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Big Idea seminar showcases scenery as a resource

Scenery is a non-renewable resource because once it’s disturbed, it can’t easily be restored, Palmer said. “It’s valuable because it exists and it needs to be respected,” he said.

James Palmer warned Nebraskans at his Big Idea seminar Wednesday afternoon that the state’s open spaces are vulnerable.

Nebraska’s scenery is an untapped resource, and that could change quickly as power lines, billboards and wind turbines fill the horizon, said Richard Sutton, a professor in agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Nebraska is ripe for wind farms,” Sutton said.

Nebraskans haven’t set a value on scenery because “they think, oh, (scenery is) something I can see on vacation in Colorado,” Sutton said.

Sutton chose Palmer, a senior principal at Scenic Quality Consultants in Burlington, Vt., to speak Wednesday at the first of five Big Idea seminars on “Scenery as a Natural Resource.”

Scenery is a non-renewable resource because once it’s disturbed, it can’t easily be restored, Palmer said.

“It’s valuable because it exists and it needs to be respected,” he said.

He spoke to a crowd of around 50, mostly students, teachers and Nebraskans, at the Nebraska East Union.

Palmer said scientists are asking nature walkers for the first time to rate how much wind turbines hurt the beauty of a landscape. He showed the crowd a study in Maine that asked... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

James Palmer warned Nebraskans at his Big Idea seminar Wednesday afternoon that the state’s open spaces are vulnerable.

Nebraska’s scenery is an untapped resource, and that could change quickly as power lines, billboards and wind turbines fill the horizon, said Richard Sutton, a professor in agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Nebraska is ripe for wind farms,” Sutton said.

Nebraskans haven’t set a value on scenery because “they think, oh, (scenery is) something I can see on vacation in Colorado,” Sutton said.

Sutton chose Palmer, a senior principal at Scenic Quality Consultants in Burlington, Vt., to speak Wednesday at the first of five Big Idea seminars on “Scenery as a Natural Resource.”

Scenery is a non-renewable resource because once it’s disturbed, it can’t easily be restored, Palmer said.

“It’s valuable because it exists and it needs to be respected,” he said.

He spoke to a crowd of around 50, mostly students, teachers and Nebraskans, at the Nebraska East Union.

Palmer said scientists are asking nature walkers for the first time to rate how much wind turbines hurt the beauty of a landscape. He showed the crowd a study in Maine that asked people walking on trails to rate how wind turbines would affect their view of the Appalachian Mountains on a scale of one to seven, with seven having the most impact.

Palmer said most of those surveyed agreed the turbines had a great impact.

Maine initiated the study because it enacted an emergency act to build enough wind turbines to generate 2,000 megawatts of energy, which could power around two-thirds of all houses in the state by 2015, Palmer said. He added the act had a standard that turbines couldn’t unreasonably hurt current use of land and the study was conducted to find out if natural beauty was important. Palmer told the crowd two main problems with the Maine study.

First, he said, the study needs to be conducted after the wind turbines are constructed to show the actual visual impact.

Second, the study can’t be applied to Nebraska because the landscape is different, Palmer said. Nebraska is far behind Maine in turbines, with 196 around the state generating 337 megawatts, according to data from the Nebraska Energy Office.

Suzanne Gucciardo, natural resources specialist with the National Park Service in Nebraska, said the information from the Maine study was crucial in her effort to preserve the Lewis and Clark Trail. She said she wants to know how the power lines and turbines affect visitors’ view of the trail. Gucciardo said a similar study on the 3,700-mile trail, which is open to the public 24 hours a day, would be a major project.

“We have to find a way that we can evaluate the scene in the downtown Kansas City area just as they would evaluate the landscape at (Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge) in Montana, where there is nothing,” Gucciardo said.


Source: http://www.dailynebraskan.c...

SEP 30 2012
http://www.windaction.org/posts/38193-big-idea-seminar-showcases-scenery-as-a-resource
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