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The State Land Board encourages the development of ecosystem services projects on state trust land. Current projects are focused on environmental mitigation markets including water, biodiversity (wildlife) and carbon. The agency is most interested in collaborative opportunities in which we provide a project site that will be developed by a qualified third-party.
For questions or assistance, please contact Mindy Gottsegen - Conservation Services Manager at 303-866-3454 ext. 3318 (
Is the State Land Board interested in mitigation projects on State Trust Lands?
The State Land Board is very interested in partnering with ecosystem service mitigation bankers to develop mitigation projects on school trust assets. The Board is actively working to identify which of its state trust land properties appear to be suitable for mitigation projects and is reaching out to mitigation bank developers it can partner with to create new projects. The State Land Board is interested in mitigation projects involving the water, biodiversity and carbon markets.
What State Trust Lands are available and where are they located?
The State Land Board's
GIS Map Server
can be used to identify all State Trust Lands. Existing leases and encumbrances can be seen by clicking on the appropriate interactive layers. Once potential locations have been identified, mitigation bankers or project developers are encouraged to contact the Conservation Services Manager to further discuss the viability of individual parcels.
What is the process for developing mitigation projects on State Trust Lands?
Ecosystem service leases are typically a two stage process: a one to two year Planning Lease and a long-term Ecosystem Services Lease. Each lease type requires a Ecosystem Services application along with a $100 application fee.
What is the difference between a Planning Lease and a Ecosystem Services Lease?
A Planning Lease is intended for the due diligence phase of a project. The Planning Lease allows a lessee to pursue due diligence to see if the site is ultimately suitable for a mitigation bank project. This includes conducting necessary background studies, meetings with regulatory agencies, and negotiation of mitigation bank lease terms with the State Land Board. Planning Leases also allow a project developer an exclusive right to negotiate an Ecosystem Services Lease on the property. Planning lease terms are typically one to two years in length. Planning Leases do not allow for surface disturbance on the property and do not require Board approval. Small Payment for Ecosystem Services projects that are voluntary and do not involve a federal agency may not require a planning lease.
An Ecosystem Services Lease covers any ground disturbance and the active banking period of a mitigation bank project. The Ecosystem Services lease requires Board approval and may be tied to, among other things, approval of the project by the appropriate regulatory agency involved with the project. Typical exhibits to a Production Lease include legal description of the conservation easement area, draft conservation easement, and banking agreement.
What are the fees and rent structure for Ecosystem Services leases?
In addition to the $100 application fee, annual rent structures are based on the type of ecosystem services project. Small projects that do not involve mandatory mitigation programs are likely to involve an annual lease payment only. Larger projects that involve the sale and/or transfer of mitigation or conservation credits will involve an Ecosystem Services lease that includes provisions for sharing the gross revenue from the sale of such credits. See the State Land Board’s
Fees & Payment Considerations schedule
What is the length of term for an Ecosystem Services Lease?
The length of an Ecosystem Services Lease term is typically 10 years.
What is the first step in applying for an Ecosystem Services lease?
A discussion with the Conservation Services Manager is encouraged. Prior to the meeting, the applicant should prepare a map that shows the general location of the proposed mitigation project and a description of the proposed mitigation bank, the number of expected credits and its proposed service area.
Following consultation on the proposed location and with direction from the Conservation Services Manager, the applicant will need to submit an application for a Planning Lease. Planning Leases are approved at the staff level and take approximately 7-10 days to process.
May a Lessee under a Planning Lease enter the property and conduct studies?
Not without express written approval. A Planning Lease allows a lessee to tie up the property and conduct basic due diligence. It does not grant a right to access the property or conduct studies that will require surface disturbance (survey’s, soils studies, wind studies, etc). In order to access the property a Planning Lessee must obtain a
Temporary Access Permit
, stating the specific date and purpose of access. These permits are administered by staff and can be completed within 24 hours. Access to State Trust Lands requires proof of insurance by the person or company accessing the property, with the State Land Board named as an additional insured. Studies that will disturb the surface (soils or water testing) will require an exploration lease rider.
What is an Exploration Permit?
An Exploration Permit provides a lessee permission to conduct testing that will necessarily disturb the surface (e.g. soils and water testing). Exploration Permits require detailed information on the nature of the testing and location of the surface disturbance. A bond is also required to ensure remediation of the surface upon completion of the disturbance. The bond will be released upon completion of the work, remediation of the property and inspection by State Land Board staff. Contractors conducting such testing will be required to provide proof of insurance with the State Land Board named as an additional insured.
Does the State Land Board use its own lease form?
Yes, the State Land Board has its own standard lease form.
Is a bond or liability insurance required?
Depending on the project, both may be required for Ecosystem Services leases. See the State Land Board’s
for more information or contact the Ecosystems Services Manager for details on specific requirements associated with performance bonds and insurance coverage.
Is my lease application and/or lease public information?
Unless subject to an exemption, the Ecosystem Services lease and lease application and any information provided to the State are subject to public release through the Colorado Open Records Act, § 24-72-201, C.R.S., et seq.