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Topic 4: Environmental and Natural Resources and Conservation

Scenario 4-1:

The Town Council appoints you to a committee that is tasked with developing an action plan that will improve the environmental sustainability of the community. What would be your top three recommendations for ways that the local government, businesses and residents in Shepherdstown could be more sustainable in their activities and reduce environmental impacts? What actions would need to be taken to achieve those sustainability goals, and what types of resources would be needed? Who would be responsible for carrying them out? Would you focus on mandatory measures, such as regulatory ordinances, to achieve these goals, or would you incentivize sustainable behavior and actions by creating the conditions that make sustainable activity easier to achieve?

Scenario 4-2:

You are a developer who has acquired a large tract of land just outside of Town. The land is located near the river, and is currently being used for farming, but also contains a large section of wooded area, as well as streams and wetlands. You want to develop the property in a way that is environmentally friendly, but you also need to realize a profit from your development. You decide that you will prepare a sustainable growth plan for the site that will be aimed at preserving the most important environmental features on the property. What would be the primary elements of the plan? How would you integrate your development into the natural landscape to reduce potential impacts on the environment? Who would you reach out to for assistance in preparing your plan? Are there any examples of an environmentally sustainable development in the local area, or elsewhere, that you would try and emulate for your project?

Scenario 4-3:

You are starting an organization whose goal is to promote the preservation of an important environmental / natural resource in the area that no other group is currently advocating for at the local level. This could include farmland, open space, a greenbelt around Shepherdstown, the Potomac River, a scenic vista, heritage trees or similar features in the local environment. What would you choose to advocate for, and how would you go about promoting the preservation of the resource that your group chooses? Who would you look to partner with? Where would you get funding to achieve your goals, and what could or should the Town’s involvement be?

Scenario 4-4:

You serve on the board of a conservation organization whose mission is to acquire land for open space, as well as promote the preservation of active farming in the Shepherdstown area through the acquisition of conservation easements. You are leading a committee of the board that is tasked with developing a strategic land acquisition program, and are meeting with the group to brainstorm about which properties you should target for preservation. Using the map provided, identify those tracts of land that you feel would be most important to preserve from potential development. Assuming that funds were not limited and property owners were willing to either sell or donate their property or grant conservation easements if asked, what criteria would you use to identify the properties that would be most beneficial to preserve? What impacts would the conservation of these properties have on the environment? How would the preservation of these properties affect growth patterns in the area?