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FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE Update on Wetland and Endangered Species Mitigation Banking Allen McReynolds Mitigation Strategies LLC P.O. Box 2862 Longview, Texas 75606 903/753-2370 www.mitigationstrategies.com Presented at 2005 Louisiana Board of Realtors

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federal environmental compliance


Update on Wetland and Endangered Species Mitigation Banking

Allen McReynolds

Mitigation Strategies LLC

P.O. Box 2862

Longview, Texas 75606



Presented at

2005 Louisiana Board of Realtors

Commercial Development Conference

June 15, 2005

Shreveport, Louisiana

environmental compliance

Clean Water Act, Section 404

State of Louisiana Environmental Protection statutes


Endangered Species Act, of 1973 as amended

State of Louisiana Environmental Protection statutes

comparison of clean water act section 404 and endangered species act of 1973
Clean Water Act

Applicants must adhere to a strict mitigation “sequencing” process




Wetland Mitigation Bank


Specific Project

Endangered Species Act

Provides conservation alternatives for the protection of Threatened and Endangered (T&E) Plant and Animal Species covered under the Act




Comparison of Clean Water Act, Section 404 and Endangered Species Act, of 1973
existing 404 law presumes
Existing 404 Law Presumes
  • For projects such as housing which are not water dependent, existing law presumes that there are “practicable alternatives” to impacting wetlands.
  • Compensatory mitigation (creating or restoring wetlands) may only be used for “unavoidable” impacts.
  • Agencies prefer “on-site and in-kind” mitigation.
benefits from mitigation banking
Benefits from Mitigation Banking
  • Reduces temporal losses of wetland functions.
  • Reduces uncertainty over whether the mitigation will be successful.
  • Is more Ecologically advantageous (no “postage stamp” projects).
  • Marshals financial resources and scientific expertise necessary for effective mitigation.
  • Provides financial assurances for long-term monitoring and maintenance.
  • Shifts liability for compliance of the mitigation site from the permittee to the bank sponsor.
endangered species act of 1973 as amended
Endangered Species Act, of 1973 as amended

Provides conservation alternatives for the protection of Threatened and Endangered (T&E) Plant and Animal Species covered under the Act

historical evolution of conservation banks
Historical Evolution of Conservation Banks

Prior to late 1993, there were only a handful of attempts to create ‘banks’ as alternatives to impacts to Endangered Species Habitat.

However, the Savings and Loan crisis of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, and the Republican take over of the US House of Representatives in 1994, created an unprecedented opportunity fo the government to seek alternatives other than federal allocations to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire ecologically-valuable lands for little-to-no-cost, through the creation of conservation banks.

Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) properties were ‘purchased’ with funding provided by public and private real estate developers wanting off-site mitigation for impacts to habitat.

creation of conservation bank system
Creation of Conservation Bank System
  • Working with field biologists, RTC properties were “frozen” under special provisions written into the disposition guidelines.
  • Scrambling for “developers”, USFWS acquired over 25,000 acres of land through the organized sale of credits.
  • Through the ‘purchase’ of RTC properties, USFWS developed the conservation bank model, using Wetland Mitigation Bank guidelines.
prominent examples created in 1994 98
Prominent Examples Created in 1994-98
  • Rancho San Diego, San Diego CA (21 federally-listed plants and animals)
  • Etiwanda, San Bernardino County CA (12 federally-listed plants and animals)
  • Headwaters Forest, Eel River, Eureka CA (Coho Salmon, Spotted Owl, land stand of old growth redwoods in the world)
  • Balcones Preserve, Travis County, Tx (7 federally-listed plants and animals)
  • Desert Tortoise Preserve, Clarke County, Nev and St. George, Utah (Desert Tortoise)
customers of wetland and mitigation banks
Customers of Wetland and Mitigation Banks
  • Real Estate Developers
  • Public Utilities
  • Schools, Libraries, Fire Departments
  • Municipalities
  • Highway and Transportation Organizations
creation of credits
Creation of “Credits”
  • Wetland Mitigation Bank Model

Conservation Banks and Wetland Mitigation Banks are assigned “credits” by the Mitigation Bank Review Team (MBRT).

The MBRT is comprised of reps from the Federal and State Regulatory agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service, NMFS, ACOE, EPA, NRCS, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)

Credits are based on ‘rarity’ of habitat, amount of land restored, conserved, preserved or protected, and the overall behavior pattern of the plants and animals that use that habitat for survival.

endangered species in louisiana animals 24
Endangered Species In LouisianaAnimals - 24

Louisiana has 24 threatened and endangered animal species.

  • T - (S/A) Alligator, American (Alligator mississippiensis)
  • T - (S/A ) Bear, American black (County range of LA b.bear) (Ursus americanus)
  • T - Bear, Louisiana black Ursus americanus luteolus)
  • T - Eagle, bald (lower 48 States) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • T - Heelsplitter, Alabama (Potamilus inflatus)
  • E - Manatee, West Indian (Trichechus manatus)
  • E - Mucket, pink (Lampsilis abrupta)
  • T - Pearlshell, Louisiana (Margaritifera hembeli)
  • E - Pelican, brown (except U.S. Atlantic coast, FL, AL) (Pelecanus occidentalis)
  • T - Plover, piping (except Great Lakes watershed) (Charadrius melodus)
  • T - Sea turtle, green (except where endangered) (Chelonia mydas)
  • E - Sea turtle, hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • E - Sea turtle, Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
  • E - Sea turtle, leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • T - Sea turtle, loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
  • T - Sturgeon, Gulf (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)
  • E - Sturgeon, pallid (Scaphirhynchus albus)
  • E - Tern, least (interior pop.) (Sterna antillarum)
  • T - Tortoise, gopher (W of of Mobile/Tombigbee Rs.) (Gopherus polyphemus
  • T - Turtle, ringed map (Graptemys oculifera)
  • E - Vireo, black-capped (Vireo atricapillus)
  • E - Whale, finback (Balaenoptera physalus)
  • E - Whale, humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae)
  • E - Woodpecker, red-cockaded (Picoides borealis)
louisiana endangered species plants 4
Louisiana Endangered SpeciesPlants- 4

Louisiana has 4 threatened and endangered plants.

  • T- Earthfruit (Geocarpon minimum)
  • E- LouisianaQuillwort (Isoetes louisianensis)
  • E- Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia)
  • E- AmericanChaffseed (Schwalbea americana)
table last updated 2004 louisiana endangered species
TABLE LAST UPDATED - 2004Louisiana Endangered Species

Plants American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana)E*; Earthfruit (Geocarpon minimum)T*; Louisiana quillwort (Isoetes louisianensis) E*

Invertebrates American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) EE; fat pocketbook (Potamilus capax)E*; inflated heelsplitter (Potamilus inflatus)TT; Louisiana pearlshell (Margaritifera hembeli) TE; pink mucket (Lampsilis abrupta)E*

Amphibians Mississippi gopher frog (Rana sevosa)E*

Fish   pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)EE; Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhinchus desotoi)TT; pearl darter (Percina aurora)C*; Alabama shad (Alosa alabamae)C*

Reptiles   green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) T/ET; hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) EE; Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) EE; leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)EE; loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)TT; gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) TT; ringed map turtle (Graptemys oculifera)TT; black pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi)C*; Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni)C*

Birds   brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)EE; bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)TE; peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus ) T/E; Attwater's greater prairie chicken** (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri)EE; whooping crane** (Grus americana) EE; Eskimo curlew**(Numenius borealis)EE; piping plover (Charadrius melodus) T/ET/E interior least tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos)EE; ivory-billed woodpecker**(Campephilus principalis)EE; red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) EE; Bachman's warbler**(Vermivora bachmanii)EE

Mammals   manatee (Trichechus manatus)EE; blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)EE; finback whale (Balaenoptera physalus) EE; Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) EE; sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus (= P. catodon)) EE; red wolf**(Canis rufus)E*; Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)TT; Florida panther**(Felis concolor coryi)EE

  • *Unlisted**Extinct or nearly extinct in Louisiana
  • For more information contact the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70808-9000.Phone: 225/765-2821glester@wlf.louisiana.gov
louisiana coastal area ecosystem restoration study
Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration Study
  • Joint ACOE and LDNR coastal feasibility study.
  • Encompasses 20,000 square miles from Texas to Mississippi.
  • Estimates 342,000 acres will be lost between now and 2050.
  • 70% of loss is attributable to human’s effect on the environment, both direct and indirect.
purpose of america s wetlands project
Purpose of America’s Wetlands Project

Goal: To establish highly productive, cost-effective, and long-term coastal restoration projects that are essential to saving Louisiana’s wetlands.

Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands:

  • Provide valuable habitat for fishing and recreation.
  • Provide a vital stopover for migratory birds in route north to south.
  • Produce 20 percent of the seafood in the United States.
  • Home to 46 percent of the State’s population.
new procedures for coastal permits
New Procedures for Coastal Permits
  • MOU between Louisiana Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF) for coordination of permits for impacts to Coastal Resources.
  • Coastal Use Permitting (CUP) requirements are available from DNR Coastal Management Division, Rocky Hinds 225/342-7998.
dnr state statutes
DNR State Statutes

Advanced mitigation projects:

  • A project implemented to create, restore, protect and/or enhance wetlands for the purpose of producing ecological values, measured as average annual habitat units, cumulative habitat units (advanced mitigation credits.
  • Such projects must be approved by the Secretary prior to implementation, and the advanced mitigation credits shall have limited utility for the purpose of compensating for the ecological value of resources lost due to a permitted action.
examples of conservation banks for endangered species
Examples of Conservation Banks for Endangered Species
  • Washington Loop Preserve, Charlotte County, Florida
  • Gulf Cove Conservation Bank, Sarasota County, Florida
the washington loop preserve
The Washington Loop Preserve
  • The draft Recovery Plan for the Florida Scrub-Jay seeks to preserve all viable meta-populations throughout its entire range.
  • The efforts of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have prompted the need for the creation of a conservation bank to serve the meta-populations in Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, and Lee Counties in Southwest Florida.
need for conservation
Need for Conservation
  • The need for preservation is defined primarily is defined primarily by human consumption of the Scrub-jay’s native habitat.
  • Habitat Loss is due to:
        • Habitat Fragmentation
        • Fire suppression
        • Real estate development
        • Disruption of Hydrology
          • Canal building
          • Irrigation for Citrus
multi species bank opportunities
Multi-Species Bank Opportunities
  • The Florida Scrub Habitat is the natural habitat of many federal and state-listed species.
  • Wetland and Upland (dry land) tracts are typically within a parcel of land targeted for conservation, so both wetland and conservation bank credits are possible.
conservation bank restoration requirements
Conservation Bank Restoration Requirements
  • As with Wetland Banks, the lands must be restored prior to credit sales.
  • Restoration requirements are similarly measured with success criteria.
  • Florida Scrub Habitat is most easily restored by the removal of invasive plants/trees and by the use of prescribed fire.
how credits are sold
How Credits are ‘Sold’
  • Although a few multi-species conservation banks have been established in California, the regulatory agencies on the MBRT have the right to assign ‘credits’ only for one “indicator” species.
  • Credit Sales are most often brokered by a private firm, like fee simple interests in real estate. In Florida, Mitigation Strategies retains the services of Mitigation Marketing LLC.
  • As the Florida scrub-jay is the most endangered of the species covered in the Washington Loop Bank, credit sales will be for Scrub-jay compensation exclusively.
legislative update
Legislative Update
  • Airport Bill
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
      • Wetland Banks
      • Natural Habitat Conservation Banks

Change: Preference added regarding the use of mitigation banks.

mitigation strategies llc
Mitigation Strategies LLC
  • For more information regarding Wetland Mitigation Banks or Endangered Species Conservation Banks
  • Contact Allen McReynolds
  • Mitigation Strategies LLC, P.O. Box 2862, Longview, Texas 75606
  • 903/753-2370
  • www.mitigationstrategies.com