DU wins innovation award for cutting-edge prairies conservation program

Story at a Glance DU has received an award for its work to reward ranchers for protecting grass by offering an additional payment for storing carbon.
The American Carbon Registry has recognized Ducks Unlimited with an Innovation award for a cutting-edge conservation project in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).  The PPR is a vast area of grasslands and wetlands that provides vital wildlife habitat. Annual losses of native grasslands to crop production in the PPR have averaged approximately 50,000 acres per year since 2007. DU is preserving the carbon sequestered in the soil by avoiding the conversion of these valuable prairies to cropland.

“Ranchers in the Dakotas and Montana are looking for ways to keep their livestock operations viable,” said Steve Adair, director of DU’s Great Plains Region. “DU, with assistance from partners, developed a methodology to measure carbon captured and stored by native prairie and is working to develop a carbon credit opportunity to provide landowners an extra incentive to maintain the grasslands and wetlands, instead of converting the land to crop production.”

Currently DU is working to complete the verification and validation of the project that is in the pilot stage working with landowners in eight counties in North Dakota to help them generate income from the sale of carbon credits generated through the preservation of their grasslands.

The nonprofit American Carbon Registry,an enterprise of Winrock International, is a leading carbon offset program recognized for its high standards for environmental integrity