Conservation Banking Incentives for Stewardship

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1 Conservation Banking Incentives for Stewardship Ecological Services Office Jacksonville, Florida Erin Gawera

2 What is a Conservation Bank? Conservation Banks are permanently protected private or publically owned lands that are managed for endangered, threatened, and other at risk species.

3 What is a Conservation Bank? A land account that is drawn on to compensate for adverse environmental impacts. Sites are chosen and managed for their natural resource values and special-status species or sensitive habitats. Sites may be in natural condition or include restored and created habitat.

4 The Conservation Bank Concept Ecological Advantages: Large preserve size Habitat connectivity Species protection/recovery Land stewardship

5 The Conservation Bank Concept Other Advantages: Easy mitigation option Economic opportunity for landowners

6 What is the difference between a Mitigation Bank and Conservation Bank? Mitigation Bank: -Restore or create a habitat type -- wetlands. -Restoration gives additional credit. Conservation Bank: -Must start out restored to natural state. -Pristine condition is the baseline. -Management is directed primarily at particular species with an ecosystem approach.

7 Why Do We Need Conservation Banks? Rapid Population Growth High Rate of Resource Consumption (land, water) Loss of Biodiversity Protect and recover endangered species

8 Conservation Banking When used with other conservation programs banking is a valuable tool for Mitigating impacts to endangered species. Recovering these endangered species. Conserving ecosystems on which these species depend.

9 Conservation Banking Requires coordination and cooperation between public and private sectors. Is market driven through economic incentives. Makes it economically viable for landowners to be land conservators. Can preserve traditional lands uses where compatible with species conservation. Involves the entrepreneurial spirit of this county in conserving natural resources for use and enjoyment by future generations.

10 How to Set Up a Successful Bank Is a site appropriate for the species impacted? Strategically located in the landscape. Presently occupied by the species. Large and contiguous. Is there an comprehensive management and restoration plan and adequate funding to manage in perpetuity? Is there a market for the credits?

11 Essential Elements Conservation Easement Long-term Manager Trust Fund

12 Conservation Easement Should spell out all activities that are allowed. Grantee will usually be a separate entity (e.g., state, county, or NGO) with the Service having third party approval for any changes. Should be enforceable.

13 Long-term Manager Should be someone that is agreeable to both the Service and banker. Should be someone with good track record for land management. Should be willing to be responsible for the provisions of the bank plan. Should be willing to take responsibility for management with the available trust fund.

14 Trust Fund Should be adequate to cover all maintenance, management, and monitoring costs after initial restoration. Funds should invested in low risk interest bearing account or other instrument adequate to keep up with inflation. Should be a non-wasting fund. Should be available and transferable to the long-term manager.

15 Advantages of bank over individual project compensation Pre-approved, should expedite project review. Much less risk of changes in regulatory climate. Simpler. All expenses (land acquisition, management, and restoration) wrapped up in one fixed cost.

16 The Lift Primarily based on the mitigation ratio established for a species. Habitat must be restored to natural condition before credits can be sold. Primarily focused on vegetation community. Plan should identify how habitat will be maintained in best condition.

17 Opportunities The Species: Florida panther Florida scrub-jay Sand skink

18 Issues The Process New in Florida Must be reviewed by Regional Office Proceeding cautiously to get the process started on the right track

19 Further Questions Erin Gawera

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