Protecting the Environment
The environment is part of our everyday life. It is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the open spaces where we entertain, and the land on which we live. Undoubtedly, the health of the environment has great impact on health and quality of life. Due to this tremendous influence, Lexington is mounting a growing effort to implement and maintain sustainability practices that will enhance the natural environment that our people fiercely depend on, while also serving to accommodate projected growth.
This theme of Imagine Lexington assesses the impacts of development on the environment, and recommends policies and practices that minimize the negative impacts of land use and development. The policies focus on protecting valuable natural resources, taking a sustainable approach to development activities, and restoring the environment within the urban fabric.
Where are we now?
For Lexington to adequately support its natural environment, it is critical to understand the current status of our ecosystem’s fundamental parts and the conditions they face as a consequence of continued growth and development in our community. These fundamental parts, which include water, air, and land, play significantly into our quality of life and are the basis for a healthy ecological network that extends far beyond our county limits.
When thinking of environmental concerns in Lexington, water quality is often the first to come up. In response to this, Lexington has been strategic in its approach to improving water quality in the city and mitigating the past consequences of ignoring impacts of development. Stormwater management is now an integral part of the development process and the LFUCG Division of Water Quality continues to undertake improvements, monitoring, and mitigation.
Clean air has also been a firm objective in the city’s pursuit to enhance public and environmental health. Close monitoring of local air quality conditions has been a priority of the Lexington Area MPO, who pair these metrics with methods to reduce air pollution, such as alternative forms of transportation.
With regard to land, it is clear that our natural resources are changing with development over time. With the presence of the Urban Service Boundary, the community’s rural land has been largely protected, yet the boundary has placed additional pressure on urban land within. Proper policies to protect our urban environmental network will prevent this land from becoming a fractured system, thus supporting its ability to provide the ecological, economic, and social benefits that we have come to value.