Municipal Planning to protect natural resources . Supported by a grant from the Wellborn Ecology Fund. Why should towns plan to address natural resources and systems?. Because your town depends upon its environment.
Municipal Planningto protect natural resources
Supported by a grant from the Wellborn Ecology Fund
Because your town depends upon its environment.
Your citizens need clean water, healthy soil, clear air, open lands, abundant wildlife and a pleasing natural environment.
Natural systems provide “green infrastructure” or “environmental services” that are often not recognized because they are “free,” at least until you lose them.
Most drinking water in Vermont is not treated to make it drinkable, because Nature has already done so.
Soil, rain and sunlight provide the basis for our food and wood for building and heat.
Natural resources are valuable to your residents
Natural resources and ecosystems are an economic engine
Natural resources are part of the excellent quality of life in Vermont
Areas that are inundated by surface or ground water often enough that they serve as habitat for plants and animals that need saturated soil at least part of the year, allowing them to grow and reproduce.
Commonly known as ponds, bogs, fens, marshes, wet meadows, shrub swamps, and wooded swamps.
Many valuable and irreplaceable functions that benefit the public:
Surface and ground water quality maintenance
Flood water storage and erosion control
Threatened and endangered species habitat
Open space, recreation and educational opportunities
Fish and wildlife habitat
In Vermont, only 220,000 acres (4% of the land area in the state) have been identified as wetlands on the National Wetlands Inventory Maps.
ANR estimates that an additional 80,000 acres of wetlands exist in Vermont that have yet to be identified.
More than 35% of the original wetlands in Vermont have been lost. Development is now the primary cause of wetland loss.
State NWI maps are being updated and it is much easier now for towns to improve the state maps through local mapping.
Strips of grass, shrubs and trees along the banks of rivers and streams.
The single-most effective protection for our water resources in Vermont.
Regulate stream flow.
Stabilize stream banks and beds.
Filter out sediment and pollution from runoff.
Provide wildlife and aquatic habitat.
Provide recreation and improve aesthetic values.
depend upon healthy, fertile and uncontaminated
soil to grow that food.
depend upon adequate soil,
and wildlife depends upon
the vegetation for food and
stability to the landscape
diverse recreational opportunities
Vermont's forests are valuable ecologically, economically and socially.
Covering 75 % of the state, forests provide:
Our clean air and water are in large part due to the filtering effects of trees above and below ground.
Forests provide food, fuel and fiber.
Forests create soil, cycle nutrients, sequester carbon and filter the air.
Forests provide diverse habitat for plant and animal life.
Forests reduce the effects of drought, floods and severe wind.
and hunting depends upon wildlife.
Contiguous forest habitat supports the biological requirements of many plants and animals;
Large tracts of forest supports viable populations of wide-ranging animals by providing travel corridors for genetic exchange and allowing access to important feeding and reproductive habitat.
Gaps in forests and barriers to wildlife movement created by roads and associated development.
Disrupts natural connections between habitats that are essential for the movement, and ultimately the survival, of many species of large, wide-ranging carnivores such as black bears, bobcats, and fishers.
Can lead to increased predation, invasive species, and vulnerability to natural disturbances.
The smaller the habitat patch, the smaller the number of species that can occupy that habitat.
Even small mammals such as mice and shrews are adverse to crossing roads or paths just a few feet wide.
for their health.
clean air to flourish.
Because Vermont’s planning statute requires and encourages it!
The Town Plan is the tool that:
communities can use to provide background information on the ecological value of wildlife and natural systems.
allows communities to set policies on protection of valued natural resources which form the basis for regulatory standards in bylaws.
includes inventories and maps of natural resources.
Town Plans must address 10 different elements (24 VSA 4382) including at least the following three items:
Town Plans may be consistent with the goals in
24 VSA section 4302.
Molgano decisionAct 250 town plan/zoning tests
JAM Golf LLC decision
E-Notes – http://www.nrb.state.vt.us/lup/publications.htm#enote
Chittenden County Natural Areas Planning Guide, Chittenden County RPC, September 2009.
Conserving Vermont’s Natural Heritage, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, 2004.
Practical Ecology, Dan Perlman & Jeffrey Milder, 2005.
Implementation Manual, http://www.vpic.info/pubs/implementation/
Woodland ,Wildland, Wetland, http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/books.cfm?libbase_=Wetland,Woodland,Wildland
Native Plants - http://www.wildflower.org/collections/collection.php?collection=VT
Bylaws - http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/cwp_zoning.cfm
Natural Resources Contacts
HABITAT Jens Hilke, Conservation Planning Biologist
Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Barre, Vermont, (802) 476-0126 [email protected]
RIPARIAN BUFFERS Mike Kline, Fluvial Geomorphologist, River Management Program
Vermont DEC, Waterbury, Vermont, (802) 241-3774 [email protected]
WETLANDS Rebecca Chalmers, Wetlands Ecologist
Vermont DEC, Barre, Vermont, (802) 476-2678 [email protected]
WILDLIFEForrest Hammond, Wildlife Biologist
Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Springfield, Vermont, (802) 885-8832 [email protected]
Kim Royar, Wildlife Biologist
Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Springfield, Vermont, (802) 885-8831 [email protected]
NATURAL COMMUNITIESEric Sorenson, Ecologist, Non-Game & Natural Heritage Program
Vermont Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Waterbury, Vermont, (802) 241-3714 [email protected]
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (2004)