Conservation Banking is a free market mitigation solution backed by over a decade and a half of mitigation policy and regulated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“USFWS”). Conservation banking allows development interests to purchase species credits to offset their projects impacts to endangered species and their habitat on a voluntary or regulatory compliance basis. The purchase of these species credits enable permanent protection of endangered, threatened or imperiled species and their habitat and also permanently transfers the liability of incidental take from industry projects to the conservation banker using the tried and true benefits of the free market. Common Ground Capital works with private landowners to protect, restore and financially secure improved habitats for Threatened and Endangered species using a rigorous set of biological and financial assurances required by the USFWS.
Common Ground Capital
Common Ground Capital (“CGC”) was formed in the spring of 2012 to deliver best in class landscape scale mitigation solutions for endangered and threatened species. Eight years later we have successfully achieved the majority of our objectives by partnering with our landowner, equity investors and other best in class partners.
Our mission is simple:
Deliver best-in-class mitigation solutions to provide the upmost certainty to all relevant stakeholders.
We provide certainty to conservation sites for the targeted species and their landscapes by protecting them forever under the robust, rigorous and proven USFWS conservation banking model.
We provide certainty to our industry partners by enabling the full transfer of liability away from their projects under the Endangered Species Act or under voluntary mitigation options with the assurance that their investments are delivering actual, quantified conservation benefits to the species.
We provide certainty to our landowner partners under a free market mitigation business model that recognizes that they have a scarce and valuable resource on their property. Our compensation model allows landowners to receive a meaningful up-front payment that allows them to make independent financial decisions for their operations and their families versus a government type least cost annual payment structure.
CGC gives landowners the ability to monetize an existing or newly created biological resource over time with a financial structure that is typically very competitive with conventional development arrangements. Landowners are paid at the time of a credit transaction, up front, versus over time. This allows landowners and CGC to make independent decisions about where to re-invest these funds in the next landscape scale project versus being dependent on annual payment programs that seek to only marginally compensate landowners for their wildlife resources over traditional income streams.
A key component of achieving permanent protection required to responsibly offset the impacts to endangered species comes through the conservation banker and private landowner partnering with a third party land trust who is responsible for holding the conservation easement. This is required by the USFWS conservation banking guidance. The conservation easement is accompanied by a by non-wasting endowment that is tied to the property in perpetuity for the long term management of the targeted species and separate endowment for the easement holder to monitor the terms of the conservation easement.