May 25, 2006

County presents on Natural Features Focus Areas

On Tuesday night, the Tompkins County Planning Department gave a presentation on their Natural Features Focus Areas project at the McLean Fire Hall. I'd guess thirty people were there.

The session examined eight of the fifteen focus areas, mostly wetlands in the northeast of the county. All of the areas in Dryden, except for The Forest Lands in the southeast of town, were included:

Visitors signed in and staffers asked them which areas they were interested in. The Fens, Fall Creek, and Owasco Inlet were the subjects of most interest by far, not too surprisingly given the meeting's being in McLean. Planner Kate Hackett then gave a presentation summarizing the Planning Department's approach and the eight areas (those above plus Salmon Creek in Lansing) under discussion at the meeting.

Kate Hackett presents the Natural Features Focus Areas
County Senior Planner Kate Hackett presents the Natural Features Focus Areas.

The Planning Department is interested in nine benefits natural areas provide:

After the presentation, there was a break for food and for exploring the many displays groups had set up, including the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District, Finger Lakes Land Trust, the Cayuga Trails Club, and Cooperative Extension.

Browsing Exhibits
Browsing exhibits.

After the break we re-grouped in smaller discussions around particular focus areas. I went to the one on Fall Creek (since I live across the street from the area). Concerns seemed to focus on flooding and debris issues, contamination of well and surface area from manure and septic systems, questions about municipal maintenance of natural streams and artificial ditches, and various natural invaders, from beavers returning to their natural habitat to deer and geese populations climbing to invasive plants.

Talking after the sessions
Talking after the small groups.

The county seemed very interested in collecting information and ideas, not just telling us what their plans were, and people seemed to have a lot to share. They said they'd be posting meeting notes eventually as well.

(Town Board member Mary Ann Sumner visited an earlier session like this and posted her thoughts.)

Posted by simon at May 25, 2006 6:48 AM in , , ,
Note on photos