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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

March 11, 2016    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Mitigation Mail
Conservation and Wetland News You Can Bank On


This week saw real movement in the US on mitigation. On March 7th, public and private sector groups at a White House roundtable announced more than $2B in planned investment in mitigation and restoration projects. The US Fish and Wildlife Service also published proposed revisions to its general Mitigation Policy this week in the Federal Register, kicking off a 60 day open comment period. A proposed Compensatory Mitigation Policy specifically covering the Endangered Species Act is expected to follow shortly. 

The dynamic has been a bit different in the UK, where Defra's finally published an evaluation report of biodiversity offset pilots and results from its consultation on biodiversity offsets...two and a half years after it was completed. The consultation indicates strong ambivalence about offsetting in the UK, which Defra appears to have taken to heart.

In Australia, environmental groups have withdrawn from talks on a new Biodiversity Conservation Act in New South Wales citing undue influence by development interests, and a court decision that Western Australia's government failed follow its own offsets policy appears to be leading to stricter enforcement in the future.

Finally, EM just launched its annual carbon survey. Got carbon data? We've love to hear from you. Our 2016 water and biodiversity surveys are coming soon - stay tuned!

Happy reading,

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at

EM Exclusives

Integrated Capital Funds Can Finance Environmental Markets

Environmental entrepreneurs have been struggling to access mainstream finance, but the emergence of “integrated capital funds” could change that. These are pools of capital that can provide discretionary forms of debt, equity and grants to support social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses are beyond the scope of microcredit but not mature enough for conventional commercial markets.

  – Read it at Ecosystem Marketplace.


Can Conservation Finance Reach The Mainstream Investment Market?

Environmental degradation poses a massive threat to our civilization, and conservation finance must go mainstream if it’s to mobilize the kinds of funds needed to address it. Credit Suisse and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment say this mainstreaming can be achieved - here’s how.

  – Read it here.


Brazil’s Green Municipalities: What Works? What Doesn’t? Why?

In 2008, the Brazilian administrative district of Paragominas had one of the highest rates of deforestation in the Amazon. By 2010, it had turned itself around and become a template for “Green Municipalities” across Brazil. Since then, efforts to replicate the success have yielded mixed results and generated valuable insights into what it takes to slow deforestation in the Amazon. This is the second in a series.

  – Keep reading here.


On World Wetlands Day: The Allure And Elusiveness Of Mangroves As Carbon Sinks

Wetlands, and especially mangrove forests, sequester far more carbon per square mile than do tropical forests, and they also provide shelter for fish, protect the coast from storm surges, and keep coral reefs alive. On World Wetlands day, we examined the unappreciated value of these critical ecosystems.

  – Learn more.

Mitigation News  

White House Roundtable Sees $2B in Commitments for Restoration by Public, Private Actors

Public and private sector groups at a White House roundtable this week announced more than $2B in conservation and mitigation investments in natural resources. Announcements included $300M by Ecosystem Investment Partners in restoration projects, $200M from the California High Speed Rail Authority for habitat mitigation, and $1.7M in stormwater infrastructure in Washington DC by Encourage Capital and TNC's NatureVest impact investment arm. The National Mitigation Banking Association also noted that it expects members to double investment, by more than $300M, in coming years as demand for advanced mitigation ramps up in the United States.

  – Read a press release here.


Can New Defra Report Help Biodiversity Offsets' Bad Rep in the UK?

Rural England's Country Land and Business Association says it's time for the nation needs to move past battles over biodiversity offsets and focus on making them work. “It is time to move past the simplistic arguments about whether ‘offsetting’ is wholly good or wholly bad and instead establish a framework that properly measures the value of our biodiversity and help planning authorities to decide what could be offset and what should not," the group's president Ross Murray recently told Farming UK. 

The association has new research to buttress its case: the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) just released a long-awaited study on existing biodiversity offset pilot programs in regions including Coventry, Warwickshire and Essex. The new data is part of larger research efforts to inform offset policy and not only looks at the ecological benefits of offsets but at how they impact the use of resources and whether they're effective at streamlining the compensation for biodiversity loss process. 

  – Read Defra's report here.
  – Get coverage from Farming UK.


Updates to US Species Mitigation Policy Coming Soon

On March 8, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published proposed revisions to its mitigation policy, starting the 60 day open comment period. Interested parties are invited to make comments on the revised policy, which the Service says needed to be updated from its 1981 version to clarify purposes, incorporate scientific advances, and better cope with accelerated habitat loss. 

  – Read the announcement in the Federal Register (pdf).


IPBES Kicks Off New Progress Reporting for SDGs and Aichi Targets

At the close of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) meeting last month, the platform launched a new three-year scientific assessment of ecosystem services and biodiversity, aimed at measuring the progress member countries are making on the 2010 Aichi Targets as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. IPBES also released a report evaluating scenarios and models for sustainable ecosystem management.

  – Learn more here.


The Case for Net Positive Impact: Served Up Two Ways

IUCN recently released a pair of papers, Net Positive Impact on Biodiversity: The Business Case and Net Positive Impact on Biodiversity: The Conservation Case. The first takes a closer look at recent private sector interest in voluntary commitments for biodiversity conservation; the second details how an NPI approach can support broader conservation goals.

  – Learn more and download the papers here.


WA Court: Follow Your Own Offsets Rules

A Western Australia Supreme Court decision invalidating approval for a AUD $1.6B (US $1.2B) state highway extension project has implications for future projects and government decision-making on offsets. The Court found that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to take into account its own offsets policy when it concluded that the use of offsets would make a project with "an unacceptable environmental impact acceptable," as the law firm Kingwood and Mallesons explains. The Court also noted that offsets based on land acquisition and management do not materially mitigate or offset environmental degradation. The Minister for Environment is appealing the decision.

  – Lexology has analysis from Kingwood and Mallesons.


Pakistan's First Public-Private Partnership for Conservation

An electric company setting up a hydropower project in Pakistan is one half of the nation's first public-private partnership for conservation, in coordination with the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The parties signed an agreement for implementation of a Biodiversity Action Plan, committing to long-term care of the biodiversity-rich Poonch River Mahaseer National Park and ensuring a net gain in wildlife by conforming to strict global conservation standards. 

  – Learn more from the Daily Times.


Australian Green Groups Cry Foul during Biodiversity Law Talks

Late last month in Australia, amid talks to introduce a new Biodiversity Conservation Act in New South Wales, a large consortium of environmental groups including WWF Australia, Wilderness Society and the Total Environmental Centre abruptly withdrew. The groups say minority development interests are influencing the legislation, resulting in an ineffectual new policy for protecting the state's wildlands.  The environmental groups are now insisting on speaking with the Environment, Planning and Primaries Industries Ministers. 

  – Keep reading here.


Business Still Balking on Biodiversity Benefits-Sharing in Kerala

India's Kerala State Biodiversity Board is seeking federal help in implementing its Access and Benefit Sharing mechanism for the commercial use of biological resources. Board members say pharmaceutical companies, agro-based industries and tea and coffee manufacturers are among the groups thwarting implementation efforts. The board is asking for a government order mandating that companies must divert finance to the State Biodiversity Fund for conservation activities, designed to protect the resources on which their businesses depend. 

  – The Hindu has coverage.


Building Best Practices for Biodiversity in Renewable Power Projects

Renewable energy developer Anesco took to heart a glum statistic that says 60% of the UK's biodiversity has declined in the last 50 years: it's now partnering with UK environmental nonprofit RSPB to shape biodiversity management plans on Anesco's many renewable projects. RSPB will work with Anesco on its solar power farms, advising developers on best practices to benefit at-risk species and other wildlife.

  – Learn more here.


Be Wary of Ag Wetland Banks, Two Conservationists Warn

Two South Dakota conservationists say that the majority of wetland mitigation bank sites don't deliver the same functions as those that were lost, in their argument against the US Department of Agriculture's new Wetlands Mitigation Banking Program for farmers, which aims to create less costly –and less rigorous – banks for agricultural producers. The conservationists express concern that the program will act as something of an incentive for drainage, leading to massive wetland loss with poor-quality mitigation.  

  – Read it here.


Collaborative Approach to Stopping Deforestation Yields Results

So-called "non-state market-driven conservation schemes" might be a mouthful, but they're successful in reducing deforestation – or at least marginally improving rates over business-as-usual, say Stanford University researchers who explored three such regimes in heavily-logged regions of Chile. They also concluded that the more collaboration that takes place between industry and environmental groups, the more successful they'll be.

  – Read it at Mongabay.




Assistant Director of Markets

Ecosystem Investment Partners - Baltimore MD, USA

EIP is a national leader in developing and selling land-based environmental offsets, principally through Section 404 Clean Water Act mitigation banks. EIP is a dynamic, entrepreneurial private firm that pioneered private equity as a capital source for large-scale, third-party mitigation offset solutions for permittees. EIP’s current portfolio of 16 mitigation banks spans 60,000 acres and includes over 100 miles of stream restoration. EIP’s projects range from bog restoration in Minnesota to coastal marsh restoration in Louisiana. EIP is in a growth phase (having recently raised our third institutional investment fund) and will be substantially increasing the number of mitigation banks owned and managed by the firm over the next 4 years. As such, we seek a dynamic professional to join our credit sales and marketing team.

  – Learn more here.



Environmental Incentives - South Lake Tahoe CA or Denver CO, USA

Based in South Lake Tahoe, CA or possibly Denver, CO, the Associate will support one or a combination of Environmental Incentives' Practice Areas including Wildlife & Land which designs and implements innovative conservation solutions, and Water which aims to ensure water bodies meet community goals.  Environmental Incentives designs performance-driven approaches to conservation, aligning public and private sector investment objectives to create resilient water, land and wildlife resources.

  – Learn more here.


Enviropreneur Institute 2016

Property and Environment Research Center - Bozeman MT, USA

The Enviropreneur Institute is an accelerator for entrepreneurs who are harnessing the power of markets to solve environmental issues or enhance environmental quality. The Institute gives Fellows the opportunity to:

  • develop key entrepreneurial skills and learn from a diverse faculty of experts;
  • acquire market and customer validation techniques to learn, launch, and grow an idea into a market;
  • dig into the successes and struggles of practicing enviropreneurs;
  • work with a rich group of mentors in PERC’s alumni network working on similar projects around the world; and
  • scale and grow profitable conservation businesses or market-based environmental policies.

9 June - 24 July 2016. Denver CO, Bozeman MT, and online. 

  – Learn more here.




Payments for Ecosystem Services to conserve biodiversity in the South: effective and fair?

In the face of continuing biodiversity loss, the perceived partial failure of traditional environmental approaches, and the decrease in public funding, governments, NGOs and donor agencies have increasingly called for implementing new and innovative mechanisms to finance conservation. One of these instruments are Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). After providing a synthesis of the diversity and goals of existing PES initiatives, as well as of their associated conflicting narratives, this seminar will review evidence related to environmental effectiveness and social fairness of PES initiatives in different contexts of the global South. The discussion will outline possible avenues of future research that can enhance the evidence base on PES, which should in turn help better inform those interested in promoting or challenging incentive-based conservation. This session will extensively draw on existing field evidence and experience of the presenter, and particularly on the findings generated by the EU-Biodiversa Project INVALUABLE, coordinated by IDDRI. 5 April 2016. Paris, France. 

  – Learn more here.


National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Headed to Texas in 2016, we invite you to join us at this incredible conference on mitigation, conservation & ecosystem banking! Entering its 19th year, this Conference is well established as a "must attend event" for those in ecosystem banking, offering sessions for the very advanced to those new to banking. Founded in 1997 with a diverse steering committee of leaders in the regulatory, banking and environmental community, this is the first - and only - National hands-on conference focused on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking to protect wetlands, endangered species and other natural resources. It is well known for bringing together key stakeholders to explore policy & practice, share successes and failures, and learn about trends, science and emerging markets. 10-13 May 2016. Fort Worth TX, USA.

  – Learn more here.


2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Council has selected Hawaii, United States of America, as the host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress - the world's largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world's most pressing environment and development challenges. 1-10 September 2016. Hawaii, USA.

  – Learn more here.


ACES 2016

ACES: A Community on Ecosystem Services represents a dynamic and growing assembly of professionals, researchers, and policy-makers involved with ecosystem services. The ACES 2016 Conference brings together this community in partnership with Ecosystem Markets and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP), providing an open forum to share experiences, methods, and tools for assessing and incorporating ecosystem services into public and private decisions. The focus of the conference is to link science, practice, and sustainable decision-making by bringing together the ecosystem services community from around the United States and the globe. ACES 2016 will bring together leaders in government, NGOs, academia, Native American tribes, and the private sector to advance the use of ecosystem services science and practice in conservation, restoration, resource management, and development decisions. We hope you will make plans to join more than 500 ecosystem service stakeholders in this collaborative discussion to advance use of an ecosystem services framework for natural resource management and policy. Deadline to submit a proposal for a session is March 31st! 5-9 December 2016. Jacksonville FL, USA.

  – Learn more here.


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