The Environmental Resource Inventory: ERI

The Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI), or Index of Natural Resources, is a compilation of text, tables, maps and other visual information about the natural resource characteristics and environmentally significant features of an area. Traditionally called “Natural Resources Inventory,” the title “Environmental Resources Inventory” is now commonly used, reflecting the addition of manmade features to the inventory, such as historic sites, brownfields and contaminated sites.

An ERI provides baseline documentation for measuring and evaluating resource protection issues. It is an objective index and description of features and their functions, rather than an interpretation or recommendation. Identifying significant environmental resources is the first step in their protection and preservation and in assuring that future development or redevelopment protects public health, safety and welfare.

The ERI is an important tool for governing bodies, environmental commissions, open space committees, planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment. The planning board should adopt the ERI as part of the municipal master plan, either as an appendix or as a part of a master plan conservation element. As part of the master plan, the ERI can provide the foundation and documentation for master plan updates, ordinances, legal defense, open space or agricultural protection plans, protection of water resources, and many other municipal functions.

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Sample Ordinances for Protecting Significant Coastal Habitats

ANJEC originally developed this booklet in 1998 in an effort to establish sound public policy guidelines for land use decisions and to educate local officials and citizens on the benefits of protecting coastal migratory bird habitat. Today, with growing concerns about the impacts of sea level change due to global warming, the importance of sustainable land use decisions has become even more
critical, particularly in coastal areas. We hope this booklet will offer local environmental commissions and planning boards an arsenal of practical tools and techniques they can use, not only to protect bird habitat but to mitigate and adapt to the changes ahead.

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Remediating and Redeveloping Brownfields in NJ

Remediating and Redeveloping Brownfields in New Jersey
A Guide for Municipalities and Community Organizations

Brownfields are found across the Garden State in urban, suburban and rural communities. Many of us drive or walk past them every day. Like many unoccupied properties, brownfields may contain deteriorating buildings with broken glass and litter, becoming unsafe places for children to congregate or an eyesore for the neighborhood. This guide will examine the activities and laws that are involved in transforming brownfields into productive neighborhood assets.

A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. (Note:
Brownfields are a large class of properties, not to be confused with Superfund/National Priority List sites. Superfund sites generally have more complex or dangerous contamination problems and are overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The 220+ Superfund sites in New Jersey, in various stages of assessment, cleanup, delisting or monitoring, are listed on the EPA’s website at

Common examples of brownfield properties are former manufacturing, processing or transportation facilities, dumps, gas stations, dry cleaners, and many others. The possible or actual  contamination complicates the brownfield property owner’s ability to expand, redevelop, or reuse the site. The unknown extent of the contamination, and therefore the liability and cleanup costs, make the property unattractive to potential buyers and redevelopers.

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