Regional Conservation Investment Strategy

Regional Conservation Investment Strategy


The Regional Transportation Commission, in coordination with the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District, is developing a Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS). The Santa Cruz County RCIS will be reviewed and approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Once finalized, the Santa Cruz County RCIS may help expedite delivery of transportation projects by facilitating regional advance mitigation planning: a process in which the environmental mitigation for impacts from multiple projects can be pooled and conducted in advance, resulting in larger conservation projects that have greater benefits, and potential mitigation for transportation projects is identified in advance of final project design.

Santa Cruz County RCIS

Santa Cruz County Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS)

Project Description

AB 2087 (2016)  establishes a conservation planning tool called a Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS) with the goals to:

  1. Identify high-value conservation and habitat enhancement opportunities within a region that will aid in species recovery, adaptation to climate change, and resiliency in the face of development pressures.
  2. Provide a science-based guide for voluntary
    conservation and mitigation actions implemented by
    a state agency, local governments, non-government
    organizations (NGOs) or private entities.

In addition to providing important biological information that policy makers and land-use planners may use to balance wildlife and development interests, an RCIS also allows public and private entities to enter into Mitigation Credit Agreements (MCAs). MCAs create mitigation credits in advance of development impacts by implementing conservation or enhancement actions to achieve the goals and strategies outlined in an RCIS. In exchange, infrastructure entities or other developers may use this advance mitigation tool to offset impacts of future development projects. RCISs may be used to guide mitigation funding to key areas of biological importance. A state agency or private entity may enter into an MCA if the mitigation site is within an approved RCIS area.

Stakeholder Group Meetings

December 14, 2021

December 04, 2020

April 28, 2020

Technical Advisory Committee Meetings

June 25, 2020

Public Workshops

January 1, 2021

June 26, 2022


Grace Blakeslee, Senior Transportation Planner