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Conservation Innovation Grants- Greenhouse Gas Awardees: Fiscal Year 2011

Conservation Innovation Grants- Greenhouse Gas Awardees: Fiscal Year 2011

Below is a list of the fiscal year 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Greenhouse Gas awardees. The information includes the State(s) in which the project will be carried out, the total amount of NRCS funding provided, project title, and a brief project description.

Applied Ecological Services, Inc (WA, OR, ID)


Agricultural Soil Carbon in the Palouse Region: Developing a Large-scale Agricultural Soil Carbon Transaction in the Palouse Region

The project seek to develop a large-scale agricultural carbon project on Shepherd’s Grain and surrounding land in partnership with landowners in the Palouse region, and to provide a roadmap for developing large-scale, high quality, and low cost carbon transactions. The introduction of sustainable, low-carbon farming practices have the potential to restore the fertility. This project will demonstrate both the importance of large-scale low-carbon practices to GHG reductions policies and the role of quantitative soil carbon methodologies in creating compliance–grade off set credits

Delta Institute (IL, OK, MI)


Bringing Greenhouse Gas Benefits to Market: Nutrient Management for Nitrous Oxide Reductions

The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Conservation Commission and Delta Institute will draw on their existing relationships to hold educational producer workshops. The project will operate for three years. New methodologies (particularly the Climate Action Reserve Nutrient Management Project Protocol) and environmental regulations will emerge that demand considerable analysis and engagement with farmers. The project team will document how fluctuations in the price of carbon, new protocols, and environmental regulations change perceptions and interest in carbon markets. As producers adopt creditable nutrient management practices, the project team will achieve its ultimate goal of creating environmental benefits and economic opportunities through market based innovation.

Unison Resource Company, San Francisco Carbon Collaborative, and EcoAnalytics (IN, KS, NE, NM, TX, OH, WI, MI)


Piloting Innovative Beef and Dairy GHG Emission Reduction Strategies in U.S. Feedlots and Dairies

The pilot project is designed to demonstrate that beef and dairy operators can be incentivized to adopt innovative feeding and manure management practices that will reduce methane (both enteric and manure produced) and nitrous oxide emissions and generate revenue from the monetization of carbon credits. The pilot will adapt three Beef protocols and one Dairy protocol, and it will test methodologies that qualify carbon offsets in the beef and dairy sector and that stimulate: (i) feed use efficiency, (ii) streamlining of complex data management, (iii) creation of systems that a diversity of producers can use to produce GHG reductions, (iv) monetization of verifiable carbon credits; (v) creation of carbon market linkages between Canada and the United States and between domestic carbon market standards (e.g. American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve), (vi) enhance economic viability of feed yards/dairy farms; and (vii) design scalable approaches to large GHG reduction tonnage.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (MD, VA)


Estimating N2O Reductions from Nutrient Management in the Chesapeake Watershed

The goal of the project is to develop and implement a greenhouse gas tool for estimating N2O reductions from nutrient management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This tool is intended to help reduce some of the technological and financial barriers to certifying carbon offset credits generated by nutrient management projects. The project will estimate the N2O emissions benefits of three different nutrient management approaches: soil testing/adaptive management, manure injection, and variable rate technology, providing the ability to compare and contrast these approaches in terms of greenhouse gas benefits, fertilizer savings and obstacles to greater implementation. Specific objectives of the project include: 1) Implementing enhanced nutrient management on approximately 3,800 acres of cropland; 2) calibrating and validating the DNDC model for cropping systems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; 3) creating a more user-friendly version of the DNDC model by developing the underlying regional soil and climate databases; 4) testing and applying the DNDC model on participating farms, with EQIP-eligible producers, to determine the potential for carbon offset credits; 5) preparing and submitting a Greenhouse Gas Project Plan to the American Carbon Registry; 6) conducting three workshops to educate farmers and technical service providers on the pilot project; and 7) achieve third party certification and validation of credits 8) compare and contrast the greenhouse gas benefits and implementation costs of three different nutrient management approaches.

The Fertilizer Institute (IL, IA)


Smart Nitrogen Application Program Demonstration Project

The project will create a program to encourage increase productivity and nutrient use efficiency through BMP implementation and to generate revenue from the monetization of carbon credits. The project, involving producer interaction and participation, will evaluate existing N2O protocols and will help create a streamlined Smart Nitrogen Application Program (SNAP) framework for delivering carbon credits to market place. At the end of the project a fully functioning and self-perpetuating program will have been created to help producers create and sell credits into both voluntary and compliance markets.

Dairy Science Institute, Inc, dba Dairy Research Institute (CA, FL, ID, NY, MI, MN, PA, WI, NM, TX, OR, WA)


Dairy Farm Stewardship Toolkit

The project objective: is to create a fully tested, innovative and unique tool to measure, benchmark, and provide feedback on the environmental impact of dairy farming, at the farm level. In addition, the project has a goal to provide training materials to assist those experts with the most access to and respect from dairy farmers in using the toolkit as a way to discuss sustainability and conservation topics and cause measurable improvement in dairy farm practices.

The project create an easy-to-use toolkit to evaluate current stewardship practices on dairy farms, make suggestions for improving on these practices, and connect the producer to funds that can help to pay for these practice changes. In addition, a method for effectively communicating with dairy producers will be developed utilizing the existing social and professional networks on which producers rely from day to day.

Ducks Unlimited, Inc (ND, SD)


Ducks Unlimited Avoided Grassland Conversion Carbon Project

This project proposes developing the necessary tools for grassland producers to receive compensation for the carbon storage benefit of retaining rangeland that would otherwise be converted to cropland through the sale of carbon offsets. The conversion of rangeland to cropland continues to occur at a chronic rate in the Northern Great Plains, emitting CO2 as the soil organic carbon becomes oxidized through cultivation. Conservation of grasslands also provides numerous other environmental and social benefits from reduced soil erosion, to increased recreation opportunities. Proposed project activities will develop and certify a methodology for Avoided Grassland Conversion for use in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS, formerly the Voluntary Carbon Standard).

Environmental Defense Fund (AR, CA)


Demonstrating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in California and Midsouth Rice Production

This initiative builds on recent work by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in California and Winrock International in Arkansas, carried out in collaboration with the leading rice industry associations and rice producers in each region. The project will create and secure approval of a methodology for rice sector GHG emissions reductions, and adapt it as needed for appropriate practices in California and Arkansas. We will implement one pilot project with EQIP eligible producers in each state; assess environmental impacts of tested practices; introduce a new middle layer technology that will allow farmers to efficiently access offset credit information; facilitate the monitoring, verification, and registration of the resulting GHG emission reductions on a commonly recognized carbon registry; work to secure regulatory approvals so that the GHG emission reductions achieved will have compliance value under California’s cap-and- trade program; disseminate lessons learned to other interested producers and NRCS; and evaluate scale-up potential in California, Arkansas and other rice-producing states.

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation (WA)


Adaptation of Forest Carbon Protocol to Include Tribal Lands

This project aims to overcome a variety of market-based barriers to entry for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the AFOLU sector. The project model has two components: it will adapt and implement approved forest carbon methodologies and protocols (e.g. afforestation, reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided conversion) to address issues involving tribal sovereignty; and it will create a streamlined system where adapted carbon methodologies can be applied with participation of tribes to determine baseline values of carbon sequestration, verify the implementation and maintenance of GHG benefitting practices, and determine GHG benefits (additionally) to successfully register these benefits in a commonly recognized carbon.