changing land use, especially in so. and coastal ME, was increasing pace of habitat loss; towns were demanding better info; coalition came together to address these issues…
City of Biddeford Protecting Quality of Place Through Conservation November 20, 2008
www.placeeconomics.com Saturday, July 5, 2008 Want to Be Part of Sustainable Development? Go to Biddeford, Maine Biddeford, Maine. Never heard of it? Well, I guess that's not surprising, it's a town of only 22,000, 15 miles south of Portland, Maine. But it is one of the oldest towns in New England, with the first sawmill having been built there over 350 years ago. Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development-consulting firm
Biddeford’s Future Success Depends on its Natural Assets
Despite population size, Biddeford still supports some of the highest biodiversity in York County
Choice’s made in the next 10 years will likely determine future biodiversity
Strategic Open Space protection is key component of future Quality of Place = Biddeford’s future economic advantage
Maine’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (Wildlife Action Plan) Identifies 213 Species of Greatest Conservation Need ( SGCN) . Local habitat conservation efforts informed with Beginning with Habitat are key to implementing state goals Biddeford includes habitat for 70% of SGCN, 17 of 21 key habitat types, and a Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Natural Areas Program Maine Audubon Society Department of Transportation State Planning Office The Nature Conservancy US Fish and Wildlife Service Maine Coast Heritage Trust Funded by Environmental Protection Agency, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Wildlife Restoration Funds, Maine Department of Conservation, Maine Loon Plate Fund, Betterment Foundation, Maine Community Foundation
What is Beginning with Habitat (BwH)? Purpose: To provide the most up-to-date wildlife and plant habitat information available for use in Comprehensive, Open Space and Conservation Planning. BwH is… A landscape based approach to achieve meaningful conservation of all native species on a developing landscape.
… and threaten Maine’s economy and our “way of life.”
Brookings: “All Maine regions are now growing…southern regions remain the state’s fastest-growing areas.” “ York County is now increasing its population by 1.6 percent per year, over 50 percent as fast as the nation.” Maine is Growing Rapidly
Brookings: “In fact, every one of Maine’s 16 counties is now experiencing net gains of people from outside the state.” “ Not surprisingly, York County led the state with a net inflow from other states of over 9,000 residents between 1999 and 2004.” Maine is attracting more people than ever.
Loss of rural acreage second only to Virginia The Way Maine is Growing Threatens our “Quality of Place”
From Maine GAP, 1997 Maine’s richest areas of biodiversity are also the most threatened. … and for our Plants and Wildlife
“ Yet, we are careless with this powerful economic asset today. We let our open spaces get fenced off. We let our downtowns and historic buildings deteriorate. We let our scenic landscapes get cluttered. We let our best and most unique asset lose its special quality. Preserving and enhancing our Quality of Place is a new kind of economic development challenge. We need new economic development tools to respond.”
But, while residential development trends are expected to continue, workforce demographics are projected to change. = greater competition to attract workers The Future Workforce Challenge
Keeping and attracting skilled people are the keys to Maine’s economic future. “ In the new economy, skilled workers, entrepreneurs, tourists, and retirees do not have to locate in Maine, they may go anywhere . Where they choose to work, visit, and live depends on their personal preferences and the appeal of their destination.” Local Open Space Planning is the Critical Starting Point
A Paradigm Shift in Economic Development Theory
Open Space Conservation & Downtown Revitalization go hand in hand
… but Kennebunk stands out! Biddeford includes habitat for 70% of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), 17 of 21 key habitat types, and a Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance
Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance Biddeford is in a great position to leverage state, federal, and private $$$ Biddeford/Kennebunkport Vernal Pool Complex
Well-distributed protected core habitat blocks that harbor rare spp. and provide habitat for common spp.
Interconnected with enhanced riparian buffers and terrestrial corridors
In a well thought out network of green space that is responsive to local recreation needs
The Benefits? Quality of Place, water quality protection, traditional outdoor recreation, rural production, future habitat resiliency
Riparian areas provide habitat for 50-75% of Maine’s vertebrate species . Protecting riparian habitats protects water quality and helps maintain habitat connections across the landscape . Map 1 illustrates the natural hydrologic connections between surface water features
Designate critical natural resources as Critical Resource Areas in the Future Land Use Plan.
Require the planning board to incorporate BwH maps and info into their project review process to better screen for “rare and unique natural features” locations and to inform follow up w/ Regional Biologist
Explore conservation subdivision approaches and overlay districts to minimize future fragmentation of high value habitats
Through an open space plan, prioritize locations for open space and local land acquisition efforts based on concentrations of high value habitats
Inform landowners and promote voluntary protections
MAP 2: High Value Plant & Animal Habitats
Map 2 highlights large undeveloped and un-roaded areas in town. Conservation of large blocks serves as the umbrella approach to conservation. Large blocks contribute to local rural character , support recreational opportunities (hunting, fishing), help maintain natural resource based industry (farming, forestry) and help protect aquifers .