Nevada Conservation Credit System

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.