Unlocking Carbon Markets for NIPF Landowners in the Pacific Northwest
Year Awarded: FY 15
USDA Funding: $1 million
Partner-Contributed Funding: $914,000
RCPP Funding Pool: National
Project Timeline: 5 years (2015 – 2019)
Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas
Cowlitz, Clark, King, Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Kitsap, Grays Harbor
Lead Partner: Pinchot Institute for Conservation
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Oregon Department of Forestry
- Northwest Natural Resources Group
- L&C Carbon
- Woodlands Carbon Company
- The Climate Trust
- King County Conservation District
- Oregon State University Forestry Extension
The Unlocking Carbon Markets for NIPF Landowners in the Pacific Northwest project will provide opportunities for non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners in Oregon and Washington to participate in a regional carbon crediting program through the American Carbon Registry. It provides new opportunities for landowners to generate additional income through sustainable forestry designed to store carbon.
This project will support about 21,000 acres of NIPF land within two regional hubs of activity in the Pacific Northwest (see list of counties above). It targets about 260 NIPF landowners in Oregon and Washington who wish to participate in a regional carbon crediting program, and who own lands in NRCS and state priority areas, as defined in regional conservation strategies.
Eligible landowners can receive financial and technical assistance developing a forest management plan and implementing pre-commercial thinning on their land to enhance carbon stocks. The carbon program generates carbon-saving credits used to mitigate for other industrial forms of carbon production. By aggregating landowners into groups, the American Carbon Registry reduces transaction costs for carbon credit trading and allows small producers to participate.
Targeted parcels will be between 75 and 4,000 acres in size, with the majority being less than 250 acres. NRCS and partner assistance will cover much of the initial expense of participating in carbon projects, specifically the development of a forest management plan and subsequent implementation of pre-commercial thinning.
Conservation activities focus on the primary natural resource concerns of air quality (specifically excessive greenhouse gas emissions), wildlife habitat conservation and enhancement, and water quality protection, and conserving forest health and diversity by reducing forestland conversion (a specific resource concern in Oregon).
NRCS and partners will develop forest management and carbon management plans for 19,900 acres of land which, if implemented, will result in a net carbon reduction of an estimated 1.25 million metric tons of CO2 over a 20-year carbon crediting period.
Landowner participation in the carbon project would include independent certification of forest management plans, carbon verification, and monitoring for at least 20 years, with options for renewal.
In compliance with the ACR carbon credit methodology, landowners seeking carbon crediting will be required to:
- Have forest management certification (Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or American Tree Farm System);
- Increase carbon storage on their property though delaying timber harvests and accelerating forest growth in a manner consistent with their forest management plan;
- Commit to a 20-year crediting contract with annual monitoring and periodic third-party verification and the option to renew every 20 years for up to 100 years, and;
- Adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.
Many of the practices currently supported by EQIP to address multiple natural resources concerns are consistent with increasing forest health and carbon storage.
This project is a ground-breaking partnership of non-profits, for profits, and government that leverages the unique skills and resources each brings to landowner engagement, management planning, carbon modeling, and carbon project development and certification.
NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used:
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
NRCS Conservation Practices:
- 106 – Forest Management Plan
- 126 – Comprehensive Air Quality Management Plan
- 666 – Forest Stand Improvement
- 384 – Woody Residue Treatment
- 660 – Tree Shrub Pruning
- 655 – Forest Trails and Landings
- 612 – Tree/Shrub Establishment
- 490 – Tree/Shrub Site Preparation
- 394 - Firebreak
- 391 – Riparian Forest Buffer
- 383 – Fuel break
- 338 – Prescribed Burning
- 314 – Brush Management
- 315 – Herbaceous Weed Control
Carbon Markets Flyer -- March 2016 (PDF, 2.17 MB)
Northwest Oregon Carbon Opportunities for Family Forest Owners (PDF, 1.37 MB)
Points of Contact:
Brian Kittler, Western Regional Director
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
Oregon NRCS Offices:
Columbia County: Don Mehlhoff, District Conservationist, 503-397-4555 x105. Don.Mehlhoff@or.usda.gov
Washington County: Santiago Misquez, District Conservationist, 503-648-3174 x113. Santiago.Misquez@or.usda.gov
Multnomah County: Kimberly Galland, District Conservationist, 503-210-6032. Kimberly.Galland@or.usda.gov
Clackamas County: Kris Homma, District Conservationist, 503-210-6031. Kris.Homma@or.usda.gov
Washington NRCS Offices:
Cowlitz, Clark, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties: David Rose, District Conservationist, 360-748-0083 x101. David.Rose@wa.usda.gov
King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Kitsap Counties: Amy Hendershot, District Conservationist, 253-845-9272 x107. Amy.Hendershot@wa.usda.gov
Columbia County: Ed Teel, District Conservationist, 509-522-6347 x106. Ed.Teel@wa.usda.gov