Easement Criteria Evaluation Project: Black Gum Mitigation Bank southern Upshur County, Texas

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1 Easement Criteria Evaluation Project: Black Gum Mitigation Bank southern Upshur County, Texas Project Address: on the Sabine River south of Hwy 80 in southern Upshur County, Texas (entrance located about 4 miles east of Big Spring, Texas) Latitude , Longitude Proposed Easement Size: Most of the acreage is being designed as a Wetland Mitigation Bank by owners of a small petroleum firm. 1,175 total gross acres owned by Grantors LLC (Black Gum Ventures, LLC). Proposed easement tract includes additional open areas which are not included within the mitigation bank acreage. Site consists primarily of bottomland riparian forest with some meadows and ponds. Meadows will be planted with vegetation to attract wildlife. Proposed easement includes the north shoreline of the Sabine River. Proposed easement is contiguous with two other mitigation banks owned and operated by the same firm (Sabal Wetland Preserve Mitigation Bank and the Sabal Expansion Wetland Bank), totaling 1,089.8 acres. Also, there is a third contiguous mitigation bank along the Sabine River to the east of the subject property totaling 483 acres. With two additional banks being located to the west of the Sabal Wetland Banks, the proposed Black Gum Mitigation Bank is a part of a contiguous block of permanently deed restricted and protected mitigation bank properties totaling 4,152 acres in Smith and Upshur Counties. Project Background: Project requires a land trust or other third party to hold a conservation easement over the mitigation bank. The project area was used for hardwood timber lands prior to acquisition for hunting and as a mitigation bank venture. A majority of the acreage is within the 100 Year floodplain. One active well site is located on a portion of the property. EASEMENT EVALUATION 1. Which of the IRS qualifying criteria applies to this project? Outdoor Recreation and Education Values Natural Resources Conservation Values Open Space Conservation Values for Scenic Enjoyment Open Space Conservation Values Pursuant to Federal, State or Local Government Conservation Policy Historic Conservation Values 1. Preservation of Natural Resource Conservation Values is the primary criterion for the easement establishment. 1,129 acres of existing bottomland riparian forest to be preserved within the Mitigation Bank. Within the same property boundary, the client is willing to preserve an additional 45.8 acres of meadows as part of the easement lands. 2. Site is being placed under a conservation easement pursuant to a federal government conservation policy. Wetland Mitigation Site to be placed under a Conservation Easement as required by USACE Guidance for Mitigation Banks. C:\Users\RJ Taylor\Connemara Easement Files\Black Gum Mit Bank - Upshur Co\Easement Criteria Evaluation - Black Gum MB Upshur Co..doc

2 Easement Criteria Evaluation Project: Black Gum Mitigation Bank southern Upshur County, Texas 2. How far is the property from Connemara headquarters? Property is located northeast of Tyler; about 120 miles from DFW. No other Connemara holdings are currently within reasonable distance of this proposed easement site, although the new easement on the W Mud Creek Reserve in Smith County will be about 40 miles away. 3. How large is the property? - 1,129 acres within mitigation bank boundaries, plus 45.8 acres of open meadows which landowner has agreed to include within the easement boundaries. Proposed Mitigation Bank area and contiguous meadow acreage totals 1,175 acres. Property is adjoined on the southeast by natural wooded riparian corridor of W. Mud Creek. Property is directly adjoined by 2,977 acres of other mitigation banks under permanent deed restrictions. Upland timber lands adjoin the mitigation bank to the north adjacent to Hwy Is the landowner willing to endow funds to maintain the property in perpetuity? Yes. Stewardship endowment to CCF would be part of the donation. 5. Does the property provide open space that is valuable to a community due to its proximity to developing areas or because it helps define a community s identity? Somewhat. Limited development has taken place in this area since much of the land is within the floodplain. Minor benefit to the public as protected open space, since area is already mostly open space that would otherwise be used as timber lands. 6. Does the project further and/or is it consistent with local government s conservation plans or policies? No. Property is primarily being protected as a requirement of USACE permits. 7. Does the property buffer, add to, or otherwise help protect or improve already protected areas? Yes. The protection of this property will fill in a land conservation gap to help buffer the Sabine River floodplain corridor from future impacts due to future logging. C:\Users\RJ Taylor\Connemara Easement Files\Black Gum Mit Bank - Upshur Co\Easement Criteria Evaluation - Black Gum MB Upshur Co..doc

3 Easement Criteria Evaluation Project: Black Gum Mitigation Bank southern Upshur County, Texas 8. Is the property under probable threat from future development? No. No residential or ranchette development is anticipated on the subject lands due to their location within the floodplain. Property could be under threat of continued hardwood timber harvests. 9. Does the project represent a prudent financial investment in conservation? Yes. Even though this is a profit-centered endeavor, the protection of river and creek corridors under conservation easements will assure future riparian corridor sustenance and water quality protection. 10. Is the project of sufficient size to provide public benefit and are its resource values likely to remain intact, even if adjacent properties are developed? Yes. Protection of this parcel fills a gap in land conservation along the floodplain of the Sabine River. The river s riparian corridor sustenance and water quality protection will still be in place, even if adjoining upland tracts are developed or if timber harvest activities continue on the neighboring lands. 11. Will the project initiate or serve as a precedent that may lead to additional easement projects? No. Landowners have already protected the adjoining mitigation bank tracts with permanent deed restrictions. Upland areas adjacent to these floodplain tracts are on upland soils, so they have limited opportunity for use as mitigation sites other than possible habitat mitigation for TPWD initiatives. C:\Users\RJ Taylor\Connemara Easement Files\Black Gum Mit Bank - Upshur Co\Easement Criteria Evaluation - Black Gum MB Upshur Co..doc

4 Easement Criteria Evaluation Project: Black Gum Mitigation Bank southern Upshur County, Texas OTHER ISSUES Potential Presence of Hazardous Materials? (Any potential reason for concern?) Low probability of haz. wastes on the property. Grantor will have a Phase I ESA performed on the property in order for the USACE and the Mitigation Bank Review Team to accept the proposal. Land Management Uses (overgrazing, erosion, trespassing, evidence of future violations (i.e. 4-wheelers, etc.): Wooded areas are comprised of medium to high quality bottomland forest. No plantings or other vegetation enhancements are planned for these areas as part of the mitigation bank. Property does have some all-weather roads for access to well site along pipelines; otherwise there are numerous dirt trails traversing Property and tying into adjacent mitigation bank tracts. In the 45.8 acres of non-wooded areas, current site conditions are open meadows which were logged by prior owners. Most of these open areas will be enhanced with food plots as part of the owners intentions to support hunting and wildlife uses of land. Other than an allowance for limited hunting by the Grantors, their family/friends and a current hunting lease, no public use of the wetland property will be proposed in the short term. The easement could be written to allow for the option of public access for field trips or as a natural area. Concerns for Stewardship in the Future? Y N If yes, why? (i.e. distance from office, terrain, difficulty for access, etc.) No. Stewardship endowment is part of the granting of the Mitigation Bank. OTHER CRITICAL INFORMATION Mitigation Bank will consist primarily of bottomland forest preservation, based on the Grantor s site development plan. Grantor will be required to annually monitor the wetlands for at least 7 years or until the Performance Criteria are met. CCF will rely on these annual reports for qualitative and quantitative data concerning the mitigation status during the first 7 years, other than performing at least one independent site visit each year to assure the organization and the USACE that wetland preservation activities are consistent with the easement language. Grantor will not be required to continue monitoring activities for USACE reporting after some minimum period. CCF will continue to perform at least one site visit each year with the generation of a monitoring report for submittal to the Grantor and to the USACE as third-party enforcer. No educational or public recreational activities are being proposed for the site, but the easement will be written to allow for such options, should a future buyer desire to include such. C:\Users\RJ Taylor\Connemara Easement Files\Black Gum Mit Bank - Upshur Co\Easement Criteria Evaluation - Black Gum MB Upshur Co..doc

5 UV 37 UV 37 Franklin UV Titus UV49 UV284 UV 338 UV 77 Arkansas Oklahoma Morris Texas Cass UV 11 Camp 259 UV 11 UV 250 UV 11 Louisiana UV 155 Wood UV154 Upshur 259 Marion UV 49 M Blackgum Mitigation Bank Project Location UV 155 Smith UV Smith UV 31 UV 135 UV135 UV 42 Gregg UV UV300 UV 502 Longview UV UV UV 322 UV322 UV UV149 Harrison Rusk 80 UV 43 Panola UV 390 Har µ Black Gum Ventures, LLC Date:10/10/11 Figure 1 Vicinity Map of the Proposed Blackgum Mitigation Bank in Upshur County, TX Miles Coordinate System: Lat/Long NAD27 Units: Decimal Degrees USACE Project Number: SWF Bill Owens Parkway Longview, TX Phone: (903) Fax: (903)

6 Legend Clear-Cut (Excluded From Proposed Bank) Forested Wetland (1, ac) Open Water (4.72 ac) Project Boundary µ Black Gum Ventures, LLC Date: 10/10/11 Figure 3 Aerial Photograph of the Proposed Blackgum Mitigation Bank in Upshur County, TX Feet ,500 3,000 4,500 6,000 Base Map: TNRIS Website; 2010 NAIP Uphsur County-wide Mosaic USACE Project Number: SWF Bill Owens Parkway Longview, TX Phone: (903) Fax: (903)

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