Planning for conservation and growth

Between 2000 and 2015, the region developed 40,000 acres of natural areas and 100,000 acres of farmland.

Sunrise over misty soy field
Farmland contributes to the rural character and economies of the region’s collar counties and could be a critical resource with respect to feeding the region and enhancing land and water resources in the future.
Pedestrians on path through wooded area
Ariel view of corn field
Biodiverse natural areas provide essential ecosystem services on which all life depends — including flood control, carbon sequestration, and air and water purification.
Ariel view of community garden
As the region is projected to add more than 1.9 million residents and 700,000 jobs by 2050, the region must consider infill and reinvestment strategies, which can help diminish the pressure for new development of agricultural and natural lands, as well as conservation development strategies for greenfield development.
Ariel view of new development next to farmland
ON TO 2050 identifies strategies to minimize the potential environmental and fiscal impacts of new development with a goal of maintaining and enhancing the region’s agricultural systems and natural resources.