Making Conservation Elements Work for Your Community

Protecting natural resources can greatly benefit your community, making it a place where people want to live, work and play. This in turn fuels the community's economic development potential, attracts new industries and their employees, and drives ecotourism. The following information is provided to help local governments in identifying their valuable natural resources through the conservation element in their local comprehensive plan.

Natural Resource Areas and the Comprehensive Plan

The conservation element protects natural resources in the area, including air, water, water recharge areas, wetlands, waterwells, estuarine marshes, soils, beaches, shores, flood plains, rivers, bays, lakes, harbors, forests, fisheries and wildlife, marine habitat, minerals, and other natural and environmental resources, including factors that affect energy conservation. Local natural resources should be identified and analyzed along with existing recreational or conservation uses. This can also present an opportunity to assess the economic development potential of such areas in efforts to expand the ecotourism potential. The quality of unique features, such as springs, rivers lakes, bays and estuarine marshes can be assessed. Also, the potential need for conservation or protection from known pollution problems, including possible hazardous wastes issues, should be identified to preserve the recreational and other natural resources.

Conservation Element Resources

To be effective, a conservation element should contain principles, guidelines, and standards for conservation of these important natural resources. For additional resources related to specific items that should be addressed in the conservation element, please see the listed websites below:

  1. Water Supply and Wetlands
  2. Minerals, soils, and native vegetative communities, including forests
  3. Fisheries, wildlife, wildlife habitat, and marine habitat
  4. Hazardous waste
  5. Air Quality

Sample Conservation Elements

The sample conservation elements are intended to assist local governments in developing their conservation elements by showing how other local governments have approached the issues in Section 163.3177(6)(d), Florida Statutes. Each local government should develop its own specific goals, objectives and policies for the conservation element based on its own unique circumstances.

Additional Contacts Related to Conservation Elements

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