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2014 National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference, Session 1 – Aligning Agency Programs

Kicking off the educational track at this May’s National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking conference, this session is classified as “advanced” but the presenters’ topics could not be of more importance in today’s changing world.

Moderator: Erik J. Meyers, The Conservation Fund
As a Vice President at The Conservation Fund, Erik Meyers works to advance business strategy for mitigation opportunities, mainly for projects that impact energy, water and transportation infrastructure. He also chairs the Board of Directors of the Natural Capital Investment Fund, advises companies on sustainability initiatives, manages relationships with water-related agencies, and oversees climate adaptation projects. Working with the Fund since 2004, Erik has led an array of efforts, including a pioneering climate adaptation project to help vital coastal ecosystems persist despite sea level rise. He holds a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Travis Hemmen, Westervelt Ecological Services, “Habitat Conservation Plans – A New Market or Challenge?”
Mr. Hemmen directs the Business and Market Development for WES. Mr. Hemmen coordinates with private and public clients on project specific mitigation and manages sales of existing bank credits. Mr. Hemmen identifies potential site acquisitions, analyzes market information to ensure the finished mitigation banks are a viable product. He has a background in environmental consulting and regulatory compliance planning for one of the national residential home builders. As a consultant, he has managed small- and large-scale projects, including state and federal permitting of projects by local water agencies, port redevelopment and dredging programs, and development of master planned communities. He has a B.A. degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ethics from the University of Northern Iowa, and a M.S. degree in Environmental Law and Policy with an emphasis in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Vermont Law School.

Roselle Henn, USACE North Atlantic Division, “Potential for Sage Mitigation Banking”
Ms. Hemm is Environmental Team Leader for the North Atlantic Division (NAD) of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with primary responsibility for ecosystem restoration throughout the region and the Environmental Lead in the Hurricane Sandy North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS), National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Risk Management (PCX-CSRM). While compiling the study, scientists and engineers will consider future sea-level rise scenarios and integrate economic, climatological, engineering, environmental and societal data from Virginia to Maine to develop a comprehensive framework to reduce coastal flood risk and promote resiliency. The study will be collaborative, comprehensive and integrated, and conducted in partnership with federal, tribal, state and local government representatives as well as non-government organizations, academia, technical experts and interested parties.

Steve Glomb, US Department of the Interior, “National Resource Damage Assessment & Restoration and Other Opportunities”
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (NRDA Restoration Program) manages the confluence of the technical, ecological, biological, legal, and economic disciplines and coordinates the efforts of six bureaus and four other offices within DOI to accomplish the mission.  The NRDA Restoration Program has a nationwide presence encompassing nearly the full span of natural and cultural resources for which the Secretary of the Interior has trust responsibility and authority.  Each bureau has its unique natural resource trusteeship and brings its expertise to bear on relevant sites. The NRDA Restoration Program is a truly integrated Department-wide program, drawing upon the interdisciplinary strengths of its five bureaus (Indian Affairs, Land Management, Reclamation, Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Parks Service.)

I look forward to seeing you in Denver in May!

2014 National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference

This is the first of several blog articles I intend to write that are designed to encourage your attendance at the upcoming “2014 National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference” in Denver (May 6-9). Without an ounce of shame, I’ll initially feature Session 6 of which I am the moderator, “Emerging Markets.”
 The planning committee has selected three excellent presenters covering a variety of issues, all of which should be of great interest to many conference attendees.

Brett Berkley, Senior Vice President of Greenvest, LLC, is extensively involved in nutrient offset generation and banking, including active trading in existing markets, as well as participation on various task forces, workgroups, advisory panels, etc., to catalyze emerging markets. His presentation will highlight existing nutrient trading markets (what has worked, lessons learned, etc.) and describe the challenges these emerging markets face (components of credit calculation; competing stakeholder interests; verifying, maintaining and monitoring results; fees-in-lieu; service areas; demand drivers; etc.) and explore future trends and opportunities. The discussion of existing markets will cover North Carolina’s established and successful nutrient trading program, as well as Maryland’s Nutrient Cap and Trade Program- now 5 years old without a single trade successfully executed.

Vanessa Hickman, Arizona State Land Commissioner, Arizona State Land Department, provides recommendations to the Governor on a statewide approach to mitigation and conservation banking that includes State government, local governments and the private sector in order to meet long-term natural resource conservation objectives. Her presentation will include a discussion highlighting the challenges and successes facing the Mitigation & Conservation Banking subcommittee of the Natural Resources Review Council (NTCC) due to conditions in the arid southwest, a recently approved in-lieu fee program administered by the Arizona Game & Fish Department, the specific Congressional mandate directing the scope of the management of State Trust lands, and the vast amount of land under public ownership in Arizona.

Doug Robotham, Water Projects Director, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado, is developing mapping, guidance and decision tools to support a more comprehensive approach to biodiversity conservation and river basin planning. His recommendations will help improve how voluntary water banking agreements and investments are targeted to optimize water supply security and environmental benefits. A collaborative group, including West Slope agricultural interests, Front Range cities, and The Nature Conservancy, is working on an alternative risk mitigation strategy that entails creation of a Water Bank for Colorado’s western slope that could operate either to forestall or respond to such a call, should one materialize.

For information about the conference, go to http://www.mitigationbankingconference.com/

I hope to see you in Denver.

Flat Out Wonderful: RS teams with Houston's Katy Prairie Conservancy to sponsor the nation's largest stream mitigation bank

Restoration Systems is excited to share the news of our latest (and greatest) proposal for a mitigation bank outside of North Carolina.  RS, the Katy Prairie Conservancy of Houston, and the Warren family have entered a long-term Joint Venture to develop the nation’s largest stream mitigation bank on the 6000 acre Warren Ranch in northwestern Harris County.

The historic Warren Ranch is the largest working cattle ranch in Harris County and one of the last remaining spreads of its character and size on the perimeter of Houston.  As proposed, the bank will service the compensatory mitigation needs of nearly six million people as the city sprawls westward.   All told, the project will restore, enhance and preserve streams and wetlands over 20 miles of the ranch.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy, one of Texas’ oldest and most respected Land Trusts, plans to dedicate their share of  project proceeds to help retire the debt on the Warren Ranch and restore and permanently protect it to native prairie grassland.  The prairie ecosystem west of Houston has suffered severe degradation in the past. Today it faces obliteration by the relentless march of the city to the west.

RS is very fortunate to have found our farsighted partners, the KPC, its Executive Director Mary Anne Piacentini, and the Warren family.   We look forward to filing you in on the details of the project and updating you as it progresses.   For now, please enjoy the videos below of the Flat Out Wonderful Warren Ranch.

National Mitigation and Conservation Banking Conference — Call for papers!

Next year’s national swamp swappers confab is gathering steam.  Coming to Austin, Texas, May 3-6, 2010, the 12th annual  National Mitigation and Conservation Banking Conference is the place to be if you have an interest in environmental mitigation banking and the ecosystem services industry.  Restoration Systems has been a sponsor and attendee for a decade.  It would be difficult to overestimate the benefits of RS’ attendance and involvement in this event.   In fact, each year it becomes more important for our firm to attend the Conference — particularly since our expansion effort began.

So, get your presentations in by October 15th.   All it takes at this point to be considered is a simple paragraph explaining an area of the mitigation field on which you care to propound for ten minutes.  (No need to put together your PowerPoint until the night before.)    I am on the Steering Committee and help review the submissions — so let me know if you want some pointers for making the program.

See you in Texas.. .partner;)

Explore, Learn & Network at the only National conference on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem markets. This is THE conference for you if you are involved in – or have an interest in – mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking and the related emerging markets.

What attendees are saying….

“I had only two days of the four days and wish it had been possible to attend all four days”

“The Conference was very good.  My 3rd one and I will continue to attend others.”

“As a regulator, I was able to exchange ideas and experiences with other regulators …as well as get to know the bankers better – thank you!”

“This was my first Mitigation Banking Conference, so I was a novice. I learned much from this conference and met the kinds of people I needed to connect with regarding banking units, pricing, values, options and am very pleased I was able to attend”

“Loved the access to the top regulators and the general “feel” of the conference.”

“Attending the conference had a positive effect on my bottom line — and the quality of my mitigation — thanks.”

“Overall great conference!”