Ducks Unlimited and Chevy Go Grassroots to Help Save Prairies

Ducks Unlimited and Chevy Go Grassroots to Help Save Prairies

First-of-its-kind project traps carbon and maintains habitat for various bird species
Monday, November 17, 2014 - 4:45pm

CAMPAIGN: Chevrolet Carbon-Reduction Initiative


Chevrolet is teaming up with Ducks Unlimited and other climate experts to help ensure up to 6,000 acres of grasslands in North Dakota is protected against industrial-scale crop farming.  The innovative partnership to support the Missouri Coteau is one of 36 projects under Chevrolet’s voluntary carbon-reduction initiative to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted.

Although carbon dioxide is released during the farming process, rural landowners are under increasing pressure to lease these mixed-grass prairies for such activities. By allowing the land to remain as a prairie, carbon stays trapped in the soil, up to 600 acres of wetlands remain undisturbed, and habitats are provided for 37 shorebirds, including four of which are endangered, such as the bald eagle and whooping crane.

The project began when the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant to Ducks Unlimited to develop a carbon credit methodology for keeping grasslands and shrublands intact instead of converting them into cropland. Under the leadership of Ducks Unlimited, the project successfully enrolled 114 eligible landowners and 50,000 acres in this program.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Ranchers voluntarily place grasslands under permanent conservation easements, which means use of the land is limited in order to protect it.
  2. The land is grazed and hayed, rather than tilled, so the soil is undisturbed, keeping carbon in the ground.
  3. The Conservation Innovation Grant is used to calculate the amount of carbon in the soil.
  4. That carbon is quantified, verified by a third-party, and turned into tradeable carbon credits.
  5. Chevrolet purchases the carbon credits and retires them to benefit the environment.

When it’s all said and done, Chevrolet will purchase nearly 40,000 tons of carbon credits. It will then retire them, meaning they will never be used to offset Chevrolet vehicles or operations. Now that the first-of-its-kind methodology is in place, any company can support the project.

Just like Chevrolet’s work with college campuses across the country, this program is a pioneering effort that opens up a new door to a clean energy future.

CATEGORY: Environment