Mapping Future Environmental Corridors to Preserve Natural Resources
Environmental corridors are continuous systems of open space in urban and urbanizing areas. These corridors include environmental sensitive areas, natural resources requiring protection from disturbance and development, and lands needed for open space and recreational use. Environmental corridors were originally delineated in the early 1980s, and they are continually revised, updated, and expanded with each sewer service area amendment to the Dane County Water Quality Plan.
Environmental corridors can provide a framework for a community-wide and areawide open space network which is practical, cost-effective, and capable of addressing regional community goals for preserving natural resources and controlling nonpoint source pollution. CARPC staff work with local units of government to delineate the corridors according to adopted policies and criteria. CARPC’s environmental corridor fact sheet provides a good overview of how environmental corridors are mapped and used.
CARPC staff produced an ArcGIS online map, now available in our Open Data Portal, to assist communities in identifying areas that will likely be required or recommended to be considered as environmental corridors in the future. The two categories of potential future environmental corridors (likely/required and consider/recommended) have been mapped within two miles of existing urban service areas.
The likely-to-be-required future environmental corridors are based mainly on drainage ways and stream channels, 100-year floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, and other resource features (parks, unique vegetation, etc.). The recommended-to-be-considered future environmental corridors include potentially restorable wetlands and the 500-year floodplain.
One of the steps toward better preservation of environmentally sensitive areas is to map them as part of the comprehensive planning and future development area planning in our communities. Used in conjunction with the adopted policies and criteria for environmental corridors, the future potential environmental corridors map is a useful tool for planning future urban development and preserving natural resources in the capital region.