While several from the mitigation banking space welcome the EPA and Corps’ proposed rule on clarifying waters protected under the Clean Water Act, the decision is far from final. On a separate policy front, the lesser prairie chicken has been listed under the ESA as threatened.
This article was originally posted in the Mit Mail newsletter. Click here to read the original.
15 April 2014 | Greetings! The past few weeks have been busy ones on the policy front. The EPA and Corps unveiled a proposed rule clarifying which waterbodies fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The rule, welcomed by many in the mitigation banking community, has the potential to greatly increase wetland and stream mitigation demand. But between a public comment period and likely court challenges, nothing’s final yet.
Meanwhile, the Lesser Prairie Chicken has been officially listed as threatened by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The listing decision was accompanied by finalization of a special 4(d) rule exempting participants in voluntary conservation programs from regulatory obligations. That approach has proven to be controversial.
In New South Wales, a draft offsets policy also seems to be taking “flexibility” as its mantra, broadening equivalence standards and offering a fee option for compliance via a new Offset Fund.
And the US Department of Interior released last week its new strategy for more effective large-scale mitigation. Planned deliverables include a new mitigation template, revisions to USFWS mitigation and candidate species banking policy, and a mitigation framework for the Greater Sage Grouse, suggesting that this flurry of policy news won’t be slowing down any time soon.
We’ll be joining Natural Capital Markets for a free webinar on Wednesday April 16th at 10 am EDT, exploring new models and actors driving natural capital investments in watershed services and biodiversity. Space is limited – register here now.
We’ll also be participating in the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s upcoming symposium, “Accelerating Sustainability: Energy and Water in Your Operations and Supply Chains” on May 6th here in Washington DC. It looks to be a great discussion. Click the link to register.
Have you made plans to attend this year’s National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference yet? It’s not too late to register, and we’re getting excited just perusing the agenda.
Finally, we’re putting out a call for bankers involved in water quality trading – we’d love to talk to you for our upcoming State of Watershed Payments report. Your information is confidential: we only report data in the aggregate. Entrepreneurship in water quality markets is a key development in this year’s report. Please help us get the full picture. You can get in touch here.
Ã¢â‚¬â€The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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