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Creating a Natural Resources Inventory

A Guide for Communities in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed

cover of the "Creating a Natural Resources Guide.' Includes images of the Hudson River from atop Storm King, a young boy with a small fish on a line, people with maps, and a tracor A natural resources inventory (NRI) compiles and describes important naturally occurring resources such as forests, wetlands, surface and ground waters, and farmland within a given locality (e.g., municipality, watershed, or region). Cultural resources, such as historic sites, scenic vistas, and recreation areas, are often included in an NRI, as well. Information is usually presented in a series of maps and an accompanying report with narrative descriptions, supporting data tables, and recommendations. An NRI is essential for comprehensive land-use planning that proactively considers a community's land and water resources, and provides the foundation for open space planning and protection, zoning updates, conservation overlay districts, critical environmental areas, and other municipal plans and policies.

Creating a Natural Resources Inventory: A Guide for Communities in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed was written to help municipalities pursue an NRI by suggesting an approach, recommending components to include, explaining why they are important, and providing sources of data and assistance. Case studies from the Hudson Valley and strategies for using the NRI in local planning are included. The guide was designed for use by municipal and county officials, (e.g., conservation advisory councils and planning boards), conservation organizations, watershed associations, and interested citizens, and may also be useful to professional planners, consultants, and developers. Limited paper copies are available for municipalities.

The Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper is an interactive mapping application that can be used to view many sources of public habitat and water resource data available for use in an NRI. Please visit the Cornell University Hudson River Estuary and Watershed Research and Extension website and click on link at top right for "Mapper" (link leaves DEC website).

Creating a Natural Resources Inventory: A Guide for Communities in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed (PDF 10.9 MB). This is a large document and may be slow to download. As an alternative, you may download specific sections using the links below.

A two-page Creating a Natural Resources Inventory fact sheet (PDF 378 KB) summarizing the guidebook is also available for download.

Sections for easier downloading: