Mapping Regional Development for Smart Growth Planning to Minimize Degradation of Water Quality and Enhance Green Infrastructure

EPA Grant Number: R833345
Title: Mapping Regional Development for Smart Growth Planning to Minimize Degradation of Water Quality and Enhance Green Infrastructure
Investigators: Katnik, Donald , Walker, Steve
Current Investigators: Katnik, Donald , Hertz, Elizabeth , Walker, Steve
Institution: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2011
Project Amount: $249,919
RFA: Collaborative Science And Technology Network For Sustainability (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability


Unplanned development threatens water quality and other environmental goods by degrading ecosystems.  State agencies and towns evaluate permits for negative effects on water quality, but this case-by-case approach does not address cumulative impacts of urban sprawl.  Beginning with Habitat, a collaborative public-private partnership, was initiated by the state of Maine to provide local planners with maps and information on riparian habitats, water resources, high value plant and animal habitats, and undeveloped blocks to guide smart growth and enhance green infrastructure.  Tracking development is critical for Beginning with Habitat.  Local planners and land trusts lack the regional, long-term perspective that a map of cumulative development could provide.  Further, this information could be used to assess whether communities have used Beginning with Habitat information to successfully guide growth away from important habitats and to protect water resources.  This objective of this project is to use geospatial data to map development and provide that information to towns and land trusts to assist with smart-growth planning.


Maine has impervious surface data derived from 2004 satellite imagery that we will combine with road centerlines, utility connections, and buildings digitized from high-resolution orthoimagery to create a baseline map of development for 2004. The second phase will use change-detection analysis to identify areas of residential or commercial growth between 2004 and 2008. New impervious surface data will be acquired for those high-growth areas and supplemented by field visits, new utility connections, and new road locations to map development for 2008. The development maps and accompanying information on urban sprawl and smart-growth planning will be provided to towns and land trusts through Beginning with Habitat.

Expected Results:

The primary results of this work will be a 2004 baseline map of development and a 2008 map of new development, which will be incorporated into the Beginning with Habitat information package and distributed to local planners and land trusts.  Short-term success will be measured by use of the development data in town comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances.  Long-term success will be measured by less development and more conservation acquisitions in areas that have the most impact on important habitats and water resources.  These outcomes will meet Beginning with Habitat’s goal of conserving Maine’s existing natural resources and open spaces and the stated objectives of this project by protecting water quality and enhancing green infrastructure.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

animal, aquatic, community-based, decision making, ecological effects, ecology, environmental assets, indicators, integrated assessment, landsat, ME, modeling, monitoring, northeast, public good, sensitive populations, scaling, sustainable development, terrestrial, watersheds,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, green design, sustainable water use, environmental sustainability, ecological design, community based, alternative infrastructure design, energy efficiency, sustainable urban environment, environmental education

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007 Progress Report
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • Final Report