In addition to regulatory protection of natural resources, fee-simple purchase or easements can be used to provide permanent protection for priority natural resource areas, such as the serpentine barrens in southern Chester County.
Expand protected natural habitats, with a priority of creating a network of riparian corridors, special protection waters, wetlands, forests, and unique habitats such as serpentine barrens and interior forests.
Protecting natural areas helps ensure that the critical functions these areas provide, such as wildlife habitat and flood conveyance and attenuation, will not diminish due to development. While opportunities to protect significantly large natural areas are more limited than twenty years ago, large natural areas of value remain to protect and there is great potential to expand existing natural areas or link them by protecting stream corridors or other linear open space corridors.
Protection through easement or fee-simple purchase should be a priority in areas such as Hopewell Big Woods, White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River area, and the Great Marsh. Other priority considerations include interior forests, exceptional value waters, wetland complexes, and wild trout waters. The Natural Resource Priority Protection Areas Map depicts critical natural resource areas within the county. This effort should be conducted in a partnership of non-profit land trusts, the County Department of Open Space Preservation, and municipalities. Educational outreach would also be needed to keep municipal officials and the public aware of the need to avoid fragmenting natural areas and isolating wildlife.