Introduction to BwH Example Tools
Beginning with Habitat (BwH) has compiled examples of tools that are being used by towns throughout Maine to achieve their habitat conservation goals and to implement their comprehensive and open space plans. These examples offer perspective into how other towns are addressing their habitat needs and they provide possible approaches for your town to consider and implement when addressing habitat-related goals.
In most cases, implementing efforts to better protect terrestrial habitat from incremental fragmentation is the key piece missing from local zoning efforts that attempt to address conservation. This issue is addressed in the BwH Toolbox in examples of a habitat overlay district approach and an example conservation subdivision ordinance. If a town is successful in its implementation of shoreland zoning guidelines, it can also provide protections for some locally important riparian habitat areas. Additionally, wetland standards can be strengthened locally by revising ordinance definitions of "wetland" to include all wetlands as defined by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the US Army Corps of Engineers, and by requiring that net residential densities on any given parcel be calculated by first subtracting wetland acreage. Similarly, most standard subdivision ordinances have review criteria that pertain to rare and unusual natural features. Such criteria should be reviewed carefully to make sure they take into consideration rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal occurrences, rare and exemplary natural communities, and habitat as specifically as possible to provide useful direction for project applicants. BwH data can help in identifying the types of resources project applicants should be looking for within proposed development areas that should be considered under a "rare and unusual natural features" or similar standard. A variety of tools have been included within this toolbox including sample language used by communities to address each of the issues listed above as well as others.
The examples complied here are organized into general categories including land use ordinance tools, wetland and shoreland zoning tools, and performance standards. Click the links at the top of this page to find more information and a list of tools in each category.
Some of the tools listed in this site have regulatory implications while others do not and not every tool will be suitable for use in your town or it may need to be adjusted on a town by town situation. BwH staff are available to assist you with selecting and developing tools that will address the unique needs and opportunities of your town. In addition, we strive to provide the best and most current examples of tools that are being used throughout the state to implement habitat-related goals and will continually be updating and adding to the list of examples provided here. We are interested in hearing your feedback as to the usefulness of these tools. Please also forward any additional examples that you feel should be included on this site.