Wildlands is pleased to announce the Lytle Creek Conservation Bank (“Bank”) has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”). The Bank will permanently protect and preserve approximately 182 acres of suitable habitat for the conservation of the federally endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat and Santa Ana River woollystar.
The Bank is located in the Lytle Creek wash area north of Interstate 210 and southwest of Interstate 215 in San Bernardino County, near the cities of Fontana and Rialto.
The San Bernardino kangaroo rat is federally endangered and listed by the State of California as a Species of Special Concern. It is a small, nocturnal rodent usually found in alluvial washes in the Inland Empire.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles
The Santa Ana River woollystar is a federally endangered shrub found in similar habitat to the kangaroo rat along the Santa Ana River and its tributaries.
A conservation bank is a habitat preserve developed to offset unavoidable permitted impacts to federally endangered species. Public and private development projects can purchase habitat “credits” from the Lytle Creek Conservation Bank with approval from USFWS.
The Bank is being managed by Wildlands, a leader in developing and managing conservation banks throughout California, Oregon and Washington. Wildlands will be responsible for credit sales and management of the habitat being preserved for the benefit of the federally listed species.
Conservation banks provide a solution for public and private developers while significantly contributing to the recovery of the species on the preserved lands.
“The Bank will assist development projects in the Inland Empire to proceed in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Brian Monaghan, Vice President at Wildlands. “Developers with fragmented Fish and Wildlife Service permitted impacts are contributing to a block of preserved habitat that can contribute to the recovery of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat and Santa Ana River woollystar.”
The Bank will be permanently protected with a conservation easement and an endowment to manage the property in perpetuity under the stewardship of the non-profit Wildlife Heritage Foundation.
“We are proud to be a land steward over such an important project in an area that has experienced an explosion of growth over the past few decades. This is a real opportunity to protect a substantial amount of the natural landscape in the Lytle Creek wash area,” said Pat Shea, Executive Director of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation.
“Conservation banks provide an opportunity to conserve significant areas of habitat that are managed to ensure they retain their value to wildlife over time,” said Mendel Stewart, Supervisor of the USFWS Carlsbad Office. “Having lost much of its historic habitat, the establishment of this conservation bank is particularly important for conservation of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat.”
Additional conservation and restoration projects are planned by Wildlands in Southern California to meet the demand of public and private developers needing to offset permitted impacts.