Led by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU), this project looks to leverage experience from a 2010 CIG funded effort in which the Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and Shrublands (ACoGS) methodology was developed and certified offsets were generated.  The overarching objective of this new CIG-funded project is to continue to improve carbon offset opportunities for grassland-based producers and, through innovation, ensure the provision of important ecosystem services.  Specifically, the project team—Ducks Unlimited, American Carbon Registry (ACR), and The Nature Conservancy— will reevaluate and refine the current ACoGS methodology, strategically identifying ways in which transaction costs and project development burdens can be reduced while maintaining scientific rigor.  The next phase of the project will utilize the methodology revisions and bring additional grassland-based carbon credits to market.  DU will look to model multiple vintages worth of carbon offsets on 26,000 grassland acres in its portfolio.  Furthermore, DU will invest in acquiring new contracts on upwards of 10,000 working grassland acres from EQIP-eligible producers in waterfowl sensitive areas in North Dakota.  DU will lead all landowner engagement, modeling, report writing, and certification efforts. Market expansion efforts will be limited to the Northern Great Plains region given the amount of conversion taking place, the carbon emission implications, and overall habitat values to migratory waterfowl.

Key Project Elements 

Project Location: Northern Great Plains, Prairie Pothole Region, North Dakota
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGe) Reduction Goal:  50,000+ t CO2e
Emission Source Targeted: Below-ground soil carbon reserves; avoided tillage
GHGe Quantification Method:  Following ACR’s ACoGS methodology, likely DayCent Biogeochemical model
Engagement Level: Modeling at least 16,000 grassland acres, will also engage with farmers to protect and model an additional 10,000 acres
Crop(s) Targeted: Rangelands
Technology Required: Biogeochemical models, remote sensing
Protocols/Methodologies Engaged: ACR's Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and Shrublands (ACoGS)

Project Summary

The overarching objective of this new CIG-funded project is to continue to improve carbon offset opportunities for grassland-based producers and, through innovation, ensure the provision of important ecosystem services.