Natural Resource Protection Ordinance

A comprehensive natural protection ordinance establishes a complete set of standards to protect, conserve and enhance the natural resources in a municipality. A planning process that integrates resource protection ensures that resource planning, comprehensive plans and land development activities protect both natural resources and their functions. Resources which should be considered for protection include land resources (steep slopes, prime agricultural soils), water resources (watersheds, floodplains, wetlands, hydric soils), biotic resources (threatened and endangered species habitats, locally important vegetation), and scenic resources (views and panoramas).

The natural resources considered for protection are typically identified in a municipal comprehensive plan, which should include a detailed analysis of the existing resources, along with a strategy for their protection. Specific resource protection tools are contained in the municipal code of ordinances, either within the zoning ordinance and/or subdivision and land development ordinance, or within a stand-alone chapter of the municipal code developed specifically for resource protection.

natural resourcesAdvantages

The development of a comprehensive natural resource protection ordinance provides the following advantages:


The following limitations are associated with comprehensive protection ordinances:

natural resourcesHow Use this Tool


Related References

The protection of natural resources is a required component of a municipal or multi-municipal comprehensive plan that is authorized in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). Section 301.(a)(6) states that the comprehensive plan shall contain a plan for the protection of natural resources including, but, not limited to, wetlands and aquifer recharge zones, woodlands, steep slopes, prime agricultural land, floodplains, and unique natural areas. Additionally, Section 603.(g)(2) states that zoning ordinances shall provide for the protection of natural features and resources.

Related Tools