Open Letter to Media and Membership

Open Letter to Media and Membership following on the November 3, 2015 U.S. Presidential Memorandum

On August 31, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt spoke these words to an audience in Kansas. “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us…”

Over 100 years later, the United States continues to try and find a balance between current use of the natural resources of our land and ensuring that future generations have access to the same resources. Today, land restoration and preservation activities employ Americans in all 50 states who do everything from planting beach dunes to establishing natural grasslands in disturbed areas. However, much of this activity takes place due to direct government spending on the local, state and federal levels. There is great opportunity to increase private sector involvement and investment in land restoration.

Recently, a Presidential Memorandum was released that encourages private investors to restore public land and natural resources through mitigation banks, where investors can perform compensatory mitigation for credits that can be used to offset development impacts. The National Mitigation Banking Association is an association of entrepreneurial companies that purchase land and waters to restore them and create these mitigation banks. More than 100 conservation banks and more than 1300 wetland and stream mitigation banks have been approved, restoring and protecting over a million acres of private land. NMBA members have raised more than a billion private dollars that can be put to work, in cooperation with federal agencies, for conservation. By creating a marketplace for land restoration credits, the economic uses of public resources can be balanced with their long-term stewardship. The land can be productively used, but not used up.

Wayne White, President
National Mitigation Banking Association

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Presidential Directive on Mitigation Celebrated

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Mitigation Banking Association (NMBA) applauds this week’s Presidential Memorandum encouraging private investments in America’s natural resources. This policy directive will ensure equivalent standards for all forms of mitigation and a preference for mitigation performed in advance of impacts, creating greater market certainty and environmental outcomes. “This Presidential Memorandum strikes the right balance between economic development and restoring the nation’s natural resource endowment,” NMBA President Wayne White said. “With implementation of this directive, NMBA members look forward to increased private capital investment in green infrastructure under an invigorated public private partnership. Full implementation will cut permitting times for development projects, reduce government cost, and increase predictability in the building and replacement of critical infrastructure.”

NMBA represents the private investment sector of the $25B natural restoration industry supporting 220,000 jobs across the country – jobs ranging from Ph.D. scientists and engineers to nurserymen and forestry workers. Our members provide the highest quality mitigation available for wetland, stream and other impacts by relying on Universal Principles of Mitigation. NMBA advocates for viable, high-quality environmental markets to protect and restore important, scarce, and sensitive natural resources as offsets to unavoidable impacts associated with economic development.

We believe that when properly framed by sound government policy, private investment in restoration and conservation is a powerful tool to meet today’s growing environmental challenges. These include offsets for impacts to endangered species habitat, natural resource damages from oil and chemical spills, diminished water quality, and the need for green infrastructure protection to combat extreme weather events including storms, floods, and drought. Additionally, strengthened compensatory mitigation policies applied to public lands will create net gain of publicly-owned natural resources. With this new policy we expect to double the pace of private investment from the 2014 rate of 85,000 acres per year to 200,000 acres per year within the next five years.

Restoration and conservation investments require predictability to attract the innovation and capital of third-party providers, as well as to provide certainty to consumers of compensatory mitigation credits. NMBA endorses today’s Presidential Memorandum and will continue to work diligently with federal agencies to maintain and repair our nation’s precious natural resources.
Media Contact:
Wayne White, President
(202) 457-8909

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Incorporating Natural Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services

The Obama Administration has recently released a new memorandum directing Federal agencies to factor the value of ecosystem services into Federal planning and decision-making:  “Our natural world provides critical contributions that support and protect our communities and economy. For instance, Louisiana’s coastal wetlands provide billions of dollars worth of flood protection and other benefits. Preserving and restoring forests in the Catskill Mountains enables New York City to access clean water at a cost several times less than the cost of building a new water-filtration plant. And current efforts to plant trees along Oregon’s salmon-rich rivers will improve local water quality – saving costs associated with installing expensive machinery to achieve the same purpose.”  Read Full Release via

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Strategic Restructuring

The National Mitigation Banking Association (NMBA) Board of Directors announced a reorganization of the NMBA Executive Board. In a strategic restructuring, NMBA immediate Past-President Wayne White will immediately assume the board presidency replacing current President Michael Sprague.

White thanked Sprague for his tireless work on behalf of the NMBA that included a ground-up makeover of the association’s website, shepherding the creation of the Association’s Strategic Plan for the next five years, and authoring the revolutionary technological upgrades of Mitigation Analyst, the ecosystem big data tool so many NMBA members rely on every day.

White said “Mike can have the most positive effect on our Association by spearheading national policy initiatives and advancing technology solutions that will continue NMBA’s mission of conserving and restoring America’s wetlands, streams, and other habitat resources through sound economic and environmental practices.” “With that in mind” White added, “I am happy to resume the presidency of the Association I love because it doesn’t just point out environmental problems, but offers scalable solutions to the many environmental challenges facing our nation’s natural resources.”

Sprague thanked Wayne White for assuming the presidency and all the duties that go with that position and added, “While I accepted the NMBA Presidency thinking it was the best way I could advance the Association’s mission, it became clear to me that time spent on some of the responsibilities of that position was time that might be better dedicated to other critical Association activities.” Sprague emphasized “I’m not leaving the NMBA Board and will continue to work for investment, protection and restoration of our nation’s critical natural resources. Meanwhile, my employees and clients have been subtly reminding me not to forget my day job as President of Trout Headwaters, Inc. (THI), especially as THI expands its portfolio of ecosystem offset projects into new markets and launches its EcoBlu Analyst environmental big data efficiency tool.

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FWS Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken Tossed out by Federal Judge

FWS Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken Tossed out by Federal Judge

U.S. District Judge Robert Junell of the Western District of Texas held that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to follow its own regulations for considering ongoing conservation efforts for the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) before its March 2014 listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

NMBA will continue to track this issue and work diligently with the FWS and our members to better understand the ramifications to this emerging market and ensure mitigation equivalency for our industry as next steps are decided.

Read more:  Permian Basin Summary Judgement Order

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Time of Transition

Even as summer vacations begin to wind down, your association is pursuing multiple initiatives and missions.  From continuing NMBA’s input on species and conservation banking policies, to undertaking new data and research reports, to growing our membership, these past few months have been exceedingly busy.  My deep thanks to the Board of Directors and the committees for all they are accomplishing.

As NMBA moves to a new level, with increased capacity, we are taking some time to ‘sharpen the saw.’   While our association’s year-in, year-out focus for some nearly 20 years has been to advance federal policy, and while that track has enabled our growth, it now begs that we improve basic infrastructure needed to support not only the new executive director, but most importantly, our growing membership.  This new website and improved communications and data capacity are but a few examples of the many changes underway.

Expect over the next few months to see improvements to NMBA industry outreach and, importantly, increased effectiveness in moving forward vital policies and markets.  Expect too that there will be more information at your fingertips, and mobile with your work.

Your new committee chairs and the board of directors that I am privileged to serve need your help.  I hope you’ll find time to thank some of the many volunteers who are working daily to advance the goals of NMBA and the industry.  I would love your personal commitment to volunteering on a committee or increasing your membership level.  I would be honored if you could find a way to help us to better achieve our mission.

There are exciting industry announcements on the near horizon.  NMBA has tremendous opportunities in this year to advance our work, so your willingness to support the association can make all the difference in our success.  Please consider reaching out now and getting involved.

Thanks in advance for your renewed support.  – Michael C. Sprague, President

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Wildlands Begins Restoration

Wildlands Inc is pleased to announce that restoration is underway at the recently approved San Luis Rey Wetland Mitigation Bank in Oceanside, San Diego County, California. A groundbreaking ceremony was attended by local, state and federal agencies involved with the project including the City of Oceanside, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, SWildlands San Luis Rey Wetland Bankan Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The San Luis Rey Wetland Mitigation Bank is a 54-acre existing agricultural field that will be restored to native floodplain wetland habitat. The bank is being established to offset unavoidable impacts to wetlands and riparian habitat in Northern San Diego County and Southwestern Riverside County. Public and private development projects with permits from the Army Corps of Engineers or California Department of Fish and Wildlife can mitigate their impacts by purchasing mitigation “credits” from the bank.

Wildlands is a long-standing NMBA member and supporter.



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EIP Receives Mitigation Bank Approval in North Tampa Region

Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) received word recently that the Mitigation Banking Instrument for its Old Florida Mitigation Bank has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps and the other federal and state members of the Interagency Review Team (IRT).  According to EIP Director of Operations Dave Urban, “This approval was completed in a very professional and timely manner by the staff of the Jacksonville District and the IRT, and will allow us to move to the next stage of activity in the permanent protection and restoration of an important wet pine savannah, marsh and prairie ecosystem in the watershed to the north of Tampa and St. Petersburg.”

EIP acquired the 1,095 acre parcel in order to establish the Old Florida Mitigation Bank (OFMB) in May of 2013, and the bank had previously been permitted under a separate state regulatory program by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. (SWFWMA)

National Mitigation Banking Association is proud to have EIP as an active part of our industry and association.  Dave Urban is a past president of NMBA and EIP’s Adam Davis currently serves on the board of directors.

Read more at:

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NMBA Members – Restoration in the News

Lashley Joins Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Chesapeake Trust

As part of GreenVest’s on-going efforts to provide leadership and advocacy in the environmental field, President Doug Lashley has recently accepted two new positions with some of the Chesapeake Bay’s strongest and most innovative conservation efforts.

In January 2015, Doug was honored to accept a position as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which has been working since 1971 to fulfill its mission of bringing together “individuals, organizations, businesses and governments to find collaborative solutions, to build a strong commitment to stewardship, and to deliver innovative, broadly-supported programs that benefit the land, waters, and residents of the Chesapeake Bay.”

In addition to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Doug is also excited to accept a role as an Advisory Committee Member for the Chesapeake Trust Fund Financing Task Force, a new University of Maryland collaboration between the Environmental Finance Center and the Center for Social Value Creation.

Doug is past president and a current board member of the National Mitigation Banking Association.

Read more at: 

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Universal Principles of Compensatory Mitigation

A white paper recently released by the National Mitigation Banking Association provides critical Universal Principles of Compensatory Mitigationguidance for seven universal principles of compensatory mitigation regardless of regulatory authority.  While environmental offsets would likely be as diverse as the impacts themselves, consistent mitigation standards should be applied to all mitigation to assure the offset is fully provided in function over time. This free concise resource for government, non-profits, and industry was authored to support high environmental standards and to enable increasingly streamlined permitting.

>Download the white paper Universal Principles of Compensatory Mitigation

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