A Recovery Credit System is a voluntary natural resource management program that provides technical guidance and assistance to private landowners with qualifying lands that support habitat for wildlife or plant species important to natural resources. It provides a mechanism for private landowners to offer purchasable recovery credits to public, private, and federal entities. Participating landowners then receive biological and technical assistance to manage their qualifying natural resources in exchange for making the recovery credits available for purchase.
Modeled after the USDA-NRCS Conservation Reserve Program, where landowners voluntarily participate in a conservation program in exchange for technical guidance and cost share assistance, the Recovery Credit System is an incentive based program that allows private lands to offset natural or man-made wildlife habitat loss that can occur through private or public activities.
The long-term benefits of the program are to improve and increase existing critical wildlife habitat by providing incentives to manage and maintain quality habitat and provide a growing pool of resources to offset activities that could damage existing habitat. In addition, recovery crediting builds measurable conservation benefits leading to recovery goals for the species of interest.
A Federal Guidance article has been issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding Recovery Credit Systems.