Frequently Asked Questions
Federal banks are approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of Interior. Conservation Banks for non-listed species (ie: Greater Sage Grouse) are approved by the Department of Fish and Game along with a Compensatory Mitigation Oversight Group (CMOG) comprised of State and Federal wildlife agencies.
The bank sponsor has the option to manage the bank or to contract out the management to a third party. The 2 aspects of bank management: Ongoing management tasks and reporting
How confidential will the bank sponsor remain during the permitting process and after bank approval?
Privacy and confidentiality are paramount both during the permitting process and after. Landowner and Bank Sponsor information is non-public and confidential.
Can we utilize credits for in-house project offsets? Can we sell credits direct without going through a third-party consultant? What is commission on credit sales?
Yes. Credits can be transferred from the bank to meet the internal mitigation requirements of future projects. Credits may also be sold directly from the Bank Sponsor to other developers without obligation to third-party consultants or marketing.
Where does the money come from for the ongoing management of easement? Maintaining good habitat and monitoring in year 99-500?
A non-wasting endowment account is established during the process of the bank establishment. The endowment is funded through a percentage of credit sales. A Property Analysis Report is used to outline in detail the bank responsibilities and determine the amount needed for the endowment. Quarterly, Biannual or Annual distributions from the endowment account provide the money for all management responsibilities, including contingencies.
The Bank Sponsor ultimately determines who is best suited to hold the easement. Terrawest has relationships with several qualified land trusts and NGOs, but any qualified organization with common interests in the bank objectives can be selected by the bank sponsor. An easement is only placed on a property after a sale of credits has been negotiated, and only for the specific parcels within that particular bank phase. At no time is a conservation easement placed on an entire property beforehand or for approval of the conservation bank.
There is one conservation bank currently approved to sell credits in the state of Wyoming, and a second bank in the final approval process. The demand for credits in the state of Wyoming alone will outpace the current supply of credits. There are currently no other conservation banks close to being approved in any of the seven priority states.
Yes. The conservation strategies are based on metapopulations and threats to sage grouse in different regions. Depending on the availability of credits in neighboring regions, credits can be approved for transfer across state lines. The project proponent needing credits works with state and federal agencies and their debits and credit req’s are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The Bank is set up to hold a certain number of credits in reserve in case of catastrophic events. Would need to identify how many reserve credits are needed based on the size of the total bank.
Land value is a factor, but not exclusively. The cost to create the bank and fund the endowment are also factors. The severance of liability is another factor in the price. Perhaps the largest component in the marketplace is the value time to the credit purchaser. Development projects are typically able to purchase their required number of credits and receive approval for their construction or other permits within 24-48 hours. Developers simply want to be able to write the check and move on.
What does the Bank Management plan look like, particularly language on livestock management? Do you have other agreements like this we could look at as an example?
The Bank Sponsor will be an integral part of the language of the management plan. With a Sage Grouse Bank, grazing is a key element to the successful management of sagebrush ecosystems. The language typically allows for activities unless otherwise prohibited. It will need to benefit the targeted species.