Protecting the Farmington Valley's Natural Resource Legacy
Background: The Farmington River Watershed Association
launched The Farmington Valley Biodiversity
Project (FVBP) in 2001-2002 with partners in 7 towns (Avon,
Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Simsbury, and Suffield)
and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Metropolitan
Conservation Alliance. In so doing, FRWA tripled the biological
data on natural resources available to local decision-makers
and documented in the State’s Natural Diversity Database.
To date, information from this project has been (or is in
the process of being) incorporated into 6 Plans of Conservation
and Development. The official report and data from this project
were officially released in February of 2007.
At the same time that the Biodiversity Project towns have
acquired additional abilities to conduct natural resource
planning, the pace of development (primarily residential)
continues to overwhelm any meaningful conservation benefits
on the ground. At the root of this problem are several issues:
- inconsistent land-use regulations from town-to-town that
are not always focused on long-term resource conservation
(often more focused on mitigating rather than avoiding problems);
- inadequate appreciation for resource problems such as
stormwater pollution/impervious surfaces, erosion/sedimentation,
- imbalance between project proponents who hire environmental
consultants and lawyers and volunteer land-use commissions/municipalities
who often lack access to expertise and/or are intimidated
by the prospects of litigation; and,
- lack of resources at the municipal level to both analyze
development proposals thoroughly and enforce permit requirements
at construction sites after projects are approved.
With leading support from the Gackstatter Foundation, FRWA
is working with local towns, regional organizations and other
non-profit organizations to implement land use changes that
will protect the Farmington Valley’s unique and important
Resources for Protecting
The Planning to Action report below contains
the detailed explanations for an authoritative set of recommendations
for protecting biodiversity. The Action Points web
page contains a downloadable/formatted summary
of Planning to Action report as well as detailed links and
resources for each action.
Planning to Action: Biodiversity Conservation In Connecticut
"To counteract sprawl development and protect
biodiversity, local land use decision-makers need
three items: the scientific information to identify
problems, the technical solutions to those problems,
and the legal authority to implement those solutions.
This resource provides guidance on all three. The
twelve primary challenges facing land use decision-makers
identified in this publication arose out of the authors'
collective experience working with municipal officials,
and is a practical guide to making ecologically- and
legally-informed development decisions."
Points: From Planning to Action
Contains a short document summarizing
the actions that FRWA recommends for implementation
of biodiversity conservation. The web page also contains
links to examples and explanations for each action point.
FRWA web page
Power Point presentation
This presentation outlines the Action Points document
and demonstrates several key implementation issues.
Microsoft Power Point (~10mb)
Links to organizations and resources focused on land
use and conservation issues.
FRWA web page