CRP 689 Workshop, Fall 2007
As a land trust with a large service area, GLT is looking to focus its conservation efforts on the land and landscapes that best match its mission and have the highest resource value. The charge of this workshop was to draft a strategic conservation plan for the land trust to help focus its land protection efforts. The students provided GLT with a wide range of tools to reach its conservation goals. One example was the application of suitability models.
A suitability analysis uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) or computer mapping program to build a model that weights locations relative to each other based on given criteria. In early November, students presented two GIS models for GLT review. One model weighted all criteria equally and the other model used GLT's own preferences.
Students led board members through an Analytic Hierarchy Process -- one in which a statistical tool helps stakeholders assign weights over multiple criteria -- to help gain a clearer understanding of GLT priorities. Based on the feedback from the client, the students refined the models and tested them on a series of parcels selected by GLT. The final models will help GLT focus their limited resources, reflect on their priorities, and conserve the important landscapes of their region. The students learned valuable lessons in the application of the latest analytical tools with a real-world client, and they produced appropriate solutions to key planning challenges.
The final results were presented on December 8 to the GLT board and members of the Cornell community. GLT received an 80-page full-color report, a 30-page technical appendix, powerpoint slides, four overlay maps, and two posters and CDs with the GIS map layers created for this workshop. This project is 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. About the Genesee Land Trust
The client for the fall 2007 workshop was the Genesee Land Trust (GLT), a private, not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1989. The formation of the Land Trust was initiated by a small group of area residents who were concerned about the quality of the environment in the Genesee region. Mission
The mission of GLT is to preserve and protect land within the Greater Rochester area, including waterways, wetlands, farmland, open space, fish and wildlife habitat, and scenic or recreational areas. GLT is also active in urban lands conservation and engaged in urban trails projects within the City of Rochester. The Trust pursues its mission by acquiring property or development rights and by assisting government agencies, individuals, and private groups with their own land protection efforts.
To date, GLT has achieved the following:
- Protected 466 acres using conservation easements
- Conserved over 800 acres with full-fee acquisition
- Protected over 1,000 acres in partnership with local municipalities
The service area of GLT covers 1.3 million acres and includes Monroe County, Wayne County, and parts of Orleans, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, and Cayuga Counties. For the purposes of the workshop course, Monroe and Wayne Counties were examined in greater detail.
The Genesee Land Trust Conservation Plan
Contacts for More Information
Ole M. Amundsen III, Visiting Lecturer
Department of City and Regional Planning
Ithaca, NY 14853
Gay Mills, Executive Director
Genesee Land Trust
500 East Ave.,
Rochester, NY 14607