18 Jan 2016
This report is result of participating in a DEC webinar on January 14th, 2016.
Recently, the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), in conjunction with the Hudson River Estuary Program, has developed a new tool for communities called the Natural Resources Inventory. The Inventory is designed to assist communities in three general areas:
-Land Use Planning and decision-making;
-Building resilience for communities in response to natural disasters;
-As a chapter or appendix in a community's Comprehensive Plan.
Mention was also made in the webinar of the economic benefits of having this Inventory, as cited in the State Comptroller's report "The Economic Benefits of Open Space Preservation" (2010). The webinar focused more, however, on how to get the Inventory started.
As suggested above, the Inventory is flexible and can be used in any of several ways:
-As a stand-alone document;
-As a chapter or appendix in a Comp. Plan;
-As information for CAC's (Conservation Advisory Councils);
-As part of Environmental Conservation Law
NRI's provide the opportunity to educate:
Process: Creating the Inventory involves a three-step process: IDENTIFY all natural, as well as historic and cultural resources; PRIORITIZE which of these resources are most important, and PLAN, PROTECT and MANAGE these resources.
-The creation of an NRI enables a community to evaluate the establishment of a Critical Environmental Area, such as an aquifer, watershed, or forest system. Currently, Otsego County has no Critical Environmental areas designated - at ALL!
-Creation of an NRI earns points toward Climate Smart Community Certification for those Climate Smart Communities -such as Richfield- that wish to achieve it.
-NRI can influence Economic Development planning in an area like Richfield, since we are a tourist destination for cultural and natural richness.
-NRI can be a step toward inter-municipal cooperation. Once again, this pertains in particular to a town like Richfield, situated as it is at the head of several watersheds.
Comprehensive Plan Committee