Carbon Program Projects

Although the Carbon Program does not have current ongoing projects; the program is open to new ideas and partners.  Please see information for some of the program’s past projects:

This OSU-led project promotes the adoption of cover crop use in the southern High Plains. Our involvement entails supporting conservation districts in their work with local producers to begin on-farm demonstrations. Demonstrations include proof of concept, strip-trials, and replicates in no-till cropland, pastureland experimentation with cover crops. Inclusion of cover crops in rotation with cash crops increases total carbon inputs into soil and has been shown to increase the rate of soil carbon sequestration and soil moisture. The project does not provide assessments of carbon sequestration resulting from cover crop use, but does promote their adoption by producers. This project builds upon previous projects by promoting practices that increase soil quality and organic carbon as well as provide water quality benefits such as erosion control and decreased fertilizer N applications. Partners: Oklahoma State University (OSU), Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), OK-NRCS, Dewey County Conservation District, Nowata County Conservation District, McClain County Conservation District, Texas County Conservation District. Partnership Designation: Subgrantee. Funding Source: OSU via NRCS FY2014 CIG. Start Date: 2014. Duration: Three years. Status: Complete. More Information: Dr. Jason Warren

The Pilot Program was initiated to support development of the new Oklahoma carbon sequestration certification program. Interest in the program was so great, and project opportunities so bountiful, the pilot ran in tandem with several projects listed below. The carbon pilot program was conducted in conjunction with an EPA-funded North Canadian River Water Quality Project, whose goal is to improve the water quality of the river between Canton Dam and Lake Overholser by reducing polluted runoff from land. The pilot program used paired financial incentives from carbon offset payments and water quality program cost share monies to encourage producer participation. As part of the pilot program, soil carbon samples were taken from select participating fields by Oklahoma State University. Partners: US EPA, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), OK-NRCS, Oklahoma State University (OSU), Central North Canadian River Conservation District, Blaine County Conservation District. Partnership Designation: Grantee. Funding Source: US EPA,NRCS FY2010 CIG. Start Date: 2010. Duration: Three years. Status: Complete. More Information: See the project page for reports.

Expansion Project: Developing high quality carbon offset verification protocols and quantifying water quality improvements of best management practices to ensure the environmental benefits of agricultural carbon offsets This project expands upon the Pilot Program to complete carbon sequestration verification protocols under development in Oklahoma, pair them with soil sampling, and demonstrate how verified carbon offsets and related water quality improvements can be bundled for ecosystem market transactions. Protocols will be compiled into a verification handbook. The purpose of this project is to develop, test, and implement carbon sequestration verification protocols for agricultural and silvicultural practices that are recognized to have carbon market value to ensure environmental benefits of ecosystem market transactions. Partners: USDA-NRCS, US EPA, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), OK-NRCS, Oklahoma State University (OSU), Central North Canadian River Conservation District, Blaine County Conservation District, Dewey County Conservation District. Partnership Designation: Grantee. Funding Source: NRCS FY2010 CIG, US EPA. Start Date: 2010. Duration: Three years. Status: Complete. More Information: See the project page for reports.

Soil Carbon Sampling and DatabaseSoil carbon sampling is an integral part of most Oklahoma Carbon Program projects because the Conservation Commission and partners are committed to expanding soil health research in Oklahoma. The overall goal of soil carbon research in Oklahoma is to determine sequestration rates of these practices in specific soils in as much of Oklahoma as possible. We have partnered with Oklahoma State University (OSU) to work toward this goal. OSU is evaluating the impact of spatial variations on the accuracy and uncertainty of soil carbon measurements for use in carbon sequestration verification. Assessments of both small scale (meters) and large scale (kilometers) variations are conducted so that future sampling protocols can be developed that minimize sample requirements and ensure accurate sequestration measurements for the aggregated acres by carbon offset verifiers. Approximately 2100 soil samples have been collected for this project. These samples will be added to a geo-referenced database that is under development. Partners:Oklahoma State University (OSU), Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts. Partnership Designation: Lead. Funding Source: NRCS FY2010 CIG, WFEC, OSU. Start Date: 2008. Duration: Five years. Status: Ongoing. More Information: See the soil carbon research page for the report.

The purpose of this project is to continue and expand implementation efforts in the North Canadian River watershed to address nonpoint source (NPS) pollution-related impairments to streams, the river, and the recipient drinking water reservoirs. The project takes a holistic ecosystem approach to conservation management to reap the co-benefits of multiple conservation strategies working synergistically in a defined area to demonstrate to producers that it is feasible to continue implementation of best management practices (BMP) beyond the project duration, while improving water quality and optimizing farm yields. The ultimate goal is load reductions of bacteria, sediment, and nitrogen to streams, with the co-benefits of carbon sequestration and avoided nitrogen emissions. This will be done by providing to producers technical assistance, strategies, rationales, and demonstrations including cover cropping, nutrient management, and wildlife management in riparian buffers. Partners: USEPA, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, OK-NRCS, Central North Canadian River Conservation District, Blaine County Conservation District, Dewey County Conservation District.  Partnership Designation: Grantee. Funding Source: USEPA. Start Date: 2011. Duration: Two years. Status: Completed

Bringing Greenhouse Gas Benefits to Market: Nutrient Management for Nitrous Oxide ReductionsThe overall objective of this project is to enroll producers into a program that generates market-quality GHG credits from nutrient management and conservation practices. In Oklahoma, partners will work with participating agriculture producers to collect data from fields using the N-Rich Strip and nitrogen-measuring pocket sensors. The on-farm goal is to optimize nitrogen application while maintaining or increasing crop yield. The project will use the data, models, contracts, verification protocols, and producer surveys to identify the opportunities and barriers of implementing nutrient management greenhouse gas (GHG) programs. The project team will draw lessons from this experience for future GHG market design and participation, with the goal of enrolling producers into a program that generates market-quality GHG reduction credits from nutrient management and conservation practices.The team will identify the opportunities and barriers of implementing nutrient management GHG programs via the comparison of different protocols (mostly ACR and CAR), quantification models, and outreach mechanisms. Partners: USDA-NRCS, Delta Institute, National wildlife Federation, Oklahoma State University. Partnership Designation: Subgrantee. Funding Source: NRCS FY2011 CIG. Start Date: 2011. Duration: Three years. Status: Completed

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission is collaborating with the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and NRCS to develop the concept of a wildlife credit as it applies to the Lesser Prairie Chicken (“LEPC”) habitat within the project area. The goal is to increase LEPC habitat and population to prevent its listing on the endangered species list. This 

Northwest Oklahoma Ecosystem Crediting Opportunities (ECO-Bundle) ProgramThe Oklahoma Conservation Commission is collaborating with the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and NRCS to develop the concept of a wildlife credit as it applies to the Lesser Prairie Chicken (“LEPC”) habitat within the project area. The goal is to increase LEPC habitat and population to prevent its listing on the endangered species list. This will entail creating protocols for defining, quantifying, and qualifying the credit, developing a credit verification system, and measuring the project’s effect on Oklahoma’s LEPC habitat and population. The crediting system will account for the cost to landowners for implementing the required practices. Through this process OACD and its partners will develop a Wildlife Credit Handbook. To qualify for this program producers must be willing to sign a contract to undertake a wildlife management plan that improves wildlife habitat through the practices of improved pasture management, cross fence removal, invasive species control, or native grass plantings, and must also agree to forego activities that significantly harm Prairie Chicken Habitat. Partners: OACD, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, OK-NRCS. Partnership Designation: Partner. Funding Source: NRCS FY2011 CIG. Start Date: 2011. Duration: Three years. Status: Completed

If you are interested in partnering on a project contact the Carbon Program at 405-522-4739.