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County Launches New Natural Resources Inventory Website and Environmental Mapper Application

Published: 3/21/2024

Poughkeepsie, NY … The Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development has launched a new Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) website and an accompanying Environmental Mapper application to help guide land-use decisions and natural resource protection. The NRI website, nri.dutchessenvironment.com, represents a significant advancement from the County's previous NRI document, offering residents, municipalities, developers and County staff innovative tools to explore local natural resources and environmental datasets. The County’s new Environmental Mapper can be accessed at gis.dutchessny.gov/nri.

NRIs serve as comprehensive repositories detailing the physical and biological attributes of an area, aiding in the creation and implementation of conservation strategies. With a focus on data and mapping, modern NRIs often incorporate online resource mappers to offer advanced visualization capabilities. The County's new Environmental Mapper exemplifies this technological approach, empowering users to identify conservation priorities and integrate them into local land-use planning initiatives.

The new NRI offers residents, environmental groups and educators the opportunity to:

  • Gain insights into physical and water resources, habitats and biodiversity, and land use patterns that are integrated within their local communities; and
  • Understand the potential impacts of climate and climate change on local natural resources.

Meanwhile, municipalities, developers and County Planning and Development staff can leverage the app to:

  • Serve as a dynamic reference for environmental-related discussions or actions;
  • Assist Conservation Advisory Councils and Boards in advising on environmental policy, delivering education programs, implementing stewardship projects and disseminating information;
  • Inform future planning endeavors, such as open space plans, climate vulnerability studies and action plans and municipal comprehensive plans; and
  • Facilitate individual conservation planning projects.

County Executive Sue Serino said, “Dutchess County boasts an abundance of incredible natural resources which make our community ecologically vital. The valuable collaborations between County departments and our State and community partners have made these two new tools possible. I thank everyone involved in their creation, and I encourage residents to explore these new applications to examine the natural resources that make our environment unique.”

During her State of the County Address on March 14, County Executive Serino discussed the importance of Dutchess County remaining committed to our climate to ensure future generations of local children grow up with clean air and clean water. Later this year, Dutchess County will apply for Silver Certification under New York State’s Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program, a statewide network of communities with common environmental goals, including increased energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Having received its Bronze CSC certification in September 2019, Dutchess has continued to take steps to be certified as a Silver CSC community, including the addition of these two new online resources. Currently, only 10 New York communities, including just four counties, have earned that Silver-level distinction.

The new NRI website and Environmental Mapper application were made possible, in part, by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The content for these products were jointly developed between the County Department of Planning and Development and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, with the County’s Office of Central and Information Services providing development support for both online products. 

Dutchess County Environmental Program Director Devin Rigolino said, “County residents recognize that the abundant environmental resources found in the Hudson Valley are what make Dutchess such a special place to live, work, and visit. These two products – the NRI website, paired with our new Environmental Mapper – will enhance our communities’ comprehension and stewardship of the natural resources that enable Dutchess County to flourish.”

Dutchess County Planning Board Member Edie Greenwood said, “This exciting new application will be a benefit to all of us who care about community planning and environmental conservation. The new mapper allows all users easy access to important datasets relating to our natural world. I commend Dutchess County on completing this innovative project. It allows residents the ability to research what natural resources exist across their communities as well as at the level of individual parcels.”

The Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development is involved in many programs and projects related to understanding and improving our natural environment. Ongoing initiatives include preparing a County operations government greenhouse gas emissions inventory, developing a climate action plan and compiling a comprehensive annual report on the County’s climate actions. Additional information on these and other projects is available at dutchessny.gov/Departments/Planning/environment.htm.