SPRINGFIELD – To tackle growing emission rates from automobiles and trucks, State Senator Rachel Ventura spearheaded legislation through the Senate that would create a grant for local governments to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“By encouraging local governments to plant native trees and grasses, which are proven to help mitigate climate change through carbon capture, we can aid the process of healing our planet for future generations significantly,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “This grant opportunity would make a big difference in every corner of the state – tackling the deterioration of the planet head on.”

The ramifications of the climate crisis are felt across all tiers of government. With heightened frequency and intensity of storms, local administrations face the imperative of managing flooding and devising solutions for dirt and snow drifts. Moreover, the escalating emissions from transportation and fossil fuel sources demand urgent attention. Scientific research underscores the efficacy of native grasses and trees in carbon capture. In response to these pressing needs, this bill endeavors to establish a grant program tailored for local governments.


The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act would require the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish a grant program for local governments to restore degraded forests and prairies, encourage planting trees and grasses along roadways to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and address flooding and prevent snow and dirt drifts.

According to a Montana State University study, plants on federal lands – national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other areas – currently capture seven million metric tons of carbon each year. That is the carbon equivalent of the average annual carbon emissions from five million cars.

“Nature must be a part of a comprehensive response to the climate crisis. Healthy trees, wetlands and prairies help us in the fight against a warming planet. They clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, and they protect our lives and homes from storms and floods,” said Ashley Maybanks, Director of Government Relations and Policy at The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. “While we continue to push for a massive reduction in fossil fuel use, the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act will ensure nature can be a part of the answer here in Illinois.”

If passed, Ventura encourages all local government to apply and consider lining their roadways with trees and native grasses where applicable.

Senate Bill 2781 passed the Senate on Thursday and now heads to the House for further consideration.