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Ecosystem Services

How to Get Involved

Bobby Cochran of Clean Water Services (John Harris, Horsepower Productions)

Bobby Cochran of Clean Water Services
(John Harris, Horsepower Productions)

Restoration projects like the one undertaken by the Krals can require the involvement of a state or federal agency, depending on the type of project. For example, the Krals' project entails excavating parts of a wetland, albeit a damaged one, and that requires a federal and state permit. In Oregon, the Department of State Lands handles this permitting process. Therefore, in addition to partnering with Clean Water Services, the Krals must also collaborate with the Department of State Lands. For landowners thinking of taking on one of these projects, however, multi-agency partnerships may seem overwhelming. "It's not simple," says Cochran. "There's a certain amount of risk and uncertainty involved with it, but we'd like to think that we've made huge strides in the past few years with making it more straightforward. The other good news is that we've build a lot of capacity in Oregon"¦there's people that can help."

As ecosystem service markets become more widespread and acceptable method of conserving ecosystems, agencies, water and soil conservation districts, and non-profits are becoming more familiar with the crediting system and are able to work closely with landowners on restoration projects. "We like to think of these [markets] as a new cropping system," says Cochran. "You've got to learn how to do it. If your expertise is in growing blueberries, cows, and ryegrass, and not growing wetlands, then working with a soil and water conservation district makes a lot of sense." George Kral agrees. "For somebody who can't do it on their own, I'd say the first thing is to start looking for a non-profit partner who can help put together a project and make it work, and can negotiate on the landowner's behalf."

Bobby Cochran describes how to get involved with ecosystem service