The Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) covers land that is administered by a federal government agency such as the BLM. The Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) applies to state and privately owned lands. These agreements allow CEHMM, BLM, and FWS to work with private landowners and industry in habitat restoration projects that benefit the LPC and/or DSL. These projects are funded by contributions from industry through their participation in the CCA and CCAA. These funds are managed and administered by CEHMM. Projects are exclusive to areas identified as significant habitat to the LPC and DSL. The projects funded through these agreements include, but are not limited to, brush control, defragmentation of the landscape, and research projects for both species.

The CCA/CCAA will:

  • Develop, coordinate, and implement conservation actions which reduce and/or eliminate known threats to the LPC and DSL in New Mexico on federal, state and private surface and minerals;
  • Support ongoing efforts to re-establish and maintain viable populations of both species in currently occupied and suitable habitats;
  • Encourage development and protection of suitable LPC and DSL habitat by giving Participating Cooperators incentives to implement specific conservation measures.

Under the CCA, federal lessees, operators, or permittees that join by voluntarily signing a Certificate of Participation (CP) receive a high degree of certainty that additional restrictions would not be placed on their otherwise legal activities if either species is listed.

The companion CCAA provides incentives for voluntary conservation of species-at-risk on private and state lands. Under the CCAA, a property owner voluntarily commits to implement specific conservation measures on non-federal lands for the species by signing a Certificate of Inclusion (CI). Under the CCAA, if either species is listed, private landowners receive assurances that additional restrictions would not be placed on their otherwise legal activities. Without regulatory assurances, landowners may be unwilling to initiate conservation measures for these species.

In both cases, signing up under the CCA is voluntary. Through enactment of a voluntary program, enrollees can elect to continue participation at their discretion. This translates into enrollees’ prerogative to opt out if they so desire. Leaving participation, however, eliminates the programmatic safeguards that CCA/CCAAs provide.

Each certificate (CP or CI) addresses additional mitigation measures a participating cooperator agrees to implement on lands described in their certificate. The certificate also places conditions on activities (i.e., drilling permits, rights-of-way, grazing, seismic activity, etc.) that will be required on the cooperator’s lands or minerals. For oil and gas companies, their certificate requires either implementation of in-kind conservation or funds to be contributed for a minimum of three years to assist in restoration or protection of habitat for the LPC and/or DSL. Based on the amount of contributed funds available, a team of wildlife biologists selects the highest priority projects that improve habitat and reduce risk to either species (regardless of land ownership).