1. What is a natural asset opportunity assessment?
Natural asset opportunity assessments are conducted to identify and value marketable natural resource assets on private and public lands. The studies typically consist of an ecological assessment, a market and regulatory analysis, and a financial valuation.
2. How will I be able to use the results?
The results of the assessment can inform decisions of whether or not to participate in an environmental market, but can also influence the valuation for an appraisal and sales and acquisitions, loan applications, and investments.
3. Who conducts the assessments?
WRA, Inc. conducts the opportunity assessments. Our diverse team includes biologists, permitting specialists, landscape architects, finance professionals and mitigation banking experts who bring decades of experience in wetland and species bank assessment, development, entitlement, and management. WRA partners with foresters to conduct forest carbon assessments and with water rights trading experts for studies involving water rights.
4. How large does the parcel need to be for a mitigation bank to be feasible?
The optimal size of a mitigation bank depends on the market for credits as well as on the local real estate regulations and constraints. In most cases, it is best to work with a property over 100 acres and with the potential to preserve or restore over 50 acres of wetlands or species habitat. In certain markets or for certain species, the property can be as small as 10 acres or as large as 100,000 acres.
5. What if I am interested in learning more about potential monetization opportunities on my property, but I don’t want to pay for a complete assessment?
In some cases, WRA will conduct a preliminary assessment of your property at low cost to identify whether or not marketable resources exist. Depending on the outcomes of this initial assessment, the landowner can decide whether or not to have WRA conduct a complete opportunity assessment.
6. How much would it cost to develop a mitigation bank on my property?
Mitigation bank development costs vary depending on the property and the restoration and management plans. For a relatively simple project, the cost would be in the range of $100,000 to develop a bank, before credits can be sold. For very complex mitigation banks involving multiple agencies, multiple types of credits and some creative design, the cost can rise to over $1 million. In some cases, WRA has connected landowner clients with investors who are willing to fund upfront costs in exchange for a portion of the bank returns over time. In other cases the landowner incurs all bank development costs.
7. How much money can I expect to make from credit sales?
The value of a mitigation bank is largely dependent on the location and the market context. A 745-acre bank that WRA helped develop in Solano County, California has been issued species credits that are estimated to be worth $18 million total. Estimating the value of a potential bank is complex, however, which is why WRA offers the natural asset monetization assessments.
8. Can I develop a mitigation bank on my property if it is already covered by a conservation easement?
If you are considering putting a conservation easement on your property, have WRA conduct a natural asset monetization assessment first, so that you can be sure that you are not overlooking marketable natural resources and leaving money on the table. If there is already a conservation easement on your property, there will be lower potential for a mitigation bank. Based on the type of easement and associated restrictions, WRA can advise you on whether or not environmental market opportunities are likely to exist.
9. If I develop a mitigation bank, do I have to place a permanent conservation easement on my property?
In the context of wetland and species banking, conservation easements are required because the land must be protected in perpetuity. Other natural resource asset opportunities may exist that do not require an easement.
10. Can I continue to ranch / farm the land once a mitigation bank is developed on my property?
Mitigation banks can be compatible with ranching and farming, depending on the type of activity. As part of the natural asset monetization assessment, WRA can evaluate whether or not banking would work on your property given your specific management practices.