The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) today launched a new website, Connecticut Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO) that includes the latest and most accessible online maps and tools for viewing Connecticut’s environmental and natural resource information.
CT News Junkie reports that “as the state wrestles with finding a balance between conservation and development, the Department of Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Land Use Education and Research, launched a web site that makes it easier for individuals or local officials to research whether a specific geographic region may be better for residential development or a berry farm.”
The new CT ECO website, www.cteco.uconn.edu, includes environmental and natural resource information for Connecticut such as protected open space, farmland soils, wetland soils, aquifer protection areas, water quality classifications, and drainage basins. Each can be viewed separately or in conjunction with other environmental and natural resource information. In addition, CT ECO includes several sets of high resolution imagery.
DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, “The convenience of having maps and tools on environmental and natural resource information in one place will support and promote informed land use and development decisions in Connecticut. Local agencies and the general public will find CT ECO easy to use and a valuable tool as they plan their land use options. Governor Rell has set our state on a course for ‘Responsible Growth.’ This new website provides the information people need to accomplish this goal.”
CT ECO was one of several initiatives undertaken following Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Executive Order No. 15, which set the state on a path toward “Responsible Growth,” and action on this issue in the 2007 session of the General Assembly. These initiatives have been overseen by an Office of Responsible Growth, formed under the Intergovernmental Policy Division of the Office of Policy and Management, and an Interagency Steering Council that consists of representatives of key state agencies.
CT ECO uses advanced software that combines internet and geographic information system (GIS) technology. A previous collaboration between UConn and DEP, the Community Resource Inventory, provides basic natural resource maps for every town in the state to users online. CT ECO builds upon this approach, providing many additional data layers and offering multiple and flexible ways to access maps and data.
“Our mission at CLEAR is to provide an integrated package of land use research, tools and outreach for local land use decision makers,” says Dr. Gregory Weidemann, Dean of UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “We’re very pleased to launch this new resource as a collaborative effort with DEP.”
“The Natural Resources Conservation Service is always looking for additional ways for the public to use our soils information. CT ECO has allowed us to take complex soils data and put it into a format that’s easy to use and understand,” said Douglas Zehner, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service. “I’m sure it will result in better land use decisions.”
CT ECO Includes:
- Map catalog: Individual town maps in “portable document file” (PDF) format for major resource layers including soils, wetland soils, protected open space, aquifer protection areas and more. These files can be downloaded and printed from a user’s printer or plotter.
- Easy-to-use interactive map viewer: Allows a user to view map themes including soils, wetland soils, protected open space, and aquifer protection areas overlaid on various dates of aerial photography.
- Advanced Map Viewer with additional GIS layers and tools: Unlike the basic viewer, the advanced viewer allows a user to display and interact with multiple layers at once.
- Map Services: Allow users of desktop geographic information system (GIS) software to connect directly to the environmental and natural resource map data from CT ECO. This allows a user to overlay CT ECO data with their own geospatial data inside a desktop GIS.
- Online reference documents with comprehensive explanations of the natural resource and environmental information.
- Natural resource and environmental information acquired and maintained by the following agencies: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, NOAA Coastal Services Center, UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research, UConn College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA Aerial Photography Field Office, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U. S. Geological Survey.