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Endangered Species Conservation Banking

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Presentation on theme: "Endangered Species Conservation Banking"— Presentation transcript:

1 Endangered Species Conservation Banking
Michael Bean Chair, Wildlife Program

2 Basic duties of the ESA No “take” of listed animals without a permit.
Federal actions must not “jeopardize” listed species.

3 The exceptions Take “incidental to otherwise lawful activities” permitted if mitigated (§9). Federal agencies can incorporate conservation measures in project descriptions to avoid jeopardy (§7).

4 Terminology: Why “conservation” rather than “mitigation” banks?
Wetland mitigation banking has been highly controversial. No obligation to impose “mitigation” under §7.

5 A quick history of endangered species conservation banking
First banks pre-dated any banking policy. California promulgated first banking policy in 1995. First formal FWS guidance in May 2003. NOAA-Fisheries has neither policy nor banking experience.

6 The federal guidance Notice of availability published in Federal Register, but not the guidance itself. No public input on the guidance.

7 Conservation Bank defined
“A parcel of land containing natural resource values that are conserved and managed in perpetuity, through a conservation easement held by an entity responsible for enforcing the terms of the easement, for specified listed species and used to offset impacts occurring elsewhere to the same resource values on non-bank lands.”

8 Credits defined “Credits are the quantification of a species’ or habitat’s conservation values within a bank.”

9 More on credits “In its simplest form, one credit will equal one acre of habitat or the area supporting one nest site or family group.” “The most important consideration for any mitigation requirements … is that they should be proportionate … to the extent of the impact and consistent from project to project.”

10 What actions produce credits?
Unlike wetland banking policy, endangered species banking policy welcomes acquisition or protection of existing habitat. Credits for creating or restoring habitat are possible, but seldom pursued in practice.

11 Where can credits be used?
Within specified “service areas.” Service areas generally correspond to “recovery units” in recovery plans.

12 Some practical challenges
Quantification of credits (and debits) is relatively subjective and difficult. Acres are often a poor surrogate for conservation values. Potential market for credits may be very local and very small. Market is further undermined by inconsistent enforcement.

13 Some examples of endangered species conservation banks
International Paper red-cockaded woodpecker bank. Hickory Pass Ranch bank for golden-cheeked warbler. Mobile Area Sewer and Water Commission gopher tortoise bank. Coles Levee Bank for California gnatcatcher.

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