- Strategic Goals
- Environmental Review & Permitting
- Conservation Planning
- Invasive Species
- Native Plant Program
Conservation Planning Branch
CA Department of Fish and Wildlife
1416 Ninth Street, 12th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Conservation and Mitigation Banking
A conservation or mitigation bank is privately or publicly owned land managed for its natural resource values. In exchange for permanently protecting the land, the bank operator is allowed to sell habitat credits to developers who need to satisfy legal requirements for compensating environmental impacts of development projects.
A conservation or mitigation bank is a free-market enterprise that —
- offers landowners economic incentives to protect natural resources;
- saves developers time and money by providing them with the certainty of pre-approved compensation lands and provides for long-term protection and management of habitat.
A conservation bank generally protects threatened and endangered species habitat. Credits are established for the specific sensitive species that occur on the site. Other agencies that typically participate in the regulation and approval of Conservation Banks are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.
Mitigation banking is the same concept as conservation banking, but is specifically for wetland restoration, creation, and enhancement undertaken to compensate for unavoidable wetland losses. Use of mitigation bank credits must occur in advance of development, when the compensation cannot be achieved at the development site or would not be as environmentally beneficial. Mitigation banking helps to consolidate small, fragmented wetland mitigation projects into large contiguous sites which will have much higher wildlife habitat values. Mitigation banks are generally approved by the wildlife agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Recently there has been an increased interest in and usage of the multi-agency approved banking templates, and the compensatory uses and marketable qualities of conservation / mitigation banking for meeting advance mitigation needs. CDFW has a statutory obligation to make readily available information accessible to the public upon request.
Mitigation Banking Templates
In a statewide multi-agency team effort, and as a result of a 2006 multi-agency Memorandum of Understanding, mitigation banking templates were released via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Public Notice (PDF) on May 9, 2008.
The agencies represented in this template-development effort include: the California Resources Agency, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, USACE, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association - National Marine Fisheries Service.
The finalized banking template documents include the following:
- mitigation bank enabling instrument (BEI) May 2008
- conservation easement (for banks) March 2010
- long-term management plan May 2008
- checklists (draft prospectus – draft BEI) September 2010
- property assessment and warranty July 2009
For more information on conservation and mitigation banking, use the links on the right side of the page.