Abiotic, Biotic and Cultural Resource Survey for Land Planning Along the Rideau Canal
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The intent of this study was to test a mapping method to determine its effectiveness as a tool for planning. The purpose of this tool is to display how policies create areas of protection around natural, cultural and human features. The goal of effectively displaying this information is to assist decision makers to visually assess the extent of protection policies that will effectively protect features and systems. This study was done using the ABC Resource Survey Method presented by Nelson and Lawrence in their book Places Linking Nature Cultural and Planning. This method layers abiotic, biotic and cultural elements of a landscape using GIS mapping. A study area along the Rideau Canal, focused around the Lower Rideau Lake, was chosen with the help of Parks Canada staff. Data used in this study includes: wetlands, waterfront, species at risk, areas of natural and scientific interest, fish habitat, roads and pits and quarries. In Level I, one map was created for each feature, displaying its location within the study area. The information was then carried over into Level II, where the buffers of protection found in local policy documents were added to each feature, creating another set of maps. The seven maps in Level II were then divided into the abiotic, biotic and cultural categories. In Level III the features in each category were combined to create three maps, showing the features in that category and their areas of protection. A final map was created for Level IV which displays all seven features and their areas of protection to display all of the constraints in the study area. A number of conclusions were drawn. The first is that with advancements in GIS, this method is simple to use. The availability of accurate data, policy documents and basic knowledge of GIS software are the main components necessary. The use of the different levels is it allows for an efficient overview of all the elements, or select elements that the user may be interested in. Finally, the use of GIS with the ABC method allows for versatility in updating information and levels of protection.
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