CRP 689.09 (formerly CRP 558) is a client-based workshop course that takes Cornell graduate students into the field to perform real-world planning projects. This interdisciplinary workshop course seeks to train the next generation of professionals in the theoretical frameworks, methods, and techniques for undertaking regional land conservation planning efforts. This workshop, in addition to others offered by the Department, has helped government agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as land trusts, overcome a variety of planning challenges.
Over the Fall semester of 2007, 9 graduate students created a Strategic Conservation Plan for the Genesee Land Trust (GLT), based in Rochester, NY. The plan features a series of natural resource inventories as well as a scenic viewshed analysis of the 1.3 million acre territory covered by GLT. Regional land use history and demographic trends are explored using US census data and changes in land cover. To help land trust decision makers, two GIS suitability models were created, one using equal weights and one using GLT preferences derived from an exercise using the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Three focus areas were created for the urban region of greater Rochester. In addition, the Cornell team highlighted the Arcadia focus area in Wayne County due to its high quality farmland, connectivity with protected lands and scenic resources. Finally, the Cornell Team recommended land use planning tools, methods to measure the success of the plan and fundraising strategies to help GLT make their conservation vision a reality. This project was funded in part by a grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, administered by the Land Trust Alliance Northeast Program with support from the State of New York.
Over the Fall semester of 2005, 12 graduate students undertook the task of creating a Strategic Land Protection Plan for the Southern Madison Heritage Trust (SMHT), a land trust based in Hamilton, NY. The Strategic Land Protection Plan is a bold vision. The plan is based on demographic research and inventories of both natural and scenic resources. Using these inventories, suitability models in GIS were created to display various land protection scenarios. Taking advantage of the New York State Canal Corporation's proposal for an Empire State Greenway building on the historic Erie Canal network, the students crafted a proposed greenway for recreational uses, natural resource functions and growth management. As the Chenango Canal is an integral part of the proposed greenway, the long term protection of this corridor is major concern for SMHT. Within the proposed greenway, the students modeled a greenbelt surrounding the four major municipalities that is designed to allow growth while protecting the gateways to the villages, surrounding farmland and biodiversity of the region. The conservation of the proposed 16,000 acre greenbelt can be achieved through the use of regulatory tools, transfer of lands from key partners to SMHT, improved land management by private landowners as well as the exercise of real estate tools used by SMHT such as securing easements through outright purchase or donation from willing landowners.
Over the Fall semester of 2006, 13 graduate students undertook the task of creating a Strategic Conservation Plan for Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust (THTLT), based in Watertown, NY. The plan features a series of natural resource inventories as well as a scenic viewshed analysis of the 1.3 million acre Tug Hill plateau. Regional land use history and demographic trends are explored. Using the resource inventories a vision conservation infrastructure was created for featuring recreational corridors, river corridors and wildlife areas. To help land trust decision makers in selecting solid conservation projects, a GIS suitability model was created based the land trust's own land protection criteria. Focus areas or high priority areas for pro-active conservation were outlined and tested using the suitability model. Finally, the Cornell team identified several tools for implementation based on the condition of four separate regions of Tug Hill.
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