Francia Garcia Hernandez

By the end of the year, Brookfield residents are likely to see a final proposal on how the village can preserve the environment, efficiently manage the village’s resources and be a sustainability steward. 

For several months, the conservation commission has worked with village officials and residents to draft and propose sustainability actions and goals for the village. These will all be compiled in a proposed sustainability plan for the village of Brookfield. 

A September draft of the plan obtained by the Landmark shows that the proposed plan identifies who will be responsible for implementing each action and estimates a timeline for completion. 

The proposed plan is still being reviewed and adjusted by the commission’s members. Once a final draft is ready, it will be reviewed by village staff and adjusted as needed. Ultimately, it will be presented to the Board of Trustees, who will evaluate the proposal and decide whether or not to approve it, said Bridget Jakubiak, chair of the conservation commission. 

Creating a sustainability plan for the village aligns with village officials’ and administrators’ intentions to have a cohesive document that outlines sustainability priorities – and one that could guide the village’s decision-making processes. 

Francia Garcia Hernandez

Though it is not final yet, the proposed plan includes goals and actions for land management, water use, energy consumption, sustainable transportation, waste management and air quality. The drafted plan also includes goals to reduce the village’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 greenhouse gas emissions.

To identify these goals and actions, the commission used a template proposed by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and a list of initiatives adopted by other municipalities, Jakubiak said. Many of these initiatives are comprehensive and require significant efforts and investments so the Conservation Commission is evaluating whether they could be completed in the short term or if they should be presented as a goal for the next five or 10 years, said Victor Janusz, forestry foreman and staff liaison. 

To shape the plan for Brookfield, the conservation commission and village staff are also reviewing and adjusting the initiatives, goals and priority areas to Brookfield’s needs and capacity. The commission is also reviewing how the proposed goals align with other sustainability initiatives already adopted by the village, such as the Cross-Community Climate Collaborative (C4) and state and federal environmental initiatives. 

The knowledge and expertise of several members of the conservation commission has also helped in the process of creating this proposal, Janusz said. Some of its members have professional experience in creating sustainability plans or have working knowledge of some of the priority areas it covers, Jakubiak said. 

“We’ve been very lucky all of the commissioners are volunteers who have been appointed by the village trustees and we’ve been very fortunate that so many people in Brookfield are really passionate about sustainability,” Jakubiak said. 

The proposed plan is not short of residents’ input who have also engaged in the planning process. 

Beyond the management of natural resources, the drafted plan recognizes that a sustainable community is one that is culturally vibrant, welcoming, inclusive and equitable. Thus, it also includes goals and actions to promote Brookfield as a sustainable community. 

The effort to create a sustainability plan for the village aligns with current village initiatives. The 2023 annual budget included developing more sustainability initiatives and continuing existing nature enhancing programs. 

If approved, the sustainability plan will complement the village board’s strategic plan by outlining priority areas in nature preservation, energy, water and waste management initiatives.