Kimball Island is a 109-acre riparian restoration mitigation bank project at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. This project was designed to re-establish the natural slough hydrology to the island. The project was undertaken by Wildlands Inc. and compliments local, state, and federal efforts to restore ecological integrity to the Delta.
The Rancho Jamul mitigation bank is approximately 150 acres of riparian and wetland habitat on a 3700-acre preserve site identified in the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program as an important biological resource area. This project involves the restoration of two creeks that have been severely degraded by grazing practices. The project is owned by Wildlands Inc.
This document provides brief descriptions of wetlands projects funded by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The project cases include wetland purchase, construction, reconstruction, non-point source protection, conservation easement purchase, and sustainable agriculture education. The project descriptions include costs as well as grant and repayment information.
A recent family forestry workshop, offered by the University of Idaho Extension Services, brought together family forest owners and a number of forestry consultants to explore ecotourism possibilities. Participants believe nature-based tourism businesses can be long-term sustainable propositions.
The Meadowlands Mitigation Bank is a 206-acre inter-tidal marsh restoration site on the Hackensack River. Intensive development and mosquito ditching degraded the site. Mitigation credit was gained from the removal of invasive reeds and the restoration of an intertidal, estuarine island/channel/mudflat marsh ecosystem. Marsh Resources, Inc. developed this mitigation bank.
The Butterfield Road wetland mitigation bank is an 80-acre site permitted, constructed, and planted in 1999. The site was previously a cornfield with a drainage ditch running through it and consists of upland areas and hydric soils. It is owned by Libertyville Township and was developed by Land and Water Resources, Inc.
The Ferson Creek wetland mitigation bank is a 92-acre site owned by Kane County Development Corporation and developed by Land and Water Resources, Inc in 1996. The meanders of Ferson Creek were restored and the old channelized bed was filled. This site is adjacent to a residential area.
The Panther Island wetland mitigation bank is a 2778-acre site contiguous with portions of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and CREW SOR lands. Over 300 acres of pastures have been restored to herbaceous freshwater marsh wetlands. When completed, this project will generate 934 mitigation credits. This site is owned and operated by Wetlandsbank Inc.
The Lake Station wetland mitigation bank is a 202-acre site enveloped by Lake Erie Land Company and J.F.New & Associates. Restoration activities began in 1998 and included the removal of over 31,000 linear feet of subsurface tile, plugging of interior ditch and exotic control. An agreement is in place for the transfer of the property to the National Park Service.
Even before Federal Highway Administration’s focus on ecosystem conservation as part of its vital few
goals, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) had begun to examine how and where
compensatory mitigation was being implemented in North Carolina. Over the last four years, NCDOT,
the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and the United States
Army Corps of Engineers – Wilmington District (USACE) have partnered to redesign the mitigation
process with one goal in mind: to create a compensatory mitigation program that delivers guaranteed
environmental benefits. The result of these efforts is the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP). Rather
than focusing on individual highway project impacts, the EEP concept revolves around watershed plans
and considers cumulative impacts associated with a given watershed. Accordingly, the EEP provides
cumulative mitigation for cumulative impacts. It was clear from the start that EEP was going to change
fundamentally the goals, approach, and structure of providing mitigation in North Carolina. While the
mitigation experts knew how the mitigation process needed to change, they lacked expertise in how to
manage that change. Not surprisingly, this has presented several hurdles that the sponsoring agencies are
still trying to scale today. As implementation moves forward, many valuable lessons are being learned,
which are laying the groundwork for successful change.
A concise, if not a bit dated, explaination of how conservation banking fits into regional plannning.
Encyclopedic in scope, Ecoforestry collects in a single volume some of the most renowned authors and practitioners in the field who challenge the industrial forestry model, then outlines the ingredients of a radically alternative approach to forest stewardship. Topics covered include ecoforestry principles and practices; forest ecosystem components and restoration; ethnobotany; fire and ecosystem management; community forestry; wood and forest products certification; the deep ecology movement; and current ecoforestry practitioners and techniques. Contributors include James Agee, Herb Hammond, Chris Maser, Nancy Turner, Arne Naess and Gary Snyder.
This case study was written at the beginning of the trading program and highlights the regulatory and stakeholder issues regarding establishing the permit. It gives a good overview of the basic concepts employed in setting up the permit and trading system including: equivalence, additionality and accountability. While the case study does not give any insights in to the success of the implementation of the program, the eligible trades include livestock exclusions, reduced soil erosion rotational grazing and wetland treatment.
A good layman's explanation of conservation banking in California is provided in this article. David Lawhead discusses the promise, challenge, and several examples of conservation banking.
Enviro-Capitalists persuasively demonstrates why Americans should turn to entrepreneurs in the private sector rather than the federal government to guarantee protection and improvement of environmental quality. This book provides numerous examples of entrepreneurial approaches that emphasize using markets and private property rights to protect amenity values in water, land, and wildlife. Anderson and Leal offer refreshing and positive alternatives to traditional thinking about the environment.
What Price Biodiversity? Economic Incentives and Biodiversity Conservation in the United States, demonstrates that the price of protecting biodiversity is both acceptable and affordable. What Price Biodiversity? describes existing programs that are working to give private citizens economic incentives to protect wildlife and habitat. It also suggests policy changes that wouuld save money and protect biodiversity by removing damaging subsidies. The report addresses the arguments behind the current takings dispute and describes efficient ways of strengthening the relationship between economic health and conservation.
Part of the collection of books by Terry Anderson and the Property Environment Research Center this book analysis the public policy behind water rights as well as case studies of water trading. The examples highlight the use of water markets for instream flows, ground water, and pollution. It also discusses the use of water markets in an international context.
Conservation banking is a promising tool for effective natural resource management in California. This report prepared by the California Department of Fish and Game, Habitat Conservation Planning Branch is divided into three sections: Summary, Origins of Conservation Banking, and Conservation Banking in Practice.
This is an important document for anyone interested in nutrient trading in the US. While it uses case studies to support the argument that trading can significantly reduce costs for achieving water quality standards it is a general document that articulates numerous potential approaches to trading. Analysis includes point/point and point/nonpoint as well as performance based subsidies.
This report recommends directions for research on management of natural capital to ensure a sustainable future for the Nation. Authors feel the research should not be restricted to ecology, but rather should also incorporate economics, sociology, and information services into a biological research program that will serve both society and the environment. By doing this authors expect to advance both ecosystem health as well as human health.
Wetlands and Agriculture: Private Interests and Public Benefits examines the differences between public and private incentives regarding wetlands, noting the recent increase in the value society is placing on wetland ecosystem services and the inability of many landowners to profit from these services. The report discusses the shift in federal policy from encouraging wetland conversion to encouraging wetland protection and restoration. The report also assesses the need of continued wetlands protection policies as the US approaches achieving the goal of "no net loss" of wetlands.
Written before the release of the US Federal guidelines on conservation banking, this report is a great primer to the differences between wetlands and endangered species mitigation banking. "Because endangered species and wetlands differ in the extent of legal protection provided to each and in the laws and programs pertaining to their conservation, the policies for endangered species mitigation banking and wetland mitigation banking should differ as well. Accordingly, this report describes some of the issues that must be addressed in a federal policy on endangered species mitigation banking, suggests how those issues should be resolved, and proposes a draft policy for adoption by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This report also includes short case studies of several endangered species mitigation banks that are now in operation or are under development. Finally, the report contains a model endangered species mitigation banking agreement that will effectively conserve endangered species."
An early report on conservation banking in California, this paper is written for those seriously considering starting a conservation bank as well as personnel in government, NGO, and private sectors that are interested in conservation banks.
This report examines approaches used by existing and evolving offset programs to facilitate offset project aggregation. It focuses on major existing offsets standards and aggregation approaches, including the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism’s Programme of Activities, the Verified Carbon Standard’s grouped projects, the Climate Action Reserve’s forestry protocol aggregation guidelines, the American Carbon Registry’s aggregation guidelines for forestry projects, the Chicago Climate Exchange’s soil conservation protocol, and the Alberta Offset System’s tillage systems protocol.
In addition, the report examines business models that offset project developers have employed to replicate one project type in order to streamline the process of generating offsets without the need to rely on a specific methodology for aggregation. The report also discusses options for sectoral crediting, an approach that seeks to reward specific economic sectors in specific regions if they exceed sectoral GHG emissions targets
This report summarizes and analyzes the responses of a national survey entitled “Evaluation of Credit Stacking” that was developed
jointly by EPRI, the World Resources Institute, Stetson University College of Law and the University of Kentucky. The purpose of the
survey was to collect opinions about credit stacking from practitioners currently involved in environmental credit markets. The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2010 and was sent to approximately 1,500 individuals residing primarily in the United States. After verification and removal of duplicate inputs, responses were received from 309 individuals. Respondents were asked to identify themselves as credit sellers, researchers, policy-makers, credit buyers or credit exchangers. Ninety-four percent of respondents identified themselves as either credit sellers, researchers or policymakers, and the responses from these groups were analyzed in depth.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology has teamed up with American Rivers to produce The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing its Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits. The guide explains what ‘green infrastructure’ means and why we need more of it, especially in the urban context. Green infrastructure is first and foremost a set of water management practices, helping to limit stormwater runoff, increase infiltration, and protect nearby waterways – but it also delivers surprising benefits for energy conservation, air quality, and community livability. The guide walks decision-makers through the process of assessing what investing in green infrastructure can do for their community.?
Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment and Wildlife Habitat presents 17 projects in 10 states to help describe the full range of opportunity to treat and reuse wastewater effluents. The projects described include systems involving both constructed and natural wetlands, habitat creation and restoration, and the improvement of municipal effluent, urban stormwater and river water quality. Some of the projects involve as few as 15 acres of wetland habitat while several have more than 1200 acres.
The ecosystem services approach is the latest in a long list of conceptual approaches that are intended to improve the practice of natural resource conservation and management yet tend to be replaced by the “next shiny object” before they reach fruition. As a result, there is a limited window of time in which to get this approach right and to capture what conservation benefits are valuable from its somewhat unique conceptual frame.
This report outlines an approach to ecosystem services that will be relatively straightforward to implement, that allows for continuous learning and improvement over time, and could appeal to business and conservation interests.
This report is a structured methodology that helps managers proactively develop strategies to manage business risks and opportunities arising from their company’s dependence and impact on ecosystems. This is version 2.0 of the report, which was originally published in 2008.
Ecosystems provide businesses with numerous benefits or “ecosystem services.” Forests supply timber and wood fiber, purify water, regulate climate, and yield genetic resources. River systems provide freshwater, power, and recreation. Coastal wetlands filter waste, mitigate floods, and serve as nurseries for commercial fisheries.
However, human activities are rapidly degrading these and other ecosystems. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment— the largest audit ever conducted of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems—found that ecosystems have declined more rapidly and extensively over the past 50 years than at any other comparable time in human history. In fact, 15 of the 24 ecosystem services evaluated have degraded over the past half century. The Assessment projected further declines over coming decades, particularly in light of population growth, economic expansion, and global climate change. Left unchecked, this degradation could jeopardize future economic well-being, creating new winners and losers within the business community.
Ecosystem degradation is highly relevant to business because companies not only impact ecosystems and the services they provide but also depend on them. Ecosystem degradation, therefore, can pose a number of risks to corporate performance as well as create new business opportunities. Types of risks and opportunities include:
* Risks such as higher costs for freshwater due to scarcity, lower output for hydroelectric facilities due to siltation, or disruptions to coastal businesses due to flooding
* Opportunities such as increasing water-use efficiency or building an on-site wetland to circumvent the need for new water treatment infrastructure
Regulatory and legal
* Risks such as new fines, new user fees, government regulations, or lawsuits by local communities that lose ecosystem services due to corporate activities
* Opportunities such as engaging governments to develop policies and incentives to protect or restore ecosystems that provide services a company needs
* Risks such as retail companies being targeted by nongovernmental organization campaigns for purchasing wood or paper from sensitive forests or banks facing similar protests due to investments that degrade pristine ecosystems
* Opportunities such as implementing and communicating sustainable purchasing, operational, or investment practices in order to differentiate corporate brands
Market and product
* Risks such as customers switching to suppliers that offer eco-certified products or governments implementing new sustainable procurement policies
* Opportunities such as launching new products and services that reduce customer impacts on ecosystems, participating in emerging markets for carbon sequestration and watershed protection, capturing new revenue streams from company-owned natural assets, and offering eco-labeled wood, seafood, produce, and other products
* Risks such as banks implementing more rigorous lending requirements for corporate loans
* Opportunities such as banks offering more favorable loan terms or investors taking positions in companies supplying products and services that improve resourceuse efficiency or restore degraded ecosystems.
Unfortunately, companies often fail to make the connection between the health of ecosystems and the business bottom line. Many companies are not fully aware of the extent of their dependence and impact on ecosystems and the possible ramifications. Likewise, environmental management systems and environmental due diligence tools are often not fully attuned to the risks and opportunities arising from the degradation and use of ecosystem services. For instance, many tools are more suited to handle “traditional” issues of pollution and natural resource consumption. Most focus on environmental impacts, not dependence. Furthermore, they typically focus on risks, not business opportunities. As a result, companies may be caught unprepared or miss new sources of revenue associated with ecosystem change.
The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) is designed to address these gaps. It consists of a structured methodology that helps managers proactively develop strategies to manage business risks and opportunities arising from their company’s dependence and impact on ecosystems. It is a tool for strategy development, not just for environmental assessment. Businesses can either conduct an Ecosystem Services Review as a stand-alone process or integrate it into their existing environmental management systems. In both cases, the methodology can complement and augment the environmental due diligence tools companies already use.
The Ecosystem Services Review can provide value to businesses in industries that directly interact with ecosystems such as agriculture, beverages, water services, forestry, electricity, oil, gas, mining, and tourism. It is also relevant to sectors such as general retail, healthcare, consulting, financial services, and others to the degree that their suppliers or customers interact directly with ecosystems. General retailers, for example, may face reputational or market risks if some of their suppliers are responsible for degrading ecosystems and the services they provide.
This publication describes the five steps for performing an Ecosystem Services Review. It provides an analytical framework, case examples, and helpful suggestions for each step. It concludes by highlighting a number of resources managers can use when conducting an ESR, including a “dependence and impact assessment” spreadsheet, scientific reports, economic valuation approaches, and other issue-specific tools.
As of 2012, an estimated 300 companies have used the Ecosystem Services Review. In addition, complementary tools and guidance now exist to help companies more fully assess business risks and opportunities emerging from ecosystem change. For example, in 2011 the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV), which provides information on how to quantitatively, or in some cases monetarily, assess risks and opportunities related to ecosystem services. CEV can therefore be a logical next step after undertaking an ESR. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2010) highlighted new examples of the linkages between business and ecosystem services. The ESR remains a fundamental starting point for companies to assess business risks and opportunities related to ecosystem change.
Global degradation of ecosystems and the services they provide threatens to alter the landscape in which business operates. The Ecosystem Services Review is a proactive approach for companies to manage the risks and opportunities that are emerging. Furthermore, by helping companies make the connection between healthy ecosystems and the bottom line, it will encourage not only more sustainable business practices, but also business support for policies to protect and restore ecosystems.
WRI developed the ESR in collaboration with the Meridian Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Five WBCSD member companies—Akzo Nobel, BC Hydro, Mondi, Rio Tinto, and Syngenta—road-tested the methodology, providing feedback and case examples. Since 2008, an estimated 300 companies have used the Ecosystem Services Review. Yves Rocher, Lafarge, and CEMEX have also contributed ESR case studies to demonstrate the experience and results of the method.