Tuesday, March 24, 2009

$575,000 for land preservation

At today’s County Commissioners’ Planning Session, James Cowhey, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Planning Commission, discussed a land preservation resolution to be adopted at tomorrow’s public meeting. Under the pending resolution, $525,000 would be granted to the Lancaster County Conservancy “through the 2009 Natural Lands Preservation Fund to acquire and preserve … natural areas” in Lancaster County. The list of lands to acquire is topped by the New Holland Watershed tract, according to Cowhey.

Carrying over land preservation funding from 2008, this resolution represents an effort to put the County’s new Greenscapes Plan into action before officially lining up funding for the plan. One of Greenscapes’ core values is the preservation of “Green Infrastructure,” the network of nearby ecosystems that both tangibly and intangibly contribute to quality of life in Lancaster County. Tomorrow’s resolution would serve to preserve a few tracts of such Green Infrastructure.

Although a step toward preservation, the resolution was considered meager by some. John May, a Manor Township Supervisor and a member of the Lancaster County Conservancy Land Preservation Committee, addressed the Commissioners, expressing his concern that as much funding as reasonably possible be allocated toward the protection of natural spaces: “If there was ever an issue that you wouldn’t get an argument on from County residents, it would be land preservation….I know that you would need a fine pencil to do this, but I’m here to ask if you could a little better than $525,000.”