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Bidwell Ranch Project: Mitigation Bank and Management Plan Development

What's New?

The Meeting Summary for the Citizen Work Group meeting held on Monday, July 21st, 2008 is now available. The purpose of the meeting was to update the Citizen Work Group on the progress of the Bidwell Ranch Mitigation and Conservation Bank Project and to gather information and suggestions from those in attendance.

Presentations by the Project Team covered the progress of the project, a summary of the April meeting with the Interagency Review Team, the status of the Final Wetland Delineation, a discussion of the Management Plan components, and a review of the selection criteria for the future land manager and conservation easement holder. The Project Team included representatives from the City of Chico and River Partners (the project lead). The meeting was open to the public.

Staff members from the City of Chico and River Partners presented the Bank Agreement Package for the Bidwell Ranch Project to the Interagency Review Team on August 21, 2008. The IRT provided positive feedback and the Project Team is moving ahead with the project. We are currently answering some questions that the IRT had and finalizing the Bank Agreement Package. The Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing a public notice announcing the preparation of the Bidwell Ranch Bank on September 9th, 2008.

Project Overview

In fall 2006 (See timeline), River Partners began working with the City of Chico to develop a conservation and mitigation bank on the Bidwell Ranch property. River Partners will review and compile the technical information and produce the documents necessary to establish the Bank. Ultimately, the City of Chico will decide whether to move forward with the mitigation bank. River Partners and the City will work with the regulatory agencies to gain approval of the bank.

A Conservation and Mitigation Bank on Bidwell Ranch may provide a mechanism to protect natural resources on site, ease regulatory burdens on infrastructure and private development projects, and pay for the long-term management of the site. Public participation is an important part of the project and citizens may join the email list for the project or join the Citizen Work Group to provide input. As part of the project, public access and recreational activities will be identified that are consistent with the site as a Conservation and Mitigation Bank.

Please see the Project Summary and the Frequently Asked Questions information sheet.

Timeline

Click here for a timeline of the project.

Upcoming Events

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for frequently asked questions.

Conservation and Mitigation Banks

The following information comes from the California Department of Fish & Game Habitat Conservation Planning Branch.

A conservation or mitigation bank is privately or publicly owned land managed for its natural resource values. In exchange for permanent environmental protection, the bank operator may sell habitat credits to developers who need to satisfy legal requirements for the environmental impacts of development. A conservation or mitigation bank is a free-market enterprise that:

A conservation bank protects threatened and endangered species upland habitat. Credits are established for the specific species that occur on the site. Mitigation banking compensates for unavoidable wetland losses. Mitigation banking helps to consolidate small, fragmented wetland mitigation projects into large contiguous sites which will have much higher wildlife habitat values. Conservation banks must be approved by the wildlife agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mitigation banks are generally approved by the wildlife agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Economic Incentives

The mitigation banker receives payments from developers and governments to protect and manage natural habitats.

Time and Money

The mitigation banker assumes all liability for the ecological success of the habitat and management; therefore the developer is released from that responsibility.

Banks are established before impacts occur, reducing permiting time and expenses, and making costs much more predictable.

Mitigation banks provide an economy of scale that often reduces costs over other remedies.

Mitigation banks streamline the permit process. The bank is already approved by the agencies, providing a much simpler transaction (purchase of the appropriate number of credits).

Ecological Benefits

A bank's large size allows for ecological processes to continue and provides a greater biodiversity potential than a collection of small, scattered mitigation projects.

Mitigation occurs before impacts.

Large preserves typically have more resources and management attention than small mitigation projects.

For more information, please contact River Partners at info@riverpartners.org