Chief Sponsor: Kevin T. Van Tassell

House Sponsor: Scott D. Sandall


9     General Description:
10          This bill enacts provisions related to the protection of sage grouse.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     defines terms;
14          ▸     creates the Sage Grouse Compensatory Mitigation Program;
15          ▸     provides for the scope and administration of the program;
16          ▸     provides requirements for the Department of Natural Resources; and
17          ▸     grants rulemaking authority to the Department of Natural Resources.
18     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
19          None
20     Other Special Clauses:
21          None
22     Utah Code Sections Affected:
23     ENACTS:
24          79-2-501, Utah Code Annotated 1953
25          79-2-502, Utah Code Annotated 1953
26          79-2-503, Utah Code Annotated 1953
27          79-2-504, Utah Code Annotated 1953
28          79-2-505, Utah Code Annotated 1953

30     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
31          Section 1. Section 79-2-501 is enacted to read:
Part 5. Sage Grouse Management and Protection

33          79-2-501. Title.
34          This part is known as "Sage Grouse Management and Protection."
35          Section 2. Section 79-2-502 is enacted to read:
36          79-2-502. Definitions.
37          As used in this part:
38          (1) "Compensatory mitigation" means avoiding, minimizing, rectifying, reducing, or
39     eliminating impacts on sage grouse habitat by providing substitute sage grouse habitat through
40     conservation projects or conservation banks.
41          (2) "Conservation plan" means the current version of the "Conservation Plan for
42     Greater Sage-grouse in Utah" developed by the state and approved by the governor.
43          (3) "Permanently disturb" means an action that disrupts the common activities of sage
44     grouse for a period of more than five years and includes all areas where the effects of the action
45     could be expected to disrupt the common activities of sage grouse for a period of more than
46     five years.
47          (4) "Person" means:
48          (a) an individual;
49          (b) a corporation;
50          (c) a limited liability company;
51          (d) a partnership;
52          (e) an association;
53          (f) a trust; or
54          (g) a voluntary organization.
55          (5) "Program" means the Sage Grouse Compensatory Mitigation Program created
56     under Section 79-2-504.
57          (6) "Sage grouse" means the greater sage-grouse, or the species centrocercus

58     urophasianus.
59          Section 3. Section 79-2-503 is enacted to read:
60          79-2-503. Scope.
61          Nothing in this part requires a person, whether public or private, to participate in the
62     program.
63          Section 4. Section 79-2-504 is enacted to read:
64          79-2-504. Program creation -- Administration.
65          (1) There is created the Sage Grouse Compensatory Mitigation Program to mitigate the
66     impacts of development or disturbance of sage grouse habitat by:
67          (a) creating and preserving habitat for the long-term conservation of sage grouse in the
68     state in a manner that minimizes impacts to economic growth;
69          (b) establishing a mechanism by which conservation banks may operate in Utah to
70     achieve compensatory mitigation; and
71          (c) establishing a mechanism by which a person or a governmental entity may
72     voluntarily complete compensatory mitigation.
73          (2) (a) The department shall administer the program and may make rules in accordance
74     with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, to administer the program in
75     accordance with the provisions of this part.
76          (b) A rule made under Subsection (2)(a) shall be consistent with:
77          (i) the requirements of Section 79-2-505;
78          (ii) the goals and objectives described in the conservation plan, including avoiding and
79     minimizing habitat disturbances and mitigation impacts to sage grouse habitat; and
80          (iii) to the greatest extent possible, any local programs for the conservation of sage
81     grouse habitat.
82          (c) Before making any rules under this chapter, the department shall:
83          (i) create a plan by which the requirements of this chapter will be met; and
84          (ii) before November 1, 2016, present the plan to the Natural Resources, Agriculture,
85     and Environment Interim Committee.

86          Section 5. Section 79-2-505 is enacted to read:
87          79-2-505. Department duties.
88          (1) In administering the program created in Section 79-2-504, the department shall:
89          (a) create a system through which:
90          (i) a person may:
91          (A) generate a mitigation credit from the department if the person creates a
92     conservation bank by enhancing and dedicating land for sage grouse habitat and conservation;
93     and
94          (B) sell a mitigation credit generated under Subsection (1)(a)(i)(A) to another person
95     that permanently disturbs sage grouse habitat;
96          (ii) the state may generate a mitigation credit by enhancing and dedicating land for sage
97     grouse habitat and conservation;
98          (iii) a person may purchase a mitigation credit generated by the state under Subsection
99     (1)(a)(ii) for no less than the state's total cost of enhancing and dedicating the land; and
100          (iv) a person may use a mitigation credit to permanently disturb sage grouse habitat to
101     the extent that the person possesses sufficient mitigation credits;
102          (b) create a system for tracking mitigation credits that are created, purchased, sold, or
103     used under Subsection (1);
104          (c) establish procedures and criteria to identify and approve land that a person or a
105     governmental entity may use for compensatory mitigation; and
106          (d) consistent with this chapter, integrate and coordinate the program with other state,
107     local, private, and non-profit plans to protect and manage sage grouse habitat.
108          (2) The state's total cost described under Subsection (1)(a)(iii) may include costs
109     associated with the department's administration of the program.