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This article was originally published on Ecosystem Marketplace.


“California’s Panoche Valley in San Benito County is a well-known biodiversity hotspot in the state. The roughly 30-square-mile grassy lowland hosts a variety of threatened and endangered species including golden eagle, prairie falcon, western burrowing owl, San Joaquin kit fox, giant kangaroo rat, Nelson’s antelope squirrel and blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

However, the area is not immune to development interests and a California-based renewable energy company, PV2 Energy, has plans to construct a solar farm on 4,500 acres in the valley. The solar power facility will help the state meet its renewable energy goals, defined in the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, but it also will have an impact on local wildlife habitat. Alongside construction of the solar farm, PV2 Energy will need road upgrades, electrical facilities and water delivery systems, and it’s likely the farm will cause a flurry of nearby commercial business activity.

Because of the potential adverse impacts to biodiversity, state and federal agencies will require the various development interests to ensure “no net loss” of biodiversity through extensive compensatory mitigation measures such as conservation banking.

Landowners should be alert to new opportunities for increased property values or new revenues as a result of the regulatory requirements for protecting local biodiversity. For instance, a new case study from Eco-Asset Solutions & Innovations (EASI), a California-based firm focused on natural capital market values, determined that assessing a Panoche Valley ranch for “ecological assets” increased property value more than threefold…”

Read on at: Ecosystem Marketplace.