Develop crediting programs cooperatively with all the interested parties. It is vital to engage stakeholders early and often. Participation and/or leadership from State agencies is key. Engaging a diverse set of technical experts and encouraging the participation of a variety of different stakeholders (regulatory, advocacy, etc.) will ensure that the program has ongoing support.
Avoid “re-creating the wheel” of crediting approaches. Adapting existing crediting protocols for new ecological services and geographical areas can save time and money. Many programs will have similar needs, so it is worthwhile to draw upon best practices from early pilot programs. However, it is essential that the program be adapted to local conditions and receive buy-in from local stakeholders.
Think outside the box when it comes to funding the development of crediting systems. Cost-benefit analyses have shown crediting can save money, but future savings first require an investment in crediting. Past successful programs have leveraged innovative grants and funding opportunities, including the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant Program and US Fish and Wildlife Service Section 6 Grants.