Nevada Conservation Credit System
Administered by the Sagebrush
Ecosystem Technical Team (SETT), the Nevada Conservation Credit System (CCS) is
an innovative approach to greater sage-grouse (GRSG) habitat protection that ensures
habitat impacts from man-made disturbances are fully compensated by long-term
enhancement and protection of habitat that results in an overall benefit for
the species, while allowing for appropriate anthropogenic disturbances that are
vital to the Nevada economy and the Nevada way of life. Nevada's CCS creates
new incentives: 1) to avoid and minimize impacts to important habitat for
species; and, 2) for private landowners and public land managers to preserve,
enhance, and restore the ecosystem, and reduce the threat of wildfire to
important habitat for species in the ecosystem.
It is a performance-driven and market-based mechanism
that consistently quantifies the direct and indirect impacts on GRSG habitat
from human disturbances (debits) and the outcomes of habitat conservation
efforts (credits). Credits are used to offset debits from habitat impacts
through free market transactions as mitigation. The Sagebrush Ecosystem Program (SEP), with the
assistance of its many partners, establishes the policy, operations, and tools
necessary to facilitate more effective and efficient conservation investments
through the CCS and reports the overall progress from implementation of
conservation actions through the program. It is intended to provide regulatory certainty
for landowners by addressing mitigation needs whether or not a
species is listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The Nevada CCS aims to produce net benefits for the greater
sage-grouse, create regulatory certainty regarding conservation of the species,
and ensure that conservation measures in the State of Nevada are sufficient to
preclude listing. However, should the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determine
on a range-wide basis to list the species as either threatened or endangered under
the Endangered Species Act; the Nevada CCS will strive to provide management
certainty to Nevada's landowners, and a means to continue using their lands for
a full range of activities post-listing.
What is the Goal of the Nevada Conservation Credit System?
The goal of
the Nevada CCS is to generate a net benefit of
greater sage-grouse habitat by ensuring the impacts to sage-grouse habitat in the State of Nevada and Federal lands from human disturbances (debits) are offset
with commensurate habitat conservation actions (credits). While the near term
goal of the Nevada CCS is focused on greater sage-grouse habitat, the system
may be adapted to support the ongoing preservation, enhancement, and
restoration of Nevada’s sagebrush ecosystem and other sagebrush obligate
species in the future.