RFP: Natural Resource Inventory, City of Saratoga Springs

The City of Saratoga Springs intends to complete a Natural Resources Inventory—a comprehensive ecological analysis of the municipality—to provide a scientifically-informed foundation upon which to base the update of the 2002 Open Space Resource Plan as well as to create a future Climate Resilience and Vulnerability Assessment. 

The Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) will provide the City of Saratoga Springs with information on the important, naturally occurring resources that are essential to the City’s long-term viability and quality of life. Such resources will include, but not be limited to: 

• Geology and Soils (Bedrock and Surficial Geology; Soils; Slopes) 

• Water Resources (Groundwater and Aquifers; Watersheds; Streams and Waterbodies; Floodplains; Wetlands (using NWI classification); Impervious and Pervious Surface Coverage; Potential and Known Sources of Contamination) 

• Habitats and Wildlife (Significant Biodiversity Areas with the City; Unfragmented Habitat Blocks; Stream and Riparian Habitat; Wetland Habitat; Forests, Grasslands and Shrublands; Rare Plant and Animal Species and Significant Natural Communities) 

• Climate Conditions and Projections 

• Cultural Resources (Scenic Resources, Recreation Resources, Historic Resources) 

• Land Use (Zoning and Tax Maps; Land Use and Land Cover; Tree Canopy Cover in the Urban Forest; Farmland, Conservation and Public Lands) 

The NRI will identify the important remaining natural resources, assess the threats they face, and recommend conservations practices that might better protect these resources. Focus of the NRI shall be on protection of water resources, landscapes and scenic resources, ecosystems, unusual and sensitive habitats, historic and archeological sites, and species of conservation concern. The City’s 2002 Open Space Plan, 2015 Comprehensive Plan, 2013 Urban and Community Forestry Master Plan, Working Plan for Historic Preservation in Saratoga Springs, and the Parks Master Plan (ongoing) support this framework. 

The City is spread out over a large land mass of over 16,000 acres. Within the community there is a 2,000-acre State Park and over 3,500 acres of freshwater wetlands. Development is largely concentrated in the City’s urban core, while a low density development “greenbelt” of more than 3500 acres in the City’s outer region surrounds the core. 

The City has established a smart growth “City in the County” vision for its future development. While new growth is expected to be focused in the core area of the city, there remains development pressure on the more rural lands that surround the core. The City still lacks a thorough and scientific understanding of the importance and extent of its natural resources, the threats to those resources and the best conservation approach to support the vision of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan and the City’s “City in the Country” smart growth model. 

The City of Saratoga Springs municipal boundary will define the study area. Recognizing that natural resources cross political boundaries, inventory maps will extend approximately one-mile beyond the municipal boundaries. The consultant should include separate considerations and recommendations for the inner versus outer districts’ open space such as the creation of pocket parks in the inner district. 

This project is partially funded with a grant from New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Climate Smart Communities Program. As a Consultant to the City, the DEC considers the Consultant a Subcontractor to the City and therefore must adhere to NYS Master Contract for Grants - Attachment A-1 Program Specific Terms and Conditions Standard Clauses for All New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Contracts.