WRA Hosts Colorado Biodiversity Markets Event

WRA recently hosted a Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership (CESP) event on biodiversity markets in the state.  CESP exists to bring together individuals who are motivated to collaborate and share information on ecosystem service projects in the state.  The event, held at the Colorado State Land Board (SLB) office in Denver, attracted attendees from a variety of sectors, including private consultants, public agencies, nonprofits, landowners, and academics. Guests enjoyed presentations focused on specific biodiversity market opportunities emerging in the state.

Presenters Terry Fankhauser (left); Mindy Gottsegen (right)

Presenters Terry Fankhauser (left); Mindy Gottsegen (right)

The presentations sparked thoughtful questions and a vibrant discussion.  The event not only illuminated the rapid evolution of market-based biodiversity projects in the state, but also revealed the number of well-informed individuals who are eager to engage on these types of projects.

  • Mindy Gottsegen, Conservation Services Manager of the SLB, explained various efforts to generate new sources of revenue on their lands through conservation and ecosystem services projects.  The SLB is currently piloting species banking, wetland banking, and water augmentation projects in addition to field testing the Colorado Habitat Exchange quantification tool for sage grouse habitat on SLB land.  View the presentation here.
    WRA’s Chief Investment Officer, Ben Guillon, spoke about the Table Top Conservation Bank, a partnership between the SLB and WRA, to develop Colorado’s first private species conservation bank.  The property contains designated critical habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Credits are expected to be available by the end of 2016, following habitat restoration.  WRA’s work in developing Table Top Conservation Bank, including the preparation of regulatory approval documents and management plans, will help pave the way for other species conservation banks in Colorado.  View the presentation here.
  • Terry Fankhauser, Executive Vice President of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, announced the launching of the Colorado Habitat Exchange.  The Exchange provides incentives to landowners to conserve greater sage-grouse habitat in the state.  The Exchange takes an outcome-based approach to conservation; species credits are awarded based on the functional habitat on a site, as measured by a quantification tool. WRA will advise the Exchange in establishing financial and accounting systems and Tax Credit Connection will act as the Exchange Administrator.  Pilot projects are expected to begin this summer. Presentation to be posted soon.

The next CESP event will be held in Boulder, Colorado in late spring and will focus on carbon finance.  To stay informed, become a member of the Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership group on Linkedin.