Conservation Principles for Development from the North Carolina Botanical Garden [Revised January 8, 2004]

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is dedicated to conservation in a broad sense: protecting and restoring natural areas and biological diversity, protecting water and air quality, reducing impacts through recycling and reuse of materials, and involving residents in environmental education, outdoor recreation, and stewardship. We, therefore, wish to work with those who seek recommendations for minimal impact development.

Conditions for collaboration with the Garden require that the developer adhere to the twenty-seven principles listed in this document. Developers are, nevertheless, encouraged to incorporate any of the following principles even if collaboration is not sought. Our aim is that these principles guide development to reduce environmental impact, mitigate unavoidable environmental harm, and support a high quality of life for those who live or work in the communities created.

The Garden, as a collaborator, can take one or more of the following roles:

  • Participant: The Garden is included in planning efforts from the beginning and works with the developer to produce plans that will serve a model for the community.
  • Evaluator: The Garden evaluates particular plans that have already been developed and makes recommendations for improving those plans.
  • Advisor: The Garden makes a statement of principles available to all interested parties, but does not participate in or evaluate a specific project.

Principle One: Inventory and Protect Significant Natural Areas

1. Designate natural areas and establish boundaries to protect them; save places outright as part of the design; allow no development on significant natural areas; and include these commitments in neighborhood covenants.

2. Conserve areas needed to support the quality of significant natural areas in surrounding tracts, and conserve corridors needed to connect to natural areas on those tracts.

3. Write management plans for natural areas that ensure minimal impact and retention of snags and downed woody debris for wildlife where these are not hazards to health and property.

Principle Two: Protect Water Quality

4. Protect stream banks, riparian zones, slopes adjacent to creeks, and steep slopes in order to protect water quality.

5. Design for minimal impervious surface and manage storm water such that peak flow to stream does not exceed expected natural levels.

6. Provide for stringent erosion control during construction.

Principle Three: Cluster Development, Natural Areas, and Corridors to Prevent Fragmentation

7. Cluster development to minimize habitat fragmentation; set standards for the ratio of developed to undeveloped land; minimize road widths and total road length within the tract; support designs for walking and public transportation and sense of community.

8. Look for opportunities to connect natural areas with corridors.

Principle Four: Minimize Environmental Impacts

9. Minimize footprint of development impact.

10. Enact strict tree protection measures within development zones.

11. Minimize land disturbance and recontouring.

12. Look for plant rescue opportunities in impacted areas.

13. Minimize construction waste; look for opportunities to recycle.

14. Evaluate all utility corridors and minimize impacts to natural features.

15. Shade or reduce heat collecting surfaces in order to prevent "heat island" effect.

Principle Five: Landscape and Restore Areas to Achieve Highest and Best Use for Conservation

16. Use the "endemic landscape" as the model for development and landscaping.

17. Practice zeroscaping by using the remnant vegetation as the starting point for landscaping, and ecoscaping by adding plants that are appropriate to site and soil conditions. Start with a knowledge of the soil—and if degraded by past use, build a realistic perspective on soil restoration.

18. Devise a sustainable water use policy.

19. Landscape with native plants for native pollinators, birds, and other animal species.

20. Use no invasive exotic plants in horticulture, and organize developers and owners to remove existing invasive plant species.

Principle Six: Continue Environmental Protection and Awareness after Development

21. Maximize plantings to ensure that the carbon stored by plant life surpasses carbon emitted by people and vehicles.

22. Facilitate the "3 Rs": reduce, reuse, recycle.

23. Minimize light pollution to minimize energy use and provide for a dark night sky for wildlife and the enjoyment and education of the residents.

24. Minimize noise pollution during construction and from infrastructure.

25. Minimize harmful chemical use and practice responsible fertilizer and pesticide applications.

26. Design and build nature trails to support the incorporation of nature into our lives, for fresh air, physical activity, curiosity, nature study, and understanding.

27. Fund conservation management and education through endowment and/or annual dues.

Updated on November 29, 2011 at 01:03:28 pm.