The objective of this project is to investigate the feasibility and potential application of a new greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol based on the restoration of wetlands and/or avoided drainage of wetlands, with a concentration on the Northern Great Plains.  Protocol development is the foundation of any emerging carbon offset trading opportunity.  To date, no wetland-based carbon offsets have ever been registered, yet wetland drainage in agricultural systems continues to be a significant contributor to GHG emissions in the U.S.  This project will develop an expert working group that will help identify the science gaps or other potential hindrances to market development for such a protocol.  A formal summary report of the working group efforts will be developed and submitted to the USDA.  In doing so, it is the aim of this effort to provide assurance to the USDA (and any others financially supporting emerging market opportunities) on whether or not a sustainable GHG wetland-based market can take effect in the NGP and provide financial compensation for producers facing economic decisions associated with wetlands.  A partnership with Colorado State University’s new Master of Greenhouse Gas Management & Accounting program will be integral to the effort.  A Phase II in which a modular protocol is developed will be pursued if market potential is identified and additional funding is secured.

Key Project Elements

Project Location: Northern Great Plains
Emission Source Targeted: Wetland drainage and/or restoration (sequestration)
GHGe Quantification Method:  Scientific review, biogeochemical models, expert working group
Engagement Level: TBD
Crop(s) Targeted: Wetlands in all agricultural systems at risk of drainage
Protocols/Methodologies Engaged: All existing wetland protocols, modular methodologies

Project Summary

The objective of this project is to investigate the feasibility and potential application of a new GHG protocol based on the restoration of wetlands and/or avoided drainage of wetlands, with a concentration on the Northern Great Plains.