In January 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) launched an ambitious new conservation and mitigation program. The program encourages state and local public agencies to prepare voluntary “Regional Conservation Investment Strategies” to help guide and prioritize the conservation of natural resources in their region. Once reviewed by the public and approved by CDFW, these regional strategies can be used by anyone to help identify and implement conservation priorities and determine the best mitigation sites. Landowners may take the strategy a step further and develop a “Mitigation Credit Agreement.” Once reviewed by the public and approved by CDFW, this agreement provides credits for natural resources that can be used or sold. The program is flexible enough to allow use under a variety of state laws, including the California Endangered Species Act, California Environmental Quality Act and others. Several regional strategies have been approved by CDFW, others are underway, and several mitigation credit agreements are in development.
This course will introduce this exciting new program and provide essential information for those considering preparing or using a regional strategy or credit agreement. The course is taught by experts who have been implementing it since the legislation passed in 2017.
The course will cover the following topics:
- Program origins and legislative history
- Purpose of the program
- Status of the program statewide
- Differences between Regional Conservation Assessment (RCA), Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS) and Mitigation Credit Agreement (MCA)
- Overview of Fish and Game Code requirements and CDFW Guidelines
- Process for RCA, RCIS and MCA preparation, review and approval
- Use of MCAs for natural resource compliance under relevant state laws
- Comparison between MCAs and mitigation banks
- Relationship to other state and federal wildlife conservation programs
- The future of the program