|Goodhue County Land Use Model
By Alison Slaats, 1000 Friends of Minnesota
Recently, 1000 Friends of Minnesota
completed a GIS land use suitability model for Goodhue County. The project was funded through a community assistance grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Goodhue County is situated between expanding urban centers of Rochester and the Twin Cities. County decision-makers have the challenge and opportunity of managing growth and doing so in a manner appropriate for Goodhue County’s environmentally sensitive and aesthetically beautiful landscape. The land use suitability model was created to provide an easier way for decision-makers to digest the rich GIS data available in Goodhue County.
The land use model was created in ArcGIS ModelBuilder and includes 21 vector data layers representing landscape features that are key in making land use decisions. The layers were grouped into 3 submodels: Natural Resources; Regulatory Factors; and Additional Considerations. Input layers were scored and so in the results layers, each polygon has a combined score indicating how many inputs are present. The results scores can be examined and interpreted for land use decisions. For example, the natural resource model results can be viewed to ascertain where high value ecological areas are in Goodhue County.
This graphic shows the combined model results with the total number of factors that may impact land use decisions. Geographic features such as bluffs and riparian areas are most evident because so there are several regulatory and natural factors present in those areas.
The land use model results will be used to inform the Goodhue County 2009 Comprehensive Plan Update and help identify areas of rich ecological value to support the county’s stated goal of natural resource preservation. Additionally, the model is helpful to refine municipal growth boundaries while considering significant natural resources and land use at a sub-parcel scale.
By providing a more complete picture, the land use model helps to inform critical choices that balance growth and change with preservation of rural character and natural resources in Goodhue County.