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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

March 31, 2009

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Mitigation Mail
Conservation and Wetland News You Can Bank On

Building off the success of our carbon market brethren and on the compelling need for more and better information about biodiversity markets, the Ecosystem Marketplace has begun work on a first-of-its-kind "State of Biodiversity Markets" which we expect to publish in the summer of 2009. The report will provide transparency to the complex, emerging biodiversity markets. We will cover the network of biodiversity regulations and voluntary offset programs around the globe, with an in-depth look at US wetland mitigation and conservation banking. To that end, we have started dissemination of surveys to regulators and mitigation bankers in the US. We appreciate your cooperation in our efforts to provide greater transparency and efficiency to these emerging markets. For more information on the State of Biodiversity Markets report, including opportunities for sponsorship, please contact Becca Madsen (bmadsen[at]ecosystemmarketplace.com) or Nathaniel Carroll (ncarroll[at]ecosystemmarketplace.com).

As promised, Ecosystem Marketplace has continued to keep an eye out for news related to the late Bush-administration changes to the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Earlier this month, President Obama issued a directive that basically told the US Fish and Wildlife to continue business as (was) usual... that is, to continue to consult with government agencies to determine if their actions might have negative effects on endangered species. The directive also instructed the Department of Interior (DOI) to consider rule revisions. Congress, in the meantime, slipped in language in the 2009 omnibus spending bill that allowed the DOI to skip public notice/commenting and fast-track a reversal of the changes to the ESA. The DOI is now considering whether to take the traditional route of rule-making or the fast-track route to reversing changes to the ESA.

Don't forget to register for the 12th annual National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference, May 5-8, 2009, in Salt Lake City. The conference will focus on "Banking under the New Rule." Learn more and register here.

Enjoy a diverse array of biodiversity market stories below.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at mitmail@ecosystemmarketplace.com.


News

EVENT: Katoomba Mato Grosso, April 1-2, 2009

Location: Centro de eventos do Pantanal, Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Tropical deforestation accounts for 20 percent of heat-trapping gas emissions worldwide. In Brazil alone, 70 percent of greenhouse gases emissions come from deforestation in the Amazon region. Forest-based carbon sequestration and REDD are gaining international attention, with Brazil on the center stage, to reduce global emissions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. More broadly, ecosystem service payments in carbon, water and biodiversity are also becoming a key solution to ensuring the continued provision of nature's services through forests, aquatic systems, biodiversity, and carbon and nutrient cycles. This Katoomba meeting in Brazil will focus on the latest developments in carbon, water and biodiversity markets and discuss how they are being created and utilized to help solve some of our most critical environmental challenges. Specific Meeting topics include: The latest initiatives to control deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon; Amazonian governors' presentations on the Global Climate Summit; Launching of Mato Grosso State Forum on Climate Change; A discussion on REDD options for the Xingu Park; The Brazilian Amazon Fund to control deforestation and the country's official position on REDD; How water quality trading markets can contribute to the conservation in the Amazon; The emergence of biodiversity markets and how they can be applied in Brazil; and How to bridge the gap between current challenges and future economic and environmental solutions.

For more information and to register, visit the event website


Opinion: Want the Money? Learn the Language!

Financial markets aren't getting the glory these days, but they still control access to the green -- and if payment for ecosystem services schemes and other conservation projects are going to attract the trillions needed to halt environmental degradation, ecosystem project developers will have to get better at packaging their assets to resemble traditional investment products. First in an occasional series examining the convergence of environmental finance and existing capital markets.

Go to Editorial by Mike Van Patten


Rio's Atlantic Forest Fund: Spreading the Environmental Wealth

The Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) is testing a new approach to disbursing funds collected under Brazil's Environmental Compensation Law. A hybrid environmental clearinghouse and mitigation bank, the "Atlantic Forest Fund" is designed to create a massive pool of liquidity for all forms of environmental finance impacting protected areas in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Fourth in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.

Go to Article


Oregon Experiments with Mixed Credits

California and Oregon have long been friendly environmental policy rivals. California has set environmental standards in many areas, particularly air quality. Oregon wrote the first bottle bill, the first state land-use law, and the first state climate-change law. But on the species banking front, California dominates, 94 to 2. An innovative new multi-credit system being pioneered in the Willamette Valley could change the game.

Go to Article


Mitigation News
NOAA Stimulus Package Funding for Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration – April 6 Deadline!

US Federal Register

NOAA is offering grants of $1.5-$10 million for coastal and marine habitat restoration projects that show both ecological and economic (read: job creation/ job maintenance) benefits. The total pool of funding is $170 million.

Read more here


TOR Released for UNDP Project on Biodiversity/PES Markets in Latin American/Caribbean – Deadline April 15

The UNDP has released a TOR and consultancy announcement for a major and innovative study UNDP is commissioning -- Assessing the Potential for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Based Regulatory Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean. UNDP is undertaking an initiative to inform policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) of the need to invest in ecosystem services. In order to gain the political traction required to advance investment in biodiversity in the region, UNDP will work with key stakeholders to produce a Report highlighting how Biodiversity and Ecosystem Markets (BEMs) could contribute to the environmental and economic aims of local and national governments. This Report will assess if, where and how Biodiversity and Ecosystem Markets (BEMs) can be incorporated into development planning processes in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Report thus will be well-positioned to inform future planning and investment processes affecting biodiversity throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read more here


Danish Pensioners Funding Forestry Protection in the US (3/30/09)

New York Times -- USA

An environmental non-profit, a timber company, and a Danish pension fund make up the motley crew that came together to protect 92,000 acres of upstate New York forests. The Nature Conservancy recently sold the land to the Danish pension fund ATP for $32.8 million, who will receive NY state tax credits as well as long-term income from sustainable forestry managed by RMK Timberland Group. The conservation easement on the land allows for selective harvesting and recreation. The sustainable forestry operations support a local mill employing 800 people.

Read story here


Australian Landowners Get AUS$1 Million for BushTender Projects (3/30/09)

Weekly Times Now -- Victoria, Australia

Nineteen landowners in the Mallee and northern Wimmera regions will receive BushTender payments totaling $1 million over five years for protection of native vegetation.

Read story here


"Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss" (3/29/09)

St. Petersburg Times -- FL, USA

Two FL newspaper journalists have written a 351-page expose of the state of "no net loss" in the state of Florida, and the outlook doesn't look good. The authors conducted their own analysis of satellite imagery between 1990 and 2003 and found 84,000 acres of wetlands had been developed. They also describe the colorful cast of characters involved in wetland regulation, development, and mitigation as "shameless, and astonishingly frank."

Read review here


UK's new Civil Engineer, the Beaver (3/18/09)

The Times -- UK

A study conducted by Natural England and the Trust for Endangered Species highlights beavers' natural engineering abilities: improving water quality through sedimentation in ponds, improving biodiversity by providing juvenile fish nurseries, and ameliorating the effects of flooding. The studies' proponents suggest using beaver re-introduction with drinking water quality managers - with a potential first project with South West Water. Beaver were all but wiped out in the 16th century in England, so re-introduction may be costly. The study estimates that introduction of four beaver families would cost 1 million pounds.

Read story here


Greens Take a Cue from Financiers (3/18/09)

Christian Science Monitor -- US

Article reviews market-based environmental conservation in general, and delves into "derivatives" for endangered species protection and several market-based programs (catch-shares, individual tradable quotas, bycatch credits) for fishery stock protection. The idea behind environmental derivatives is that risks and costs of endangered species degradation would be managed by providing a financial instrument that would function as an insurance. With the idea expounded in a recent issue of Frontiers of Ecology , lead author Mandel proposes that the government issue modified derivative contracts to sell species' extinction risk to market investors and stakeholders. Catch-share systems - where fishers purchase a percentage of annual allowable catch - reward good stewardship of the common fishery stock. A September 2008 Science article reviewed the world's catch-share programs and suggested this system could halt or reverse fish stock decline.

Read story here


IUCN Red List Reads Wrong? (3/12/09)

Telegraph -- UK

A group of scientists writing in a recent New Scientist article criticize the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of endangered species because they think it overstates the risk of species for extinction, requires more proof for removing species from the list than adding species to the list, and is biased towards mammals. The Red List covers over 45,000 species and raises millions of pounds for species protection around the world.

Read story here


US Government Funds Habitat, Wetland Protection for Migratory Birds (3/11/09)

San Diego Union Tribune Going Outside Blog -- CA, USA

Department of Interior Secretary Salazar announced $37.5 million in grant funds for protection and restoration of over 200,000 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitats in the US and Mexico. The funds were awarded under two programs: the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and the Federal Duck Stamp program.

Read blog article here


NC Wetland Restoration Stakeholders Speak up about Federal Stimulus Funding (3/4/09)

Raleigh News-Observer -- NC, USA

Two editorials--one written by a wetland mitigation banker (John Preyer, Restoration Systems) and one written by an academic (Todd BenDor, UNC-Chapel Hill)--argue that federal stimulus funding can and should be used for environmental restoration to provide both "green collar" jobs and ecological benefits. The industry editorial emphasizes the difficulties of private industry flourishing when the state government's wetland mitigation work has been in direct competition with private players. North Carolina recently enacted "An Act to Promote Compensatory Mitigation By Private Mitigation Banks" (S. 1885) that precludes state government from competing with private mitigation banks in watersheds where private banks are already established. The academic editorial emphasizes the need to consider impacts to water resources as money is pumped into infrastructure projects in the state. The author notes that restoration, via state government and private industry, should be conducted in advance of damage to natural resources.

Editorial: "Restoring Competition in Wetlands"
Editorial: "Build the Environment, Too"


New US Mitigation Banks

New Jersey Public-Private Mitigation Bank (3/25/09)
South Bergenite -- NJ, USA

The State of New Jersey has authorized Meadowlands Conservation Trust to partner with Florida-based wetland banker EarthMark Mitigation Services in a $6 million deal that would have EarthMark restore 250 acres of the 587-acre Richard P. Kane Natural Area in exchange for the rights to sell wetland mitigation credits.

Read story here


New Wetland Bank Established by City (3/15/09)

News Journal Online -- FL, USA

The city of Port Orange, Florida, places a conservation easement on 2,500 acres to establish a wetland mitigation bank to be used as mitigation for both private and city impacts.

Read story here


San Diego County Proposes Mitigation Bank as Part of Multiple Species Conservation Program (3/4/09)

Ramona Sentinel -- CA, USA

As part of a county-wide Multiple Species Conservation Program covering 29 plants and 34 animals, the County of San Diego is proposing sponsoring a vernal pool mitigation bank of 20-30 acres.

Read story here

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