Wildlands is pleased to announce the final approval of the Rogue Valley Vernal Pool Mitigation and Conservation Bank, located in Jackson County, Oregon. The project has been approved through an agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Oregon Department of State Lands, and in coordination with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Rogue Valley Council of Governments to mitigate permitted impacts to vernal pools, wetlands, vernal pool fairy shrimp, and large-flowered woolly meadowfoam. Mitigation credits developed at the Rogue Valley Bank allow public and private developers in the Agate Desert vernal pool region, which includes portions of Jackson, Douglas, Josephine, and Klamath counties, to responsibly meet their mitigation requirements.
The 131-acre project represents one of the highest priority private lands identified for conservation in the Rogue Valley. The project will focus on the conservation and management of federally listed threatened and endangered species and their associated wetland habitat. The property is permanently protected with a conservation easement held by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and a non-wasting endowment has been established to ensure management of the property in perpetuity.
The Bank property supports a large, intact expanse of vernal pools and swales with known occurrences of the federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp and the federally endangered large-flowered woolly meadowfoam. The Bank is located within designated critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp.
Bank credits generated at the Rogue Valley Bank can be purchased by public agencies and by private developers who need to fulfill mitigation for permitted impacts authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of State Lands, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Purchasing credits typically streamlines the process for projects needing to provide mitigation.
“Generally development impacts to vernal pool habitat are small and fragmented. By purchasing credits at the Bank, both public and private development projects can contribute to a larger, higher functioning vernal pool complex that will be managed in perpetuity, thereby fulfilling the developer’s mitigation needs while simultaneously helping the agencies meet their mitigation, conservation, and recovery goals.” Said Julie Mentzer, Director of Environmental Operations for the Pacific Northwest division of Wildlands based in Portland.
This is Wildlands’ first approved bank in Oregon. The company manages over 45 such projects in California and Washington. “We are so excited to have our first bank approved in Oregon. Wildlands is proud to provide a needed mitigation and conservation alternative in an area most agree is critically important to the continued existence of vernal pool species in the Rogue Valley,” said Mentzer.
Additional projects are in the works in Oregon. “We see a lot of opportunity for our company in Oregon, and we hope this is just the first of many new projects as several others are already in planning,” added Mentzer.