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Ben Lomond Wallflower
Ben Lomond Wallflower

Mount Hermon June Beetle
Mount Hermon June Beetle

Silverleaf Manzanita
Silverleaf Manzanita

Band-winged Grasshopper
Band-winged Grasshopper

Ben Lomond Spineflower
Ben Lomond Spineflower

Ben Lomond buckwheat
Ben Lomond buckwheat
Zayante Sandhills Conservation Bank


A Zayante Sandhills Conservation Bank — Summary of Benefits

The Zayante Sandhills Conservation Bank (ZSCB) offers critically needed conservation benefits, while streamlining the regulatory process for local property owners and government agencies.

ZSCB will play an indispensable role in preserving and restoring unique sandhills habitat in Santa Cruz County. Its successful establishment may prove to be a determining factor in ensuring the survival and recovery of rare and endangered species of the sandhills, such as the Mount Hermon June beetle, and in preserving the integrity of the biological systems upon which these species depend.

Environmental Benefits

  • Preserve (in perpetuity) much of the highest quality, contiguous, undeveloped habitat that is essential for preservation of the Zayante sandhills ecosystems. Compared to large numbers of fragmented sites, these larger preserves offer superior habitat conditions, and can be defended against various biological impacts that are associated with urban and suburban development.

  • Provide high quality adaptive management and restoration regimes necessary for survival and recovery of endangered species and habitat.

  • Initiate restoration projects quickly, thereby increasing the likelihood of success.

  • Feasibly and frequently monitor biological conditions on preserve sites -- an important component of management that is difficult to achieve on a "backyard to backyard" basis.

  • Create a strong economic incentive for effective habitat preservation by establishing clear requirements for biological compliance on each preserve, including baseline data, significance thresholds, and quantified performance criteria.

  • Create a compelling economic incentive for habitat restoration by offering additional conservation credits for successfully restored habitat.

  • Facilitate research and experimental management within the preserves, thereby increasing the scientific understanding of sandhill biological communities and of those measures necessary to assure long-term conservation.

  • Fund educational programs for property owners in the sandhills to further encourage avoidance of endangered species and habitats, minimization of anthropogenic impacts, and increased understanding and appreciation of the sandhills and their value.

  • Potentially increase visibility of development activities in the sandhills, which would help to prevent undocumented "take" of endangered species and habitat due to unauthorized development.

  • Create a strong economic incentive to minimize impacts on smaller parcels by tying the cost of conservation credits directly to the area of disturbance.

  • Fulfill the mission of the Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) and help to build public support for FESA and other legal protections for endangered species by focusing on conservation actions which offer the greatest benefit with the least red tape, and by facilitating a clear, equitable, consistent regulatory process.

  • Create a precedent for an "ecocentric economy" by establishing financial incentives that align economy with ecology. By rewarding preservation rather than development, such financial incentives can provide a sustainable vehicle for ecological protection — something a purely regulatory approach cannot do.

    Benefits to Government Agencies

  • Result in substantial savings of staff time, energy, and resources at both the local and federal level -- thereby freeing these resources for activities that can produce greater public and environmental benefit.

  • Avoid financial risk to public and public-interest agencies. Financial risk associated with land ownership, land management, and management of the conservation bank is shouldered entirely by the conservation bank sponsors.

  • Preserve limited public monies, including general and conservancy funds.

    Benefits to Property Owners

  • Provide an environmentally superior, cost-efficient alternative for mitigating impacts to endangered species and habitat. Not only are environmental benefits generally far superior to piecemeal on-site or off-site mitigation, but also the costs to property owners are likely to be considerably lower than those associated with mitigations that must be developed on a case-by-case basis.






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