Moorestown Township’s Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI) is a document that resident Chris Salvatico believes is key.
“It’s very important when it comes to planning,” he said, “because if you don’t know what you have, you don’t know where you’re going.”
The 2023 edition of the ERI was published with funding from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the township, according to the Moorestown website. The Moorestown Environmental Advisory Committee (MEAC) and DVRPC identified the natural and cultural resources of the community including its soil, water, air, forests, fields and waterways.
The previous ERI was completed in 2013, and the updated inventory reflects a particular moment in time.
“We can use this document, and we are using this document and the trail information we’ve collected to find out where we can make connections between trails in order to make the trail network better,” Salvatico said.
Salvatico is also a member of MEAC, and he and the committee spent thousands of hours over the last two years completing the inventory. The resulting 176-page document includes 21 updated maps and 47 tables organized into seven chapters on subjects like history, parks and open space. It also includes a printable updated street map.
“I hope people find value in it and I hope people are excited to read it and to actually use it,” Salvatico noted. “I don’t want it to just be stuck on a shelf and then nobody looks at it again until whoever has to do it in 2033 (the inventory must be published on a 10-year cycle). I’m hoping that people will actually use it and enjoy it.”
The ERI is an important tool for environmental committees, open-space committees, and planning and zoning boards to identify and prioritize environmental challenges and opportunities, according to its summary. The document strives to promote the social equity, economic vitality and environmental quality of Moorestown, and can support the development of resource protection ordinances and resource-based land use planning.
“Once we had the whole (document) done and we actually could see it from cover to cover, it was really amazing the amount of stuff that the town has done in the last 10 years,” Salvatico explained. “We wanted to make this ERI much larger, more encompassing and overall better than the 2013 version was, and we also were looking to have this ERI become the model for ERIs to be done in the future.
“If another township says, ‘We have to do the ERI, we need an example to follow,’” we’d like them to look at the Moorestown version and use that as their guide,” he added.
Along with the environmental advisory committee, there were contributions from both government and citizen groups such as the Moorestown Historic Society; township council; the community development, public works and parks and recreation departments; the township’s tree committee; its open-space committee; Sustainable Moorestown, the township police and fire departments; and Save the Environment of Moorestown (STEM).
The latest ERI document has now been reviewed and adopted by the township planning board for publication. It is available on the township website at the end of the community section and on the environmental committee’s web page.
DVRPC will make hard copies available for major contributors and multiple copies will go to the township and school libraries.