Water Resources Management

NYS DOS Open Space Analysis Tool

The Department of State has developed an open space analysis tool for the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve. This GIS tool uses aerial photographs, land use maps, land ownership information, and land protection status to perform a gap analysis that evaluates all of these data simultaneously to identify large, unprotected open spaces that currently exist in the Reserve. The tool prioritizes the selected open spaces, for conservation and protection, using a scoring system that accounts for a variety of criteria such as proximity to Natural Heritage habitat sites, historic sites, freshwater and tidal wetlands, tributaries and publicly-owned lands; land cover classification; and extent of tributary frontage. This tool is used in watershed planning to identify natural open spaces that can play a significant role in mitigating impacts from new and existing development, protecting water quality and quantity, and providing habitat for wildlife, thereby helping to explore the targeting of priorities for acquisition.

This example appears in Chapter 3 of the Watershed Planning Guidebook.