Submitting a Forest Mitigation Bank Application
The steps to submitting an application for a Forest Mitigation Bank and receiving approval to sell credits are listed below. 1. Pre-Application Meeting
Property owners who are considering establishing a forest mitigation bank are encouraged to schedule a pre-application meeting with the forest mitigation bank program manager. This meeting is an opportunity to review the land area under consideration for forest mitigation banking and address any questions about the application process or requirements of the forest mitigation bank program.
2. Natural Resources Inventory/Forest Stand Delineation (NRI/FSD) and Forest Mitigation Bank Plan Application
The application process for forest mitigation banks has two requirements. A full NRI/FSD application must be submitted and approved along with a Forest Mitigation Bank Plan. If an NRI/FSD for the property has already been approved by Montgomery Planning and has not expired, the existing NRI/FSD may satisfy this application requirement.
The Forest Mitigation Bank Plan must show all features of the approved NRI/FSD as well as the proposed forest mitigation bank area; proposed quantity, size, and species of trees to be planted; locations of forest conservation area signs to be posted; proposed planting schedule; planting techniques; and deer protection method.
A forest mitigation bank may be established through the development process if forest is planted in excess of the requirements of a Forest Conservation Plan. In this case, the approved NRI/FSD and Forest Conservation Plan may be accepted in place of a new NRI/FSD and Forest Mitigation Bank Plan if all required components noted above are shown.
3. Recording a Category I Forest Conservation Easement
Once the Forest Mitigation Bank Plan has been approved, a
Category I Forest Conservation Easement must be recorded in land records to permanently protect the forest mitigation bank. 4. Planting
The forest conservation inspector will inspect the planting to confirm that it has been completed in compliance with the Forest Mitigation Bank Plan. The forest mitigation bank must either post a 2 year performance bond or conduct 2 years of successful maintenance and management before forest mitigation bank credits can be sold. In order to be approved to sell credits or to have the bond released, at least 75% of trees planted must be surviving at the end of 2 years if 200 trees per acre are planted, or at least 100% of the trees planted must be surviving at the end of 2 years if 100 trees per acre are planted.
5. Approval to Sell Credits
A forest mitigation bank is approved to sell credits when the forest mitigation bank program manager provides a signed approval letter, stating that the above requirements have been satisfied and noting the quantity of forest mitigation bank credits approved for sale.
Selling Forest Mitigation Bank Credits
Every forest mitigation bank must have a dedicated forest mitigation bank operator who can be contacted by applicants to coordinate the sale of forest mitigation bank credits. Once the forest mitigation bank is approved to sell credits, contact information for the forest mitigation bank operator and the quantity of available credits in the forest mitigation bank will be listed publicly. Montgomery Planning does not regulate the cost of forest mitigation bank credits; forest mitigation bank operators may pursue their own pricing structure.
Forest mitigation bank operators are required to confirm that an applicant has an approved Forest Conservation Plan before proceeding with a transaction for forest mitigation bank credits. This can be confirmed by searching the plan number in
DAIC or contacting the forest mitigation bank program manager. Applicants must also purchase forest mitigation bank credits from the same watershed as their project if credits are available from any forest mitigation bank in that watershed.
Certificate of Compliance documenting each transaction must be mailed to Montgomery Planning for review, signature, and notarization. After the Certificate of Compliance is approved and mailed back to the forest mitigation bank operator, the forest mitigation bank operator must record the Certificate of Compliance in land records. The forest mitigation bank operator is also required to provide the liber folio for this Certificate of Compliance to the forest mitigation bank program manager once it is available, so that the Certificate of Compliance can be located in the land records.
Forest mitigation bank credits must be sold to applicants and cannot be held for a forest mitigation bank owner or operator’s own projects. For example, if 1 acre of forest mitigation bank credit is remaining in a forest mitigation bank and an applicant with an approved Forest Conservation Plan requests to purchase this acre, the remaining credit must be sold to the applicant.
If the condition of a forest mitigation bank deteriorates to the point that it is no longer considered forest, or a forest mitigation bank operator becomes unresponsive, Montgomery Planning may withhold forest mitigation bank transactions or close the forest mitigation bank.