Natural Resources

Greene County is a rural county, blessed with an abundance of natural resources and a great diversity of habitat. To promote economic growth and achieve other community goals while protecting the county’s natural resources it is important to have balanced decision-making that takes the natural environment into consideration. Land-use planning must acknowledge the use limits of our renewable and non-renewable natural resources.

The county finds it is imperative that the concepts of smart growth, with emphasis on protecting environmentally sensitive property, preserving open space and maintaining community and historic character are at the forefront of any planning and development effort. Water protection and management, biodiversity conservation, and the future sustainability of industries like agriculture, tourism, fisheries, and forestry are important aspects to consider in land-use planning.

Greene County has been successful in achieving what some refer to as “the delicate balance,” fostering the right kind of economic development while preserving the county’s unique quality of life and sense of place through model land use regulations and sound development principles. The County seeks to preserve and enhance the physical and environmental characteristics that make Greene County a distinct and identifiable place while providing for the needs of existing and prospective residents. Development is directed primarily to existing village centers and major transportation corridors, allowing economic growth to occur without sacrificing Greene County’s natural beauty and rural/small-town character.

Greene County Natural Resource Inventory

A Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) is an important planning land-use planning tool that accounts for a community’s natural resources and provides the foundation for comprehensive planning, zoning updates, conservation overlay districts, critical environmental areas, open space planning and protection, and other municipal plans and policies.

An NRI compiles and describes important naturally occurring resources such as mineral, water, biological, agricultural recreational and scenic resources

An NRI for Greene County was prepared by Greene Land Trust with assistance from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia-Greene Counties and Hudsonia Ltd. with grant funding from the Land Trust Alliance and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The NRI identifies important resources located within Greene County with supporting maps and tables that describe the County’s mineral, water, biological, and recreation resources. The NRI is designed to be used by county and municipal agencies and others involved with land planning, management, policy-making, and resource use and conservation.