A conservation or mitigation bank is privately or publicly owned land managed for its natural resource values. In exchange for permanently protecting, managing, and monitoring the land, the bank operator is allowed to sell or transfer habitat credits to project proponents who need to satisfy legal requirements for mitigating the environmental impacts of projects.
A privately owned conservation or mitigation bank is a free-market enterprise that --
- offers landowners economic incentives to protect natural resources;
- saves project proponents time and money by providing them with the certainty of pre-approved compensation lands to meet their mitigation needs.
A publicly owned conservation or mitigation bank --
- offers the sponsoring public agency advance mitigation for large projects or multiple years of operations and maintenance.