The Hampton Roads green infrastructure plan represents an ongoing effort by the HRPDC to develop a useful planning tool for local and regional planners. The goal is to identify and prioritize a network of valuable conservation lands in order to achieve multiple benefits, such as habitat protection, drinking water supply protection, storm water management and recreational opportunities.
Numerous challenges face the Hampton Roads region in the next several years and decades and a green infrastructure approach could prove to make the planning process more efficient. Localities must tackle new water quality regulatory requirements such as storm water management regulations, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) implementation plans, and Urban Development Area (UDA) requirements.
In this project, the original green infrastructure network (published in 2006) was updated by incorporating more current data into the geographic information systems (GIS) model. There were also several discussions with a diverse group of stakeholders that led to improvements in the green infrastructure plan.
The original green infrastructure network and the newly updated network were compared to ascertain where changes occurred on landscape that caused the green infrastructure to increase or decrease in ecological value.
A new component to the Hampton Roads green infrastructure plan is the Vulnerability to Development model. This model looks at potential future growth data for the Hampton Roads region to try and identify where this growth will occur. The next step was to identify which areas of the green infrastructure network are most at risk for development. The goal of this analysis is the ability to include development pressure as an element in prioritizing lands for protection through conservation easements or purchase when funding is available through grant programs or other sources.