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Tuesday, May 14 • 2:15pm - 2:45pm
PRESENTATION: Using GIS to identify conservation hotspots: Combining regional data with local values

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AUTHORS: Marcia Moreno-Baez, Strafford Regional Planning Commission; Kyle Pimental, Strafford Regional Planning Commission; John Wallace, Conservation Commission Town of Barrington, NH; Charlie Briggs, Conservation Commission Town of Barrington, NH; Anne Melvin, Conservation Commission Town of Barrington, NH

ABSTRACT: New Hampshire cities and towns are regularly challenged with balancing economic development opportunities with land protection efforts and sustainability goals. Our region in southeastern NH, is a great example where many municipalities take great pride in their sense of place and rely heavily on natural resources for recreation, tourism, and quality of life. One of the tools that provides the basis for local land conservation planning is a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), which identifies existing natural resource and their geographic distribution; however, they do not always support the arguments needed to encourage investment decisions made by governing bodies. In order to overcome these limitations, we integrated a participatory spatial planning process to value our natural resources and conservation priorities. We defined a list of eight natural resources criteria important for conservation and they were weighted based on input from members of the Barrington's conservation commission to generate a hotspot map for conservation values. The analysis was performed for the entire southeastern region using model builder in ArcGIS ESRI 10.5. These hotspots represent the richest and most important ecosystems based on local values. This effort can be replicated in other regions where communities and planners can integrate the local values for conservation and use the spatial query and mapping functions of GIS to analyze the existing situation in the town or city. Hotspots for conservation can help prioritize conservation investment and inform local land use planning efforts to protect ecosystem services and support economic development and conservation efforts.

Tuesday May 14, 2019 2:15pm - 2:45pm EDT