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Strategic Land Conservation Plan

Protecting as much of our region’s natural open spaces as possible is essential to the health of our waterways and wildlife and to help fight climate change. But how do you prioritize which sites to pursue for conservation, especially with limited resources? For us, our Comprehensive Regional Conservation Implementation Strategy (CRCIS) helps guide those decisions.

We recently performed a landscape-level analysis of every 30m x 30m parcel of land in Chautauqua County, evaluating each against a dozen variables that influence water quality, sustainability, and habitat functionality. Each parcel was then assigned a “composite conservation score” based on this analysis. When converted into color-coded maps, the resulting data readily identifies areas that are in greatest need of protection across the region, and therefore, also shows us where our organizational resources and conservation funding (for both acquisitions and easements) will be most cost-effective. These data-driven conservation priority maps also provide a framework for evaluating the impact of our land and water restoration and management projects.


The CRCIS can also be used as a tool to expand awareness of the importance and timeliness of collaborative regional conservation efforts as well as help align current and future land use needs and wants.


The ultimate goal of this project is to form a road map to recognition and protection of our most valued natural resources, biological diversity, and areas of scenic beauty, which will help to ensure that Chautauqua County residents and visitors enjoy a greener, more beautiful, and more resilient future!

Get more details about this extraordinary project here.

CRCIS map 1.jpg

This map, one of many developed as part of the CRCIS, shows a conservation prioritization of lands across Chautauqua County, with lands in dark orange being the lowest priority, yellow being of moderate priority, and greens and blues being the highest priority.


Some of the factors involved in the ranking included a parcel’s influence on our region’s water quality, habitat functionality, and sustainability.

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