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Feb. 3, 2015

Good afternoon, and welcome to 2015!

As you may know, the Nature in the City Strategic Plan is heading to City Council for adopiton on March 17, and staff has been working diligently to incorporate your feedback throughout the process into the draft plan. This draft will be available for public comment from Monday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 22. We look forward to your feedback, and don't worry - we'll send a short announcement on Monday when the plan has been posted.

In the meantime, see below for exciting project updates, as well as the announcement for our Feb. 19 Open House on the Strategic Plan - another opportunity to give your feedback on the project!



In this Issue:

Open House, Feb. 19
Milestone Project Updates

Open House

Thursday, Feb. 19
4-7 p.m.
Community Room, 215 N. Mason St. 

Join us to review the Nature in the City Strategic Plan. Your voice is an important part of developing this plan, and we look forward to hearing your feedback on the vision, goals and policies that have been developed from the dialogue and data collected during the project's Inventory and Assessment phase.

Drop by anytime between 4-7 p.m.; there will be short overview presentations at both 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. by Nature in the City Project Manager, Lindsay Ex. 

Milestone Project Updates

Staff is hard at work on several milestone components for Nature in the City. Here’s where we’re at on a few of them: 

Strategic Plan
The strategic planning process is in full swing. The strategic plan will prioritize the numerous opportunities to incorporate nature into other plans, policies and practices within the City organization and in the community.

The vision of the project has evolved to encompass both the human and wildlife needs of nature in Fort Collins: “A connected open space network accessible to the entire community that provides a variety of experiences and functional habitat for people, plants and wildlife.” 

Additionally, the primary goals of Nature in the City, as outlined in the strategic plan, are:
  • Easy Access to Nature: Ensure every resident is within a 10-minute walk to nature from their home or workplace.
  • High Quality Natural Spaces: Conserve, create and enhance natural spaces to provide diverse social and ecological opportunities.
  • Land Stewardship: Shift the landscape aesthetic to more diverse forms that support healthy environments for all species.
The draft plan will be available online in early February, and will be presented to numerous advisory boards throughout the month. The strategic plan will be presented to City Council on March 17.

Indicator Species and Connectivity Analysis
Staff have selected a group of 10 bird and butterfly species to continue our statistical and spatial modeling efforts for the environmental assessment. For the purposes of this project, we define an indicator species as a species that is relatively common in Fort Collins and whose presence or relative abundance is correlated with the richness or composition of the overall community. In other words, sites where indicator species are abundant are also sites that support a diversity of sensitive birds or native butterflies. 

We are constructing occupancy models for each of the selected indicator species. Occupancy models estimate the probability that a site is occupied by a species as a function of a variety of environmental conditions, such as site location, land use, and area. We will then apply the occupancy models to conduct a connectivity analysis across Fort Collins, identifying core habitat areas, existing linkages, and places where landscape connectivity could be protected or restored.

Living Wall
The Nature in the City and Urban Lab teams are currently searching for a final location that will be visible and accessible, provide educational opportunities and improve upon the chosen site.

The living wall will be the first of its kind in Fort Collins, will serve as an example of public/private collaboration, and will be highlighted in the Nature in the City Design Guidelines document. 

Conceptual designs are being finalized by designer Jessica Doig, senior landscape architecture student at CSU. 

Design Guidelines
One of the key products of Nature in the City will be a set of design guidelines that will allow anyone (e.g., developers, business owners, residents, etc.) to incorporate nature into their projects.

Twenty-five design options are being explored through a contract with the Institute for the Built Environment, and CSU graduate students are assisting in evaluating these options from a Triple Bottom Line (social, ecological and economic) perspective.

These guidelines are expected to be available in late summer or early fall 2015.


Nature in the City

As Fort Collins grows and densities increase, how can we ensure all residents have access to nature near where they live and work?


Lindsay Ex, Project Manager


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