Relevance & Accountability

Hello and welcome to Common Ground Capital’s first blog! Its taken us too darn long to get this website up and running, but we finally completed it.

I’ve been thinking a while about what to write about and the number of choices to cover regarding the Lesser Prairie Chicken (“LPC”), the major focus of our company at the present time, are many. Instead of diving into the minutia of all things LPC chaos I wanted to talk about why our team felt we needed to start this venture versus stay in our past positions. In short it’s because we felt we could make a difference and positively impact the environment/energy intersection in this country at a time when stakeholders can’t afford another broken outcome in this space.  CGC’s mission is not just to “save the chicken”, but more broadly how do we save the landscape of the Southern Plains, an ecosystem that provides many ecosystem service benefits to society (clean air, clean water, food, fiber, biodiversity, recreation, etc).  The LPC is a major indicator species of this landscapes health and right now its not very healthy.

When we got into this crazy world of species mitigation credits in the Spring of 2012, we decided to go with a proven mitigation model from a regulatory context: conservation banking, regulated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) since 2003-an enternity in our small, but growing industry of mitigation banking.  The conservation banking model, through its rigorous financial and biological assurances, allows the real cost of conserving and restoring the species in a spcecies credit that allows certainty to be achieved by industry participants, our customers, who needed to transfer liability from impacting the species and its habitat.

We feel that our product, our significant knowledge and experience in working both the world of energy development, ranching and agriculture and wildlife conservation along with our general passion for working with stakeholders to create a sustainable and commercially viable outcome for this species makes us highly RELEVANT to the LPC challenge. We also feel like if you are going to go after something you go big and the LPC is one of the largest regional endangered species conservation challenges and likely species credit markets that we have ever had in this country. Unfortunately it resides in the cross hairs of the next generation of traditional and renewable energy development and risk of grassland conversation to agricultural crops at a scale that is hard to imagine.

We chose to be personally ACCOUNTABLE by putting our money and our careers on the line to start Common Ground Capital to work with interested landowners to develop our portfolio of LPC Conservation Banks across multiple states so that we could offer CERTAINTY to all stakeholders that there would be a tangible mitigation solution at the time of a listing decision for the LPC in March of 2014. Achieving the net conservation benefit/mitigation of the impact BEFORE THE IMPACT OCCURS has been a staple of what the USFWS has been telling stakeholders is a requirement to save this species since day one.

Common Ground Capital has made its choice regarding which mitigation model to invest in and we are sleeping well. We look forward to working with existing and new stakeholders who want to end up with a solution in March that provides Certainty for all parties who want to be a member of the responsible stakeholder and do the right thing club versus lets try something new that has not worked and end up in court club.  

If you want CERTAINTY by a team that is actually executing towards a solution, we want to work with you if we aren’t already. Developing conservation banks to benefit species, private landowners and serve industry needs is all we do.

Finally, it would be irresponsible for me to not send out a huge personal shout out to our greatest partners, our landowners, who have been working and trusting us through this LPC chaos for the last year and 1/2 plus. Your the best! Second another shout out to Restoration Systems of Raleigh, North Carolina-Americas strongest mitigation company and the best investment partner we could ever have!

Wayne Walker
Principal, Common Ground Capital