Ridge Top Ranch Wildlife Conservation Bank
WRA developed a project strategy to support the landowner’s goals and maximize the ecological value of the property.
WRA worked with the landowner to determine the highest and best use of their property in Benicia, California. Since the property was located in critical habitat for California red-legged frog, and since it was zoned agriculture, we determined that the best use would be a wildlife species conservation bank. We then commenced in the studies and entitlement process to create the first frog and butterfly bank in the State.
WRA led the project from conception through entitlement and currently manages the bank operations and provides land management services.
Ridge Top Ranch Wildlife Conservation Bank is a 750-acre cattle ranch located in southern Solano County. The property supports two federally listed wildlife species: California red-legged frog and Callippe silverspot butterfly. Since historic land practices on the property prevented the potential breeding habitat from being suitable; frogs were originally absent on the property. WRA submitted a frog translocation plan to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that would bring fertile egg masses to the property into enhanced ponds managed to be suitable habitat for the frog. The translocation plan was approved, and the first translocation of egg masses occurred in February 2012 and was very successful, with over 100 juvenile frogs observed in the two restored recipient ponds the following fall.
WRA also prepared a Bank Prospectus and Bank Enabling Instrument for Ridge Top Ranch to gain approval as a bank with the USFWS, which occurred in 2012. WRA is currently conducting annual land management and monitoring tasks to ensure the enhanced habitats are meeting the needs of the species and working with the client to market frog and butterfly credits to projects that may need species’ habitat conservation credits.
WRA Landscape Restoration strategically controls artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus), yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), and distaff thistle (Carthamus lanatus). By reducing the cover of the weeds, native plants important to the butterfly can thrive, helping that species. In addition, the dense thistles can hamper the movement of the frog across the uplands. By removing them it helps maintain movement corridors for the frog to disperse throughout the property.
The Bank is approved and mitigation credits are available for two federally listed wildlife species.
The Bank, approved in 2012, not only provides mitigation credits for two federally listed wildlife species: California red-legged frog and Callippe silverspot butterfly, but also helped extend the occupied habitat of the red-legged frog through WRA’s successful habitat restoration and frog translocation work. Meanwhile our client has monetized the conservation resources of the property which otherwise was viewed as a losing asset.
For more information:
- Ridge Top Ranch website
- WRA blog: Mitigation Banking at Ridge Top Ranch Provides Habitat for Endangered Frogs and Butterflies
- PERC Report: Conservation Banking Success at Ridge Top Ranch
- NMBC Article: Species Translocation Optimizes Conservation Bank Value at Ridge Top
If you are interested in buying mitigation credits from this Bank, please visit our mitigation credits page.
Chief Executive Officer
Wildlife and Fisheries Director
Patricia Valcarcel, CWB®
Regulatory Program Director
Scott Yarger, ISA Certified Arborist
Sundaran Gillespie, GISP
Rei Scampavia, PhD
Senior Restoration Contractor
Benicia North Gateway II, LLC
Habitat Restoration Design
Mitigation Bank Management