picture1.pngSource: Huron River Watershed Council

For full reports on individual creeks, can be found on the Huron River Watershed Council's website




What way cool projects are underway?

Green Streets Policy

In 2014, Ann Arbor City Council adopted a Green Streets Policy that sets storm water infiltr​ation standards for public street construction and reconstruction.

Urban and community f​​orestry management plan

In 2014, City Council adopted Ann Arbor's first Urban and Community Forestry Management Plan​ to increase the quality and size of the urban and community forest, which is an adaptive strategy to improve water quality and limit flooding by mitigating storm water runoff. The City is undertaking several programs to maintain and improve the health and condition of trees. For example, the Citizen Pruner program trains volunteers on how to prune young trees to develop strong structure and proper form. 

Huron River W​atershed Council 

The City partners with HRWC on educational and outreach efforts in the watershed. HRWC administers the Adopt-a-Stream program which trains volunteers to help monitor and preserve the condition of the river and creeks in the watershed. Ann Arbor also participates in HRWC's Climate-Resilient Communities project effort to bring together community stakeholders to discuss and prepare for climate impacts within the watershed.

​Stor​m wate​r​ utility

Ann Arbor's storm water utility provides funding for an administrative organization that plans, designs, constructs and maintains a storm water management system, sediment and flood control programs and projects, and provides storm water education.



Where are we now?
​ ​
​Poor​Not Assessed
Where are we going?​ ​
​Getting Better​Stable
​Getting Worse​Unknown