The second half of the natural resources chapter of the town’s new comprehensive plan is now available for public comment, and it touches upon a question of global significance.
Possibly the most dramatic of the topics covered is climate change. According to the draft, the New York State Energy Research Development Association (NYSERDA) predicts sea level on Long Island will rise by two to five inches by the 2020s, and may rise by as much as five to 10 inches, due to the accelerated melting of Arctic ice.
“Home design and erosion control structures located within these areas will need to be re-engineered to adapt to more frequent flooding events,” according to the chapter.
The draft calls for the town to put together a “coastal resilience plan,” reassessing the use of traditional shoreline hardening structures and helping to preserve wetlands.
The document, which covers the town’s land resources, builds on a section released earlier this year that focused on the town’s water resources.
In the draft, which is available on the town’s website and at local libraries, town planners provide an overview of the geology, habitats and species that comprise Southold’s ecosystem. The focus is on ways to combat invasive species and climate change and how best to handle energy, waste management and air quality issues.
The chapter also includes numerous goals aimed at conserving energy in town buildings and for town vehicles, and for developing relationships with alternative energy companies that might wish to pursue large-scale projects in Southold. It also includes detailed descriptions of how best to mitigate the impact of those projects on the town’s other natural resources.
The plan also calls for protecting lands containing prime agricultural soils, protecting and managing the ecosystems of publicly owned lands and protecting historic trees.
It also calls for the town to protect native plant and animal species, while controlling invasive and nuisance species.
The full text of the chapter is available at http://www.southoldtownny.gov/index.aspx?NID=124.
Two public input sessions on the draft chapter will be held next week at the Peconic Community Center on Peconic Lane in Peconic.
The first starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The second meeting is set for March 21 at 6 p.m.