Conservation group Ducks Unlimited has received two grants from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop carbon offsets in an area covering five Midwestern states known as the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).
“We are working with landowners who are predominately ranchers facing economic pressure to plow grasslands for more lucrative crop production,” said Billy Gascoigne, Ducks Unlimited’s carbon programme lead.
The value of the grants was not disclosed.
The first grant is to streamline the process for grassland landowners to earn voluntary carbon credits through preserving their land from being converted, and the second grant is to fund an investigation into the science and market potential for carbon offsets from wetland conservation in the North Great Plains.
“Both efforts focus on providing more incentives for waterfowl habitat conservation and financial benefits to private landowners,” Ducks Unlimited added.
The programme seeks to generate carbon credits by keeping greenhouse gas reserves beneath the PPR, rather than allowing the atmosphere-warming emissions to escape through the process of converting the acreage into cropland.
Ducks Unlimited helped develop 40,000 carbon credits in the PPR last year, which were sold to US automaker Chevrolet.