When applicants approach the Ancram Planning Board with a project, Clerk Colleen Lutz prepares the Board with maps that show the site’s topography, soils, wetlands and other natural features. The maps help identify important natural resources such as wetlands and prime agricultural soils, and show the parcel in relation to the land around it. This information helps the municipality ask the right questions and make informed conservation and land use decisions early in the review process, which is also more efficient and cost-effective for the applicant. CONTINUE READING
CLC is training municipal volunteers to utilize computer-generated maps in their planning and land use decisions. Last spring, more than three dozen volunteers selected by their town boards took part in trainings using simplified versions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. They also received a data disk with extensive mapping of Columbia County’s infrastructure and natural resources which can now be used by those towns.
This training program, funded by the Hudson River Greenway, will be expanded in its second year with help from a Hudson River Estuary Program “mini-grant.” The additional funding allows CLC to partner again with Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension’s GIS Resource Educator to offer the training. It also allows CLC to add a new workshop component: Nan Stolzenburg and Don Meltz of Community Planning and Environmental Associates will offer two workshops on the new Environmental Assessment Forms issued by NYSDEC that become mandatory for SEQR reviews on April 1, 2013. These workshops will also include information on GIS-based information resources to help in completing the forms. CONTINUE READING
Working with the Columbia County Environmental Management Council and with the endorsement of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, CLC recently obtained funding for the county to train municipalities to utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a computer-aided mapping technology. With this technology, municipalities have the information and infrastructure to make strategic conservation and land use decisions.
The program provides GIS software, data, and training to volunteers selected by their municipalities. So far, Neil Curri, GIS Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC) has trained 29 volunteers from 13 towns to use the software. A second round of training for additional volunteers will be scheduled later this year. CLC is coordinating the program. CONTINUE READING