New land bank paves way for future development

CARLSBAD — TRS Consultants, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Carlsbad office, signed into effect a large, privately-initiated conservation bank in Fallbrook. The team that worked with TRS was made up of property owner Jim Chaffin; Vince Scheidt, project biologist; Wesley Peltzer, attorney; Gary Piro, engineer and Wallace Tucker of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy.
Not only do conservation banks preserve environmental resources, but they also provide many business advantages for developers. Because the conservation bank credits already exist, purchasing credits from a conservation bank decreases the time it takes for developers to get building permits.
The Red Mountain Conservation Bank is a 566-acre property in Fallbrook with 537.66 acres of credit land available for developers to purchase.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service strongly supports the development of conservation banks, like Red Mountain, because such banks provide landowners with an economic return on their property while helping conserve our native wildlife and their associated habitats,” said Jim Bartel, field supervisor of the service’s Carlsbad Office.
This bank will place a permanent conservation easement on the land to aid in conserving the federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher as well as its coastal sage scrub, chaparral, native and non-native grassland, oak woodland and riparian habitats.
“The Red Mountain Conservation Bank supports an extremely rich diversity of native species, including hundreds of native plant and animal species. The vast majority of the property is in a natural, undisturbed state, making its biological resource value very high,” said project biologist Scheidt, who has worked on the property since 2001.
As a long-time resident of the Fallbrook community, Chaffin said, “At one point, our plan was to develop this property into residential lots, but we realized the many benefits a conservation bank would offer the surrounding community.”
For additional information, contact Sheryll Givens of TRS Consultants at sheryll@trs-sandiego.com or Jane Hendron of Fish & Wildlife Services at Jane_Hendron@fws.gov.

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