The Conservation Solution

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has partnered with The Conservation Fund to establish the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Pooled Fund (EMR Pooled Fund). With the EMR Pooled Fund, compensatory mitigation payments for small impacts can be aggregated or ‘pooled’ to enable larger habitat protection and restoration projects.

For Conservation Partners: How to Seek Funding from the EMR Pooled Fund

The Conservation Fund is working with the USFWS to identify priority acquisition and restoration sites that would benefit the EMR and it has begun reaching out to potential project partners. Federal, State and local government agencies as well as non-profit organizations may inquire with The Conservation Fund to receive grant funds from the EMR Pooled Fund to complete projects designed to preserve, enhance and/or restore natural resources for the benefit of EMR and/or its habitat. These projects may include conservation easement or fee title acquisition, habitat enhancement and/or restoration, and/or a combination of both. The EMR Pooled Fund may also be used to fund research if USFWS determines the research would result in the best conservation benefit to EMR. Generally, the process to seek grant funding from the EMR Pooled Fund to support conservation projects is as follows:

  • Contact The Conservation Fund to discuss your potential EMR-related project
  • Submit a mitigation project proposal to The Conservation Fund that demonstrates how the project benefits EMR;
    • permanency in fee or conservation easement acquisition;
    • how the project complements existing conservation lands or restoration projects;
    • the capacity of the project to achieve performance standards;
    • whether the project is designed to sustain habitat value for EMR with little or no management once performance standards are achieved;
    • the capacity of the conservation partner to perform long term stewardship; and
    • that restoration activities will only occur on land that has been permanently protected or publicly owned.
  • The Conservation Fund reviews projects with EMR experts
  • Once approved, The Conservation Fund enters into a grant agreement with the conservation partner and disburses funding on an agreed-upon schedule.

For Project Developers: Using the EMR Pooled Fund to Offset Unavoidable Impacts to EMR

The EMR Pooled Fund provides an option for public and private entities to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to EMR and its habitat from development or maintenance projects in the State of Michigan. The pooled fund has helped create consistency in ESA Section 7 consultation resulting in reduced time, cost and workload associated with the process. Generally, the process to utilize the EMR Pooled Fund to meet mitigation obligations consists of:

  • Consultation by the project developer with USFWS
  • Project developer informs USFWS of its interest in using the EMR Pooled Fund
  • In accordance with Programmatic BO, USFWS & the project developer determine:
    • Impacts to EMR
    • Mitigation Ratio
    • Mitigation Acres
    • Mitigation Fee
  •  Upon completion of the above, USFWS provides The Conservation Fund with Confirmation Document containing acres, ratio and fee
  • The Conservation Fund informs USFWS & the project developer of its ability to accept funds
  • The Conservation Fund generates mitigation projects to protect and restore EMR habitat and otherwise support the conservation of EMR.