FACT SHEET: $2 Billion in New Private Sector Investments to Protect Natural Resources to be Announced at White House Conservation Roundtable
Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to invest in America’s natural resources and protect our planet for future generations. In addition to permanently protecting more land and water than any President in history, President Obama has prioritized working with business leaders because environmental protection and economic growth go hand in hand.
Today, at a White House roundtable on environmental conservation and restoration, private sector leaders will announce more than $2 billion in new private sector and nonfederal investments to protect land, water and wildlife for future generations. These investments highlight the ability to leverage the Administration’s work to encourage private investment in the health and restoration of our natural resources and the significant opportunities for the private sector to invest in conservation across the country.
In addition, the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture are announcing new steps to build on the Administration’s conservation priorities, including an investment of nearly $20 million to help promote new technologies and tools to benefit farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country.
Administration Commitments to Invest in America’s Land, Water and Wildlife
Building on the Administration’s work to protect and encourage investment in the health and restoration of America’s natural resources, including the November 2015 release of a Presidential Memorandum, today the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are announcing new steps to promote conservation and accelerate restoration efforts across the country.
Department of the Agriculture
Today, USDA is announcing up to $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to help develop new technologies and tools to benefit farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country. In 2016, USDA is seeking applications for projects to boost historically underserved agricultural producers, improve and protect water quality, and demonstrate the effectiveness of public private partnerships. For the second year, there will also be an emphasis on conservation finance through partnerships that demonstrate the potential for impact investments to attract non-Federal funding for private lands conservation. Administered through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the competitive grants will target cutting edge, on the ground conservation, including demonstrations and pilot projects across the country. Since 2009, nearly $135 million have been used to fund almost 400 CIG awards, which have led to the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies that result in environmental enhancement and protection of agricultural land.
Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is today announcing new actions to advance the conservation of America’s public lands, water and wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing revisions to its 1981 policy that guides mitigation and encourages the expansion of markets that restore them. The revised policy seeks to improve the design and placement of mitigation on the landscape and by doing so, improve the overall health of species and habitats at risk. Additionally, today, the Department of the Interior is announcing next steps to advance the Natural Resource Investment Center. Launched at the end of last year, the Center will focus on enhancing opportunities for private investment in mitigation of impacts to public resources, as well as water infrastructure and marketing.
Private Sector Announcements in the Health and Restoration of Natural Resources
Today, the White House held a roundtable to discuss opportunities to advance the goals of smart development alongside thoughtful conservation. Leaders from eleven public and private sector organizations announced more than $2 billion in planned investment in the health and restoration of natural resources -- collectively, one of the biggest non-federal investments in conservation ever. Information from the organizations about their announcements follows:
Ecosystem Investment Partners
Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP) is today announcing that it intends to put $300 million of new capital to work over the next four years on projects that result in meaningful ecological protection and restoration of wetlands, streams and wildlife habitat. EIP will work with partners to identify and invest in new opportunities that provide cost effective ways to facilitate smart infrastructure and other development.
California High Speed Rail Authority
The California High Speed Rail Authority intends to initially invest approximately $200 million over the next 5-8 years in mitigation and conservation identified through a regional strategy to ensure that conservation priorities contribute to current regional and local resource planning efforts. The California High Speed Rail program is shaping transportation for the 21st Century by providing environmentally sustainable transit options that reduce carbon emissions, promote smart growth and contribute to the conservation and protection of the state’s unique natural resources.
Fresh Coast Capital: Today, Fresh Coast is announcing an initial $1 million investment towards the revitalization of urban land into beautiful, productive green space that can manage stormwater, improve ecosystems, and lift up communities. Fresh Coast Capital redevelops large tracts of vacant, blighted and contaminated land in the Midwest and Rust Belt into working landscapes composed of tree farms, floriculture, urban agriculture and green infrastructure projects.
National Mitigation Banking Association
The National Mitigation Banking Association expects its members to double investment in advanced mitigation projects over the next few years by more than $300 million which will result in ecological restoration and long-term preservation over more than 200,000 acres. NMBA will leverage the improved federal policies and priority on advance mitigation to increase private investment in mitigation and conservation banks across the United States. To date, private investment in restoration and conservation has resulted in more than 1500 advance mitigation projects on more than 700,000 acres using private investment of nearly $5 billion.
Encourage Capital and NatureVest
Encourage Capital and NatureVest, the impact investing unit of The Nature Conservancy, and Prudential are pleased to announce the launch of a $1.7 million investment in urban green infrastructure in Washington, DC to mitigate the effects of stormwater run-off, the fastest growing source of pollution in America’s cities. This investment in green infrastructure projects in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods will capture stormwater before it meets the sewer systems or pollutes freshwater bodies, via innovative approaches like permeable pavement and construction of natural berms. The project will provide stormwater retention credits to local developers through the DC Government’s Storm Water Retention Credits trading program.
Lyme Timber: Over the next three years, the Lyme Timber Company will invest $250 million of private capital in the conservation of working forests and rural landscapes across the country. Lyme Timber’s strategy relies on advance compensation mechanisms, such as conservation easements, carbon offsets and credits for restoration. By working in partnership with nonprofits and government agencies, Lyme Timber has already permanently conserved nearly 1,000,000 acres in thirteen states over the last 25+ years.
Resource Environmental Solutions
Over the next three years, Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) intends to invest over $350 million in environmental offsets and supporting operations. These investments relate to expenditures on land, construction, and vegetative restoration throughout RES’ offices in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Gulf Coast and Appalachian Regions, in addition to a number of new project locations. RES will also expand its current ownership of restorative vegetation nurseries, build on its existing work mitigating negative impacts to threatened and endangered species, and expand nutrient trading to 17 states across the country.
Over the next two years, New Forests plans to invest $150 million in conservation forestry and in increasing carbon sequestration on working forest land in the United States. Its forestry investments aim to support rural livelihoods through sustainable timber management, to increase carbon sequestration on working forest lands, to protect wildlife habitat from fragmentation and to improve water quality outcomes.
Trout Headwaters is announcing today that it’s investing with its partners $60 million over the near term to continue the development of innovative technologies while building to-the-ground restoration projects across the US to answer compensatory mitigation needs. Trout Headwaters has joined forces with ecosystem market partners to deploy interactive reporting platforms for mitigation and conservation users across the country. This aims to increase transparency, clarity and reliability for these markets and help to insure high-quality projects. .
NatureVest®, the Nature Conservancy’s impact investing unit, is announcing an active pipeline of investments totaling over $400 million. The new investments will include 10 transactions across four continents. Additionally, NatureVest is announcing the close of a water fund of just over $19 million in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia that seeks to balance environmental and agricultural interests. NatureVest achieves this with generous support from inaugural funder The Robertson Foundation, founding sponsor, JPMorgan Chase, and The Grantham Trust for the Environment.
Today, the Westervelt Company is announcing it has authorized up to $50 million in 2016 to provide habitat mitigation. The company has already invested over $75 million for renewable energy through the development of a wood pellet facility located in Aliceville, Alabama, and will commit approximately $3 million of new capital to this facility in 2016. Additionally, the Westervelt Company is announcing the authorization of the purchase of an additional 500 acres in 2016 for tidal marsh restoration to support expansion of work in the California Bay-Delta Region and is authorizing Westervelt Ecological Services, the company's mitigation company, to open a new region located in Denver, Colorado, in 2016 and to invest in several properties for restoration within this region.
This information is not independently verified by the U.S. Government and questions should be directed to the respective entity.