Greening Development Site Location, Review and Design


Planning staff and advisory boards can “green” the development review process by:

  • Using conservation data to evaluate development proposals
  • Advising applicants on how to design wildlife-friendly development projects
  • Integrating wildlife-friendly development practices into ordinances

Developers, consultants, and engineers can “green” site design by:

  • Consulting conservation data
  • Mapping and protecting priority habitats
  • Using wildlife friendly development practices

Click here for a demonstration of wildlife habitat conservation development design.

Download the NC Wildlife Commission Preferred Development Guidance fact sheet. Communities can tailor the information in this fact sheet to thier needs and provide this guidance to developers as an appendix in their ordinance.


Wildlife-friendly development practices are site design and management techniques that protect important habitats during the development process.

Wildlife-friendly development practices include:

  • Protecting wide buffers around streams for water quality and wildlife habitat
  • Protecting wide upland buffers around wetlands and vernal pools to sustain salamander, turtle, and frog habitat
  • Managing stormwater on-site
  • Creating wildlife-friendly landscapes with native plants
  • Permanently protecting a connected network of important habitats on site
  • Creating wildlife corridors to connect protected areas on site to important habitats outside the development
  • Creating plans to properly steward protected natural areas over the long-term
  • Providing environmental education kiosks and materials for homeowners

Harmony, Florida
Over half of this central Florida development has been set aside as a nature preserve, which is actively managed for preservation and enhancement of wildlife habitat.  Harmony has on staff a well qualified “Conservation Director,” who guides conservation and management activities in this planned community.  The developer also partnered with the University of Florida’s Wildlife Extension department to develop an environmental education website and outreach programs for residents.


Creston, North Carolina
Located near Black Mountain, the Creston Development has placed 40% of the project area under a conservation easement with Foothills Land Conservancy, a local land trust.  The protected areas will be actively stewarded by land trust staff.


Chatham County, North Carolina has developed the Big Woods Conservation Design Guide to describe beneficial development practices the county would like see implemented in sensitive natural areas. 

Wildlife Friendly Development Certification
The Wildlife Friendly Development Certification Program is a green-growth initiative developed through a collaboration between the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Wildlife Federation, and the N.C. Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects to formally recognize developments that meet sufficient criteria that assess wildlife habitat conservation and the use of environmental construction practices for residential developments.