Administration
Cleaner Greener Communities
Mohawk Valley Sustainability Plan

Mohawk Valley

Regional Sustainability Plan

As part of the planning process nine (9) technical Working Groups were formed to gather critical data and knowledge from key stakeholders in the region for each topic area listed further below. Seven (7) groups met independently, developed their own methods, and reported to the Consortium. Two (2) additional groups, Governance and Climate Adaption integrated information derived from all the other groups. The Workings Groups were formed by a regional Consortium that composed of representatives from the Mohawk Valley’s six county government agencies, and the metropolitan areas of Utica, Rome, and Oneonta. Working Group members were asked to use their local and professional knowledge to contribute to and evaluate strategies, projects and initiatives for inclusion in the Plan. Each group meet in-person thrice as well as had as needed conference calls to provide key input on plan focus areas and to help develop the content of the Plan.

Working Groups

The following Working Groups were identified for evaluation and
inclusion in the Plan:

  1. Economic Development
  2. Transportation
  3. Land use and Livable Communities
  4. Water Management
  5. Materials Management
  6. Energy
  7. Agriculture and Forestry
  8. Governance (drawn from the other groups)
  9. Climate Adaption (drawn from the other groups)

Agriculture and Forestry

The Agriculture and Forestry Working Group addressed agricultural businesses and lands, forest lands, and the multiple economic and ecological roles fulfilled by those enterprises and lands as they relate to social,economic, and ecological sustainability.

The agriculture and forestry implementation strategy carefully coordinated with the Land Use and Economic Development focal areas.
 
Strategies and practices for consideration included:
  • Strengthening the economic viability of agricultural and forestry enterprises and communities that are supported by those enterprises;
  • Fostering more efficient uses of energy inputs and the natural resources produced on the land of the region;
  • Utilizing agricultural and forest industry by-products for energy production;
  • Encouraging continued agricultural use of productive farmland;
  • Encouraging patterns of land use that support viable agricultural communities and discourage residential sprawl.
The Working Group considered opportunities to improve surface water quality through land management changes designed to improve energy efficiency or energy production.

Economic Development

The Economic Development Working Group was tasked to coordinate activities with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Plan (MVR REDP) and clearly address how the goals of the sustainability plan intersect with and support those of the REDP.

The Plan describes and quantifies the economic development benefits of the implementation strategies identified in the Sustainability Plan. The Planning Team and Working Group worked with the Regional Economic Development Council and other working groups throughout the planning process to ensure that the strategies identified by the two plans support both the economic development and sustainability goals of the Mohawk Valley region.

Energy

The Energy Working Group was tasked to address energy and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions associated with its use and generation. The Plan evaluated electric generation, electric use, and on-site combustion in the Mohawk Vallley region by building type (residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional). The Plan considered short-, medium- and long-term strategies to  address: 

  • Energy efficiency of existing buildings;
  • Energy building standards for new construction;
  • Financing tools that support energy efficiency and renewable energy investment;
  • Innovative ownership, financing, or leasing mechanisms for renewable energy systems; and
  • Community-scale energy systems.

The Plan also evaluated cost, potential energy savings and related GHG emission reductions for each strategy.

Land Use and Livable Communities

​The Land Use and Livable Communities Working Group was specifically tasked to address land-use planning as it related to sustainability, smart growth and the creation and preservation of livable communities. The Mohawk Valley Region Sustainability Plan considered strategies to:

  • Align infrastructure investments to support equitable land-use development;
  • Encourage the expansion of location-efficient housing that increases access to employment centers and transportation options;
  • Stimulate investment in mixed-use development and redevelopment of land in existing communities;
  • Protect natural ecosystems; and
  • Prevent unsustainable use of natural resources.
Strategies were addressed for urban, suburban, and rural communities to use land efficiently and sustainably while providing economic growth and quality of life for Mohawk Valley residents.

Transportation

The Transportation Working Group was tasked to evaluate existing transportation networks within the Mohawk Valley region and consider improvements that would provide more efficient system operations, alternative fuel vehicles and the infrastructure to fuel them, and additional/enhanced travel choices such as public transportation, ridesharing, complete streets, and bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The Plan:

  • Evaluated potential programs to encourage the use of more efficient fuels, vehicles, and modes of transportation, as well as alternatives to driving alone;
  • Addressed the necessary investments in street, highway, transit, and fueling infrastructure that would support and complement the expansion of transportation choices; and
  • Identified potential transportation solutions that would improve air quality, reduce vehicle miles traveled, reduce travel times, support transit-oriented development, reduce runoff from roads, and improve service for historically marginalized populations.

Materials Management

The Materials Management Working Group was tasked to evaluate representative materials (waste) management practices throughout the Mohawk Valley Region and determine strategies to reduce the waste produced and stored; and to reduce GHG emissions associated with waste management. The Plan assessed:

  • A representative set of local recycling policies;
  • Landfill methane capture and disposal;
  • Energy recovery from accumulated waste;
  • Composting programs;
  • Strategies for decreasing the amount of waste incinerated;
  • Programs that incentivize the reuse of construction waste.​

Water Management

The Materials Management Working Group was tasked to evaluate representative materials (waste) management practices throughout the Mohawk Valley Region and determine strategies to reduce the waste produced and stored; and to reduce GHG emissions associated with waste management. The Plan assessed:

  • A representative set of local recycling policies;
  • Landfill methane capture and disposal;
  • Energy recovery from accumulated waste;
  • Composting programs;
  • Strategies for decreasing the amount of waste incinerated;
  • Programs that incentivize the reuse of construction waste.​