The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has finalized its first conservation agreement involving Trust land. The Trust Land Office (TLO), which manages the Trust’s one million acres of land, has signed an agreement with Donlin Gold, LLC to enter a long-term deed restriction agreement for approximately 2,000 acres of Trust land near Tyonek for the purpose of wetlands compensatory mitigation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who is serving as the lead permitting agency for the Donlin Mine, has approved this agreement.
In the agreement, Donlin has paid the Trust $200,000 for the option to purchase a deed restriction. If a decision to construct a mine is made, Donlin will pay the Trust $1.3 million to limit surface development of the Trust’s land, maintaining the value of the land’s existing wetlands, for 99 years. The conservation agreement, which falls outside established mitigation banks, would protect the value of the acres’ wetlands in the Tyonek area to mitigate wetland impacts associated with the Donlin project in southwest Alaska. The earnings associated with the agreement will be used to support programs that serve Alaska Mental Health Trust beneficiaries.
“As our first mitigation marketing project, this is a great way to earn revenue to serve Trust beneficiaries from our lands that are otherwise difficult to monetize,” said Wyn Menefee, Executive Director of the Trust Land Office. “It is exciting to have this unique agreement that provides Donlin flexibility as it advances it’s project, with revenues for the Trust that correspond to the levels of commitment.”
The Alaska Mental Health Trust board of trustees was consulted on this agreement as a part of TLO’s Best Interest Decision relating to the land. The TLO manages the Trust’s non-cash assets, which include approximately one million acres of land and the associated natural resources, to generate revenue for the Trust.
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is a state corporation that administers the Mental Health Trust, a perpetual trust created to ensure that Alaska has a comprehensive mental health program to serve people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chronic alcoholism and other substance related disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, and traumatic brain injury that results in permanent brain injury. The Trust operates much like a private foundation, using its resources to fund system change, demonstration projects, funding partnerships, technical assistance and Trust-initiated projects. The Trust is fully self-funded and is overseen by a seven-member board of trustees.