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Dept of Interior to shift away from ‘project-by-project’ management

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has unveiled the outlines of a new landscape-level mitigation strategy across millions of acres of federal land that she said is designed to take the department’s agencies away from narrowly focused project-by-project assessments. The mitigation strategy includes four key objectives the department will work to implement in the coming months in an effort to take a broader approach to managing public lands – landscape-level planning, banking, in-lieu fee arrangements and other mitigation tools.
READ MORE AT  http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2014/04/10/stories/1059997717

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.