SCI Profile

Jamey Fidel, Forest Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council, works with landowners, farmers, and foresters to reduce habitat fragmentation.


SCI Case Studies

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondacks Program identified best practices and case studies for implementing conservation design ordinances.


Articles and Reports

Forest Fragmentation Action Plan (Vermont)

Phase II: Subdivision Trends Report (Vermont)



Land Use Planning for Connectivity in Vermont

Land Use Planning

Supporting local action for conservation

Local planning commissions and Select Boards are charged with planning their Towns future, while respecting the values and meeting the needs of today’s residents.  Gathering all the information needed to consider natural resource conservation and other issues in town plans, zoning, and land use policies, is a herculean task, which often falls on the shoulders of elected officials and volunteers serving on municipal boards.

By providing technical assistance directly to municipalities and regional planning commissions, the SCI partnership has so far helped to secure meaningful improvements in the land use plans and/or policies of nearly 20 communities and 3 regional planning commissions.

Land Use Planning Success Stories

local voting jens hilke F&W
© Jens Hilke
  • SCI partners have promoted targeted outreach activities, including meetings with municipal boards, public forums, and individual stakeholder meetings in at least 41 communities.
  • Through this work, we have provided technical assistance on connectivity and municipal planning to six of the 11 regional planning commissions (RPCs) in Vermont, and one regional commission in New York. Those RPCs have, in turn, efficiently extended SCI’s reach by providing technical assistance to at least 88 municipalities with linkage areas.
  • With out SCI partners, we hosted a landscape connectivity workshop to share tools, best practices and lessons learned and to plan for the ongoing conservation and management of wildlife linkage habitats.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondacks Program identified best practices and case studies for implementing conservation design ordinances across for residential development, to help communities and planning boards adopt and implement land use practices that protect wildlife connectivity.
Land for Sale 2-Northern Greens
© Conrad Reining

In addition, SCI’s work with towns and regional planning commissions has led to local changes that promote and protect landscape connectivity:

  • One town has created a new Conservation Fund.
  • Within the SCI region, 13 towns have added connectivity provisions to their town plans, and more towns are considering them.
  • In Vermont, one RPC has incorporated connectivity provisions into its regional plan (which covers 19 linkage-area towns and eight others outside the linkage boundary). Three additional RPCs are now working on similar provisions.
  • Six towns have revised their zoning and subdivision bylaws/regulations to address habitat and connectivity priorities.
  • Two towns have established new Conservation Commissions.