Construction promotes preservation. Say what?

With strict endangered-species and sensitive-habitat regulations, how do Sacramento housing and commercial developments continue to sprawl across open land at what is considered by some an alarming rate? The answer is California’s conservation banks: a creative solution that generates collaboration among regional planning, land owners and developers, and replaces the project-by-project mitigation concept.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works. Large parcels of privately owned property that house sensitive habitat and endangered species may be established in perpetuity as a conservation bank, once they are approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Land developers may purchase credits from these conservation banks in exchange for destroying habitat and species on the parcels they plan to develop. Though I can never quite swallow the utilitarian approach to sacrifice the wildlife destroyed during development for the greater good of the whole, conservation banks do provide an overall win-win outcome. Ultimately, they reduce the cost and time to develop land while they preserve the sprawling un-fragmented habitat necessary to sustain viable, stable wildlife populations.

California is the leader in development and use of conservation banks, providing safe, lifelong habitat for a bounty of endangered flora and fauna, such as the fragile fairy shrimp, birds of prey, Ahart’s dwarf rush, California’s tiger salamander, San Joaquin’s fit fox and the adorable burrowing owl.

Check out Wildlands Inc., a local organization headquartered in Rocklin. It’s one of the nation’s first private organizations to establish conservation banks to protect wildlife habitat in perpetuity. Visit and click on the “News” tab to read all about their exciting preservation efforts.