A natural resources inventory provides a deeper understanding of community resources and a foundation for planning future protection of key resources. Using the results of the NRI requires evaluating the community’s long-term goals and how they relate to natural resources. This view on the future can help preserve the community character and quality of life and ensure that residents continue to benefit from ecosystem services such as clean water. The NRI is the basic building block for developing conservation plans.
After completion of the NRI, the next step to to develop an action-based strategy for regular review of inventory data, incorporating updated information and revising inventory maps as appropriate, adding in additional goals as future community needs become apparent, and ensuring that the inventory becomes an integral part of community planning. For an NRI to be effective over the long term, the results should continually be in active use. This means that the NRI should be a living document, updated on a continual basis as new data and information becomes available.
As major inventory goals are accomplished, planning boards, conservation commissions, and other town officials as appropriate, should consider a range of activities designed to protect sensitive environmental areas from incompatible uses. Where natural resources extend beyond town boundaries, opportunities exist for collaboration among adjacent communities.
Below are some suggested ways to make use of the NRI results: