Session 12: California Perspectives
California’s Assembly Bill 2087, signed into law in September 2016, creates a new conservation planning tool: Regional Conservation Investment Strategies (RCIS). These conservation strategies can be used to guide investments in resource conservation and infrastructure design and siting; identify conservation priorities, including those needed to address climate change; and identify potential mitigation for impacts to wildlife and habitat. The bill also provides the authority for the creation of mitigation credits based on RCISs approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The mitigation credit agreements enabled through AB 2087 can be secured by public, private, and non-profit entities and are intended to spur conservation at a regional scale. RCISs are designed to provide an ecological snapshot of the existing conditions of a region—with a focus on focal species and natural communities. RCISs identify mitigation opportunities based on conservation values to provide guidance for public infrastructure agencies, the mitigation and ecosystem banking community, conservation funders, and others on high value places to invest in order to achieve conservation goals and objectives through mitigation and other strategies.
The law also authorizes habitat enhancements, a new mechanism that provide the opportunity to mitigate for impacts through enhancement of habitat for focal species, in addition to permanent protection and restoration.
This session will explore the new tool, identify and discuss opportunities and challenges related to conservation planning, infrastructure development, and mitigation and conservation banking.
Director, Infrastructure and Land Use
The Nature Conservancy
Liz O’Donoghue oversees the Conservancy’s California Chapter’s policy agenda on infrastructure development and land use, innovative mitigation approaches, strategic growth and integration with natural resource protection. Liz currently serves on the Bay Area Open Space Council’s Advisory Committee and ClimatePlan’s Steering Committee. From 2006 – 2009, Liz served as the Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy, where she oversaw the chapter’s engagements with government and stakeholders at the federal, state, county, and local levels. She helped develop and direct the Conservancy’s strategies on public policy, public funding, legislation, bonds, and constituency building.
From 1999 – 2006, Liz worked at the western regional headquarters of Amtrak, first as Director of Communications, Government, and Public Affairs, then as Director of Strategic Planning, where she was responsible for developing and implementing Amtrak’s strategy on developing passenger rail corridors in the West. Previously, she served for seven years as legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, specializing in transportation and natural resource policy. Before that, she worked in a public policy firm in Princeton, New Jersey, consulting with major corporate clients on environmental, health care, and transportation issues. She holds a B.A. in Government from Oberlin College and a Business Administration certificate with distinction from U.C. Berkeley Extension.
Wednesday, May 10
10:20 AM – 11:20 AM
Friday, May 12
9:20 AM – 10:50 AM
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