15-0202 v2.1/Choosing A Habitat Exchange Program (Part III)
Please tell us if the below program is acceptable for the habitat exchange imperative.
While the project site is already owned by a land trust, our program would be funding the restoration of the site.
Property: Triple C Ranch, owned by nonprofit Edison Wetlands Association (Land Trust accredited)
Parcel Size: approximately one acre - will be precisely defined and documented as >1 acre once project approved
Existing condition of parcel: grassy field bordering wetlands and forested uplands
Past Use/Surrounding: The Triple C Ranch is a former horse farm that was preserved in 2001 by Edison Wetlands Association through New Jersey Green Acres, which holds a conservation easement on the property. The Triple C Ranch holds one of the few public access points in greater Dismal Swamp Conservation Area - the largest remaining natural area in northern Middlesex County. The 1,250-acre Dismal Swamp offers the only natural oasis for over 250,000 surrounding residents in this densely populated area, offering wildlife habitat, flood control wetlands, birdwatching, and environmental education opportunities for over 1,000 visitors each year.
Restoration Opportunity: This project can transform this one acre of an ecologically limited grassy field into a thriving native habitat bordering wetlands, vernal ponds, and uplands. By removing invasive species, planting native vegetative species such as fruit-bearing trees, woody plants, and berry-producing shrubs, and deer-proofing the new plantings to ensure their survival, this project will greatly strengthen the wildlife habitat offered by the surrounding wetlands and vernal ponds. The surrounding wetlands, forest, and waterways boast at least a dozen threatened and endangered species, yet the grassy fields are offering virtually no habitat for wildlife.
Future Promotion: Edison Wetlands Association would be happy to recognize the Willow School for making this project possible, through signage, literature and public materials, and both mainstream media outreach and our social media promotion through our daily WildNewJersey.tv blog and network reaching over 15,000 readers monthly. We also would be excited to invite Willow School to celebrate the project's launch with an event for students, staff, and other Willow School invitees at the Triple C Ranch.
Our question is, do we need to actually own this one-acre parcel of land, or is it OK for it to remain under the Land Trust ownership?
Is restoring land set aside for conservation and making it into viable habitat an acceptable route?
There are two components of Habitat Exchange: 1) provisions for the Land Trust's purchase or allocation of a permanent easement on land that is not yet protected; and 2) provisions for the ongoing stewardship of the land in perpetuity. Though the project team may make a donation to Edison Wetlands Association to meet the Habitat Exchange requirements, it must contribute to an area not yet under the ownership or direct care of the Land Trust. Akin to the concept of "Additionality", a characteristic of carbon offset projects, one of the primary rationales for this requirement is to ensure that there is a true benefit to the donation. There is value in providing financial assistance for land conservation that would not have been possible without the extra revenue gained. Please note that there is no intention for the Living Building Challenge project owner or operator to own this land. We require that the land or easement be controlled by an accredited Land Trust to ensure that the area is protected and cared for in perpetuity, given their legal authority, and the standards and practices they must uphold."
Post ID 2143