Ecosystem Investment Partners Provides Land to Help Reestablish West Virginia’s Elk Population
BALTIMORE – January 2, 2019 – Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP), the largest private firm dedicated to mobilizing capital to solve ecological restoration and preservation issues, announced today that it is providing the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) with 6,525 acres of restored land for inclusion into the state’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system, with 4,391 of those acres being used to help reestablish the elk population. Through its Copperas and Oxbow Stream Mitigation Banks (http://westvirginiamitigation.com/), EIP purchased this land and used its own funds to restore streams and make the Copperas Tract more suitable for West Virginia’s elk population. The restored land will help herds grow, protect key habitat areas and improve public access to acres of vital elk habitat — helping to increase tourism through expanded hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Oxbow Tract will be a much needed expansion to the existing Richie Mines WMA.
This effort is part of EIP’s commitment to the ecological and economic success of West Virginia. EIP is restoring land in Harrison, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Ritchie and Wetzel counties. Through its eight West Virginia Stream Mitigation Banks, EIP has restored 90 linear miles of stream, protected 6,200 acres of riparian habitat and has an additional 28 miles of stream awaiting restoration.
In 2011, DNR implemented its “West Virginia Elk Management Plan” with the goal of managing West Virginia’s elk resources and bringing elk back to West Virginia. According to DNR, elk were historically common inhabitants of West Virginia until they ceased to exist in 1875 because of subsistence hunting, market hunting and wide-scale habitat loss. Through DNR’s dedication and diligent efforts, restoration efforts were initiated in late December 2016 when Governor Tomblin welcomed elk from Kentucky to the Tomblin WMA.
“This is a very exciting project designed to restore elk and produce millions of dollars of economic benefit to West Virginia,” said Paul Johansen, Chief of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section. “DNR’s procurement of land restored by EIP is vital to reaching the state’s elk management goals and ensuring that West Virginia’s elk population thrives. EIP ‘s innovative approach to funding ecosystem restoration and its commitment to West Virginia’s elk program has helped to ensure the project enjoys continued success and elk habitat will be permanently conserved.”
West Virginia’s elk restoration project is expected to bring financial benefit to the state through wildlife and hunting tourism. Working In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service – Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, DNR has released approximately 87 elk with the ultimate goal of achieving a population level of one elk per square mile within the established elk management range. To date, the DNR’s efforts have proven fruitful and the elk population is growing.
“We are thrilled to partner with DNR on a project that means so much to the people of West Virginia,” said EIP’s Managing Partner Nick Dilks. “Using our expertise in ecological restoration, we created a solution for West Virginia that will deliver a positive impact on the region for years to come.”
Ecosystem Investment Partners (“EIP”) is the largest private firm fully dedicated to mobilizing capital to solve ecological restoration and preservation issues. EIP delivers the highest quality ecological restoration and conservation projects in the United States. Through its investment funds, it acquires, restores and permanently protects priority conservation properties, and sells the credits generated to customers who must offset their unavoidable environmental impacts.
Over the past decade, EIP has protected and restored regionally significant properties in the U.S.–providing both a return to investors and lasting environmental benefits. With $500 million in assets under management and over 57,000 acres owned, EIP is a national leader in large-scale ecological restoration. To date, EIP has developed 40 mitigation banks and a number of other restoration projects in eleven states, including over 43,000 acres of wetland restoration and 150 miles of stream restoration completed. EIP’s national footprint continues to expand with another 6,800 acres of wetland restoration and 117 miles of stream mitigation under permitting and construction in 2019.