Friends’ Policy Manager Joins Cook County Environmental Commission

Chelsey Grassfield (bottom right) addresses the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Chelsey Grassfield, policy manager at Friends of the Chicago River, was appointed November 2 to serve on the Cook County Environmental Commission.

Established in 2019, the Cook County Environmental Commission brings together nine stakeholders from across the county, representing different sectors, to work on climate resiliency with innovative and practical environmental initiatives.

The commission identifies three annual environmental goals and works toward their implementation. The goals of the environmental commission this year include implementing industrial composting in Cook County for large scale facilities, planting 1,000 trees throughout the county, and amending the Chicago Streets and Sanitation weed ordinance to allow for native gardens.

“As policy manager, I regularly work with elected officials at all levels of government to educate and advocate for policies that protect and enhance our river system,” said Grassfield. “I have a deep knowledge of our wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and the related issues facing our region. The river is an under-valued resource for climate resiliency, which I can bring to the forefront. I very much look forward to contributing to the already impressive work this commission has accomplished.”

At Friends, Grassfield’s work includes research on water quality issues to inform and influence public policy. Her research work also supports the Chicago-Calumet River Watershed Council, a collaborative partnership, including Friends of the Chicago River, of 16 government, planning agencies, and non-profit partners to plan and implement nature-based solutions throughout the region. She also serves on the steering committee of the Coalition for Plastic Reduction.

Grassfield’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Cook County Board on Tuesday. The environmental commission is chaired by Cook County Commissioner Bridget Degnen and members serve two-year terms.