La Purisima Conservation Bank, Lompoc
In July 2014, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, Conservation Land Group, and Rancho Purisima, LLC announced that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have formally approved the La Purisima Conservation Bank in northern Santa Barbara County. The Conservation Bank, along with the conservation easement being held by the Land Trust, will provide permanent protection to 853 acres of critically important grasslands and oak woodlands within the Purisima Hills near Lompoc.
La Purisima Conservation Bank, the first of its kind in Santa Barbara County, provides a mechanism for local developers, county, state and federal agencies, utilities and energy producers to mitigate their impacts to habitat of the included species, as required by law. For example, instead of onsite mitigation for the impacts created by a project, the project proponent can instead purchase mitigation credits from the conservation bank since that land is protected as habitat in perpetuity by the Conservation Bank and easement. The Bank completed its first credit sale of 69 acres to the City of Santa Maria, which had needed California Tiger Salamander (CTS) mitigation for several years.
Rancho Purisima, LLC acquired the 2,800-acre La Purisima Ranch in early 2012 in order to pursue a conservationeffort to protect a number of threatened and endangered species that occur on the property. The owner and Conservation Land Group then began working closely with the Land Trust, the local community, and federal and state wildlife agencies to obtain certification of the Conservation Bank. The Conservation Bank is now selling mitigation credits to parties that impact habitat for CTS and western spadefoot toad.