Conservation Finance

Conservation Finance is the practice of raising and managing, and deploying capital to support land, water, and resource conservation.

In the case of the Forest Service it is the practice of leveraging Forest Service-appropriated funding with private capital to increase the pace and scale of restoration.

News

2021 Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) Program grant recipients: $2.2M in grants was awarded to USFS partners in the form of 11 awards to support development of finance models that leverage private sector capital to support resilience of the National Forest System and surrounding lands. Region 5 received 6 of those awards, some of which include other Regions, for a total of almost $1.5M. The IFNF website has more detailed descriptions of the projects.

Map of Projects

Background

In 2018, the Forest Service signed an agreement with Blue Forest Conservation documenting their shared commitment to landscape-scale restoration. Later that year the Tahoe National Forest and Blue Forest Conservation partnered to launch the Yuba Project located on the Tahoe National Forest in California.

This was the first time a Conservation Finance tool, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB), was used within the U.S. Forest Service. It provides $4 million in private capital from four investors to finance ecological restoration treatments across 15,000 acres of national forest.

The State of California and a municipal water and hydroelectric utility (beneficiaries of this restoration effort) are repaying investors at contracted rates as restoration work is completed, with the Tahoe National Forest providing in-kind support and funding for project planning, development and execution.

We are working with several Conservation Finance Partners:

Blue Forest Conservation (BFC)

Blue Forest Conseervation World Resources Institute

Blue Forest Conservation's next use of the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) will on the Tahoe NF with the Trapper and Pendola Projects. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed November 7, 2019 at a press conference by Blue Forest Conservation, Camptonville Community Partnership, National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Nevada City Rancheria, Sierra County, South Yuba River Citizens League, The Tahoe National Forest, and Yuba Water Agency. These projects are part of the over $250K acre Northern Yuba Forest Partnership area (NYFP).

The Environmental Assessment was signed in Dec 2020, and in February 2021 Yuba Water Agency agreed to cost-share $6M for prep-work for the Trapper project, with implementation for Pendola to begin in Spring/Summer 2021: https://www.yubawater.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=130. The bond will be structured at $15-$18M, will advance restoration treatments on nearly 23,000 acres, and is expected to leverage about $25 million in total.

Quantified Ventures

Qualified Ventures

Conservation Investment Management

Conservation Investment Management
  • Conservation Investment Management - At CIM, we believe in harnessing the power of entrepreneurship and finance to address the most wicked environmental issues. We work with non-profits, public agencies, private investors, and corporate partners to identify, incubate and fund innovative business models for nature conservation. Through our 501c3 partner, the Conservation Investment Germinator, we work with foundations to develop venture design and incubation programs that tackle their conservation priorities. CIM is finalizing a MOU with the USFS to offer these support across all regions.

Compensatory Mitigation

Compensatory mitigation is a tool that can help USFS to:

  • Restore or enhance resources located on suitable lands comprising NFS lands; and/ or,
  • Restore, enhance, or protect adjacent private or other government lands; and/ or,
  • Contribute suitable lands for addition to NFS ownership.

Learn more about Compensatory Mitigation

Contacts

  • R5 Regional Office Conservation Finance Lead: Sherry Reckler
  • R5 Conservation Finance Cadre: Nora Gamino, Jeff Heys, Jim Junette, Sherry Reckler, Judi Tapia, Eric Vane, Lara Buluc.