Long before the word green was rampant in the vernacular, the Trust for Public Lands initiated a process called Greenprint for Growth. That was about a decade ago when geographic computer modeling was becoming more versatile and more widespread.
The tool incorporates all the data available from a given area, topography, biology, population distribution, hydrology and much more and then combines all the information to create a comprehensive map or model. The model then incorporates what the community values the most in terms of conservation and that data is plugged in. Now press the button, and you can see specific areas that have the most value and the greatest need for conserving. Perhaps they should have called it “conservationprinting.”
Greenprint for Growth was ushered into our area under the leadership of Envision Central Texas and with the management experience of TPL. For an excellent explanation of greenprint check out this link. For an example of a greenprint document with samples of maps, check out the Vision North Texas results report.
Hays County has just finished the modeling stage and is about to enter the implementation stage. Members of the SMGA board of directors were invited to participate in the process up to this point and will be watching closely to see how the tool is used and maintained in the coming years. It has tremendous potential for informing our growth patterns; moving us away from reactive, patchwork conservation efforts toward a strategic program incorporating our values as a community and the most valuable natural areas.
Vaughn Thayer, Todd Derkacz and former SMGA president Chris North serve on the newly reformed Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Board. Thus far the work of the group has been to evaluate proposals that come before the board. Having come through the Greenprint process and the Habitat Conservation Planning, we now have what we need to seek out natural areas that offer the most return for our investment.
Land owners decide what happens with their property. But knowing what land will serve community interests best will lead us to those owners to begin discussions as to how we can agree to conserve their places for all time.