Connecting People and Conservation Partners
Kary Garcia-Robledo and Paul Barten worked with Paul Catanzaro (UMass Forestry Extension Specialist and Project Leader) to develop two GIS components for the multiple resource assessment that he developed to help citizens and members of town boards and commissions (e.g., Planning and Zoning, Conservation, Inland Wetlands, etc.) to systematically identify forest conservation opportunities and prospective partners for funding and technical assistance (e.g., land trusts, environmental NGOs, state and federal agencies, etc.). The Trustees of Reservations Highland Communities Initiative and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Nature Conservancy are key project partners.
The first GIS component (developed with the WFMIS) was a Conservation Priority Index (CPI) integrated with the local tax map to identify and rank the private forest parcels with the largest relative [positive] influence on streamflow, water quality, and aquatic ecosystems. The second map identified the forested parcels that help to protect community water supply systems (river intakes or reservoirs and their associated watersheds) and/or municipal wells and their associated wellhead protection areas. The first phase included the towns of Ashfield, Chesterfield, Conway, Goshen, and Williamsburg, Massachusetts (west and northwest of Northampton). A second phase will include more towns in the Westfield River watershed then parts of the Housatonic River watershed – a recently designated national heritage corridor.