chapter  7
19 Pages

Regulatory Considerations

BySusan Hill

Conservation banks are established under a cooperative strategy that assigns a monetary value to conserved habitat, harnesses market forces, and simplifies and streamlines the regulatory process. Through their size, habitat quality and level of protection, banks improve significantly upon traditional ways of conserving habitat necessary for species recovery and survival. Through partnerships with private landowners, conservation banks are one tool the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) can use to increase available habitat for protected species, in order to help fulfil the USFWS mission and comply with the mandates of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), while benefiting the private landowner. Although USFWS focuses on the ecology and protection of species in conservation banks, which is the focus of this chapter, and it does not directly regulate the economic aspects, the positive economic benefits to landowners are clear. Conservation banking is a free market enterprise that allows individuals and entities to profit from the protection of species through credit sales at values determined by the marketplace. At the same time, it provides a simple, direct method for applicants to compensate for impacts to the same species. Therefore, it is not only the protected species that benefit from conservation banks, but also the bank owners and the project applicants, resulting in a win-win-win situation.