• Co-Chair:
    • Kevin Coyle
    • Herb Inden
  • Meeting Dates & Agendas
  • Meeting Notes
  • Accomplishment
Key Terms


"Land that is saurated with water long enough to promote wetland or aquatic processes as indicated by poorly drained soils, hydrophytic (water-loving) vegetation, and various kinds of biological activity adapted to wet environments."
(National Wetlands Working Group, 1988)


The Land Use Planning Initiative will seek to guide residential, commercial, industrial and infrastructure development in a manner that will minimize impacts to biological diversity.


  • Achieve clear and agreed upon consistency between state and local land use and environmental plans and policies that will conserve biodiversity in both growth and non-growth areas and further, when possible, direct growth away from environmentally sensitive areas to designated growth and infill areas.
  • By July 1, 2001, provide best available information and data (including maps), as well as technical assistance to land use decision makers so they can update County Comprehensive lands in order to minimize habitat loss and fragmentation and protect critical areas and resources for biodiversity.
  • Coordinate the Biodiversity Land Use Planning Initiative with the “Livable Delaware” agenda and advance the implementation of both efforts.

Priority Actions:

Many of the most important opportunities to conserve biological diversity involve the use of land. How habitat is lost, fragmented, degraded, or alternatively, how land is protected, is affected by the planning tools available and how they are used. Planning is critical because development decisions that affect habitat are largely irreversible. Once habitat is lost to development it becomes extremely difficult to restore.

Presently, we have a significant window of opportunity for making policy and regulatory changes, at both the state and county levels. At the state level, Governor Minner has announced an aggressive land use policy, Livable Delaware, to address land use issues as articulated in theShaping Delaware’s Future: Managing Growth in 21st Century Delaware. At the forefront of this initiative is how to control sprawl, which is key to minimizing the impact of land use on biodiversity. At the county level, all three counties are beginning the required process of updating their comprehensive plans. The counties will have the benefit of full state participation in this process, which includes a fully articulated land use policy via Shaping Delaware’s Future: Managing Growth in 21t Century Delaware.

In order for the biodiversity effort to be successful, county and municipal comprehensive plans and state development priorities, as articulated in Shaping Delaware’s Future: Managing Growth in the 21 St Century and the Livable Delaware initiative must be consistent. This is important because the plans are the basis for land use regulations and policies. This ties in with many of the other recommendations that advocate changing and adding regulations to be consistent with state and local plans.

  1. Encourage all counties, through updates to comprehensive plans, to adopt or improve environmental design standards that protect biological diversity.
  2. Require all local and county zoning maps and regulations to be consistent with their respective comprehensive plans.
  3. Achieve consistency between county and municipal comprehensive plans and state development priorities.
  4. Encourage use of community septic and sewer systems in growth areas.
  5. Ensure wastewater systems in rural areas are consistent with Total Maximum Daily Load pollution control goals and with designated growth areas.
  6. Ensure that the Land Use Planning Act (LUPA) requires review of all state capital projects for consistency with state development policies.
  7. Support portions of the Livable Delaware Initiative that enhance the Biodiversity Conservation Partnership.


Biodiversity Home Page

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