DU’s carbon offset program awarded two USDA grants

BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 21, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited received two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further carbon market development in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

The grants were awarded through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. The first grant will improve the grassland carbon offset market, streamlining the process for landowners to sell their carbon credits and invest in new credit contracts on about 10,000 PPR acres. The second grant will investigate the science and market potential for carbon offsets from wetland conservation in the Northern Great Plains. Both efforts focus on providing more incentives for waterfowl habitat conservation and financial benefits to private landowners.

"DU is committed to furthering innovative, market-based solutions to maintain working grasslands that are economically and ecologically valuable. It is great to see this investment from the USDA as we continue to work towards a viable marketplace for grassland-based producers," said Billy Gascoigne, DU's carbon program lead.

Ducks Unlimited received its first CIG grant in 2011 to initiate this innovative carbon credit-trading program in the PPR of the Dakotas. The program protects grasslands that are at risk of conversion to row-crop production, which releases below ground carbon reserves. With this grant, DU developed an industry approved accounting method and contracts with nearly 50 different landowners.

"We are working with landowners who are predominately ranchers facing economic pressure to plow grasslands for more lucrative crop production," Gascoigne said.

Last fall, DU successfully developed nearly 40,000 carbon credits from at-risk grasslands, which were the first of their kind and resulted in a monumental sale to Chevrolet.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.

Media Contact:
Jennifer P. Kross