The Regional Environmental Planning Program was created within the Department of Environmental Services in recognition of the value of regional planning agencies (RPAs), in addressing environmental issues in New Hampshire. Each RPA is provided $25,000 annually for environmental planning work. DES staff meet quarterly with the nine RPA directors to develop program priorities and assess progress.
Land conservation was identified as a priority issue when the REPP began in 1998. The RPAs each conducted intensive research with municipalities to determine local resource protection priorities for conservation. In addition to developing clear local conservation priorities, this work helped establish the need for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).
Natural resource planning remains a high REPP priority. RPAs are assisting planning boards with GIS-based natural resources assessments and buildout analyses, open space plans, and conservation subdivisions. They are assisting towns in identifying local resource protection priorities and acquiring conservation lands. Smart growth issues are being addressed at local and regional scales.