Natural Resource Protections
What are we doing?
The County is updating the regulations that protect water bodies, wetlands, and wildlife habitat from the impacts of development. Natural resource protection is about identifying valuable resources so that impacts from development can be:
The community’s goal is that only 40% of new development occurs in wildlife habitat. Achieving this goal will help protect the area's natural resources; however, there will still be a need for new development to minimize and mitigate its impacts.
Focal Species Habitat Mapping
The Focal Species Habitat Mapping Study (PDF) will inform the natural resource protections updates.
In the 2012 Comprehensive Plan, the community established ecosystem stewardship as one of its three common values. Specifically, the community hopes to maintain healthy populations of all native species as well as to preserve and enhance water and air quality.
History of Protecting Natural Resources
The community has a long history of protecting natural resources. The first land development regulations in Teton County in 1978 were based on protecting ground water and steep slopes; and the wildlife habitat protections adopted in 1994 were cutting edge at the time. Yet, while there have been advancements in our scientific understanding of the ecosystem since 1994, there have been only piecemeal updates to our protection of it. This has left the current natural resource protection regulations outdated and inconsistent.
Property rights that allow development exist even in some of the most valuable wildlife habitats. The purpose of this project is to utilize the best available science, like maps of the vegetation and habitat value on all private lands, to better protect natural resources. At the same time, this project will provide greater predictability to property owners about what standards apply to them.