To avoid the development of environmentally sensitive lands and reduce the environmental impact from the location of a building on a site.
Locate the development footprint on land that has been previously developed or that does not meet the following criteria for sensitive land:
- Prime farmland, unique farmland, or farmland of statewide or local importance as defined by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Volume 6, Parts 400 to 699, Section 657.5 (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) and identified in a state Natural Resources Conservation Service soil survey) or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.). [Canada ACP: Prime Farmland]
- Floodplains: a flood hazard area shown on a legally adopted flood hazard map or otherwise legally designated by the local jurisdiction or the state. For projects in places without legally adopted flood hazard maps or legal designations, locate on a site that is entirely outside any floodplain subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. [Europe ACP: Flood Plains]
- Habitat: Land that is identified as habitat for the following:
- species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the state’s endangered species act [Europe ACP: Habitat], or
- species or ecological communities classified by NatureServe as GH (possibly extinct), G1 (critically imperiled), or G2 (imperiled), or
- species listed as threatened or endangered specifies under local equivalent standards (for projects outside the U.S.) that are not covered by NatureServe data.
- Water bodies: Areas on or within 100 feet (30 meters) of a water body, except for minor improvements.
- Wetlands: Areas on or within 50 feet (15 meters) of a wetland, except for minor improvements.
Minor improvements within the wetland and water body buffers may be undertaken to enhance appreciation of them, provided such facilities are open to all building users. Only the following improvements are considered minor:
- Bicycle and pedestrian pathways no more than 12 feet wide (3.5 meters), of which no more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) may be impervious;
- Activities to maintain or restore native natural communities and/or natural hydrology;
- One single-story structure per 300 linear feet (90 linear meters) on average, not exceeding 500 square feet (45 square meters);
- Grade changes necessary to ensure public access;
- Clearings, limited to one per 300 linear feet (90 linear meters) on average, not exceeding 500 square feet (45 square meters) each;
- Removal of the following tree types:
- Hazardous trees, up to 75% of dead trees
- Trees less than 6 inches (150 millimeters) diameter at breast height
- Up to 20% of trees more than 6 inches (150 millimeters) diameter at breast height with a condition rating of 40% or higher.
- Trees under 40% condition rating
The condition rating must be based on an assessment by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) using ISA standard measures, or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.
- Brownfield remediation activities.
Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)
Canada ACP: Prime Farmland
In Canada, if the project is mapped under the Canada Land Inventory (CLI), then prime farmland is land classified as Class 1, 2 or 3 of this inventory. For projects located on sites not mapped by this inventory, follow global guidance for local equivalents.
Europe ACP: Flood Plains
Projects in Europe may use the Directive 2007/60/EC definition of floods with a medium probability (likely return period ≥ 100 years).
Europe ACP: Threatened and Endangered Species
Projects in Europe may use the Natura 2000 network of protected areas and the European Red List.
Ask questions, share tips, and get notified of new forum posts by joining LEEDuser, a tool developed by BuildingGreen and supported by USGBC!