Protecting the Environment: One Byte At a Time                                            Fall 2016
From the Secretary's Desk

Saving the environment and protecting our future prosperity 
one byte at a time.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources promotes the sustainable use of Vermont's natural resources, protects and improves the health of Vermont's peoples and ecosystems, and promotes sustainable outdoor recreation. In order to accomplish these goals we rely on data -- and lots of it!  From scientific surveys of the impact of invasive species, to biological analyses of the health of our wildlife populations, to studies of sediment transported in our rivers and streams, we rely on data to help us develop public policy, deploy agency resources and make regulatory decisions. 
 
We don't just keep this data to ourselves. We believe it is important to make Agency information accessible so that everyone can benefit from it. By looking at our State Parks visitor data, families can find a campground that offers them the experience they are looking for. Our Natural Resources Atlas helps landowners look up drilled well locations; before a developer purchases a parcel of land they can check our data to see whether there are threatened and endangered species, or a known wetland or deer yard on the property that would make it less suitable for development. 
 
This issue of Ripples highlights web-based tools that make the work of ANR's scientists and analysts available through accessible data. One article invites all lovers of wildlife, anglers, and hunters to discover a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) this fall using the WMA locator tool. After a unique low-water and dry summer, another article highlight the emergence of rare plant species---some that are globally rare!---and what that means for the massive natural heritage inventory dataset, and how to access it. We also meet Leslie Pelch, Outreach Coordinator for Vermont Center for Geographic Information, to learn about a big project to update the State's parcel data, which will improve land-based decision-making for many agencies of the state as well as for the private and nonprofit sectors.
 
I hope you take some time to visit our website;  I am sure you will be impressed by the amount of helpful information you find there. I want to particularly recommend you look at our new climate site at   http://climatechange.vermont.gov.   There, you can find information about how Vermont's climate is changing and what you can do about it. This is a perfect example of how information can drive action. 
 
A special thanks to our many ANR staff who work every day to help us make science-based decisions, and who carefully and methodically collect the data that enables us to accomplish our important mission.
Use the Locator Tool to find a Wildlife Management Area

Find Areas with Rare Plants on the Natural Resources Atlas


New and Improved Parcel Data Coming to a Map Near You
Having comparable land parcel data is critical for making decisions about how we use, protect, and manage wildlife, river corridors, forests, and more. 
But right now, parcel data across Vermont towns exist in mismatched formats--or doesn't exist at all digitally--making it extremely difficult to look at project impacts or planning from a multi-town or regional level. 

Learn from Leslie Pelch of the Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI) as she explains a new Statewide Parcel Mapping program that is working on solving this issue and creating a consistent parcel dataset available to towns, the State, and the public.
Other Tools and Data Resources To Know About:

Trail Finder 
One mapping tool that brings together trail data from a multiple trail networks, organizations, and crowd-sourced platforms in Vermont and New Hampshire. Funded by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation and other partners. Open map.
 
Materials Management Map
Doing research on where food scraps are generated most in Vermont?  Need to find a transfer station or composting facility? The Materials Management Map highlights these facilities and more. Open map.

BioFinder
A robust mapping application designed specifically conservation planning Vermont communities. Open map.

Public Combined Sewer Overflow Discharge Notifications
Launched in July 2016, this notification system allows subscribers to receive e-mail or text notifications (or both) within 1-hour of a discharge of stormwater and/or sewage into public waters from a public wastewater collection system. More info.

Flood Ready Atlas
After Tropical Storm Irene, multiple state agencies--including the Agency of Natural Resources--came together to create a data and mapping resource for flood resilience planning. Open map. 

Have feedback on how the Agency makes data and mapping applications available? Drop a note!  E-mail digital mapping gurus Erik Engstrom or Ryan Knox, or call the Agency's Central Office at (802) 828-1294.

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Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
802-828-1294