Soil Enrichment Protocol

The Reserve is developing a Soil Enrichment Protocol (SEP) that will provide guidance on how to quantify, monitor, report, and verify agricultural practices that enhance carbon storage in soils. The primary GHG benefit targeted will be the accrual of additional carbon in agricultural soils, with hopes to incentivize GHG emission reductions from other sources, such as N2O from fertilizer use.

Protocol development is funded by Indigo Ag.

Public Comment Period

The draft protocol is available for public review below. A 30-day public comment period was held from April 17, 2020 to May 18, 2020.

The Reserve anticipates hosting a second public comment period and webinar this summer before seeking Board adoption. See the protocol development timeline at the bottom of this page and stay tuned for updates.

Public Comments Received

A summary document of public comments and the Reserve’s responses to comments is posted below.

Please see all public comments submitted to the Reserve during the first public comment period.

American Carbon Registry Indigo Ag, Inc.
California Association of Sanitation Agencies Kyle Hemes
CalRecycle Natural Capital Partners
Carbon Cycle Institute Patagonia
CarbonPlan Richard Scharf
Climate Smart Group and Carbon Credit Solutions Inc. Ruby Canyon Environmental
Ducks Unlimited Sally Brown
Environmental Defense Fund Sierra View Consulting*
Erika Foster Steven Apfelbaum
Evergreen Carbon WRI Food Program
Florian Forster Xuesong Zhang
Hancock Natural Resource Group  

* This comment was submitted by a workgroup member referencing the workgroup draft of the protocol.

Public Comment Webinar

The Reserve hosted a webinar on April 29 to discuss the draft protocol and solicit public comments.

Webinar recording
Presentation slides
Stakeholder Q&A


The Soil Enrichment Protocol is being developed through the Reserve’s multi-stakeholder workgroup process. The Reserve strives to create a well-balanced workgroup consisting of industry representatives, project developers, farmers, environmental NGOs, verification bodies, independent consultants, academia, and government bodies. Workgroup member organizations include:

Alliance of Crop Soil and Environmental Science Societies OpenTEAM, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Salk Institute
Colorado State University SES, Inc.
Continuum Ag Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.
C-Quest Capital Sierra View Consulting
Delta Institute The Nature Conservancy
Goodson Ranch LP TREES Consulting LLC
Indigo Ag, Inc. University of California, Berkeley
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University Viresco Solutions Inc
NativeEnergy Woods Hole Research Center
Natural Resources Conservation Service World Resources Institute

Interested stakeholders are welcome to participate in the process as “observers.” Observers may attend workgroup meetings in listen-only mode, comment on the draft protocol when it is released for public comment, and attend the public webinar held during the public comment period. Please email [email protected] if interested in participating as an observer.

Following a request for such information, the Reserve would like to provide the following tabled summary of existing relationships between workgroup members and Indigo Ag, who is funding this work.

Jonathan Sanderman Woods Hole Research Center WHRC soil lab processed samples from some of Indigo’s research sites. Dr. Sanderman also consulted on experimental designs for Indigo’s research teams. Both activities were compensated.
Ken Newcombe C-Quest Capital Informal advisor to Indigo as it builds its carbon business.
Max DuBuisson Indigo Ag, Inc. Employee.
Mitchell Hora Continuum Ag Participant in Indigo Carbon, recent small cash prize in the Carbon Cup competition.
Robert Parkhurst Sierra View Consulting Paid for consulting services to Indigo on a topic unrelated to the SEP.
Tom Cannon Goodson Ranch LP Participant in the Indigo Research Partners program, no cash payments.

Note: Remuneration from Indigo Ag to listed parties has totaled $90,000 (excluding remuneration of Indigo Ag employee Max DuBuisson).


Workgroup Meetings

Soil Enrichment Protocol Workgroup Meeting 4
June 19, 2020
Meeting recording
Presentation slides

Soil Enrichment Protocol Workgroup Meeting 3
April 3, 2020
Meeting recording
Presentation slides

Soil Enrichment Protocol Workgroup Meeting 2
March 6, 2020
Meeting recording
Presentation slides

Soil Enrichment Protocol Workgroup Meeting 1
February 6, 2020
Meeting recording
Presentation slides

Public Scoping Meeting

The Reserve hosted a public scoping meeting on January 15, 2020 to discuss this new project type. The webinar recording is available below and the presentation slides will be available soon.

Webinar recording
Presentation slides

Protocol Development Timeline

The following timeline will be updated as the protocol development process unfolds.

Public scoping meeting January 15
SOI form deadline January 17
Staff conducts internal research and drafts protocol January
First workgroup meeting February 6
Second workgroup meeting March 6
Third workgroup meeting April 3
Public comment period April 17 – May 18
Reserve responses to public comments June
Second public comment period Summer 2020
Second public webinar Summer 2020
Protocol presented to Reserve Board for approval TBD


Please contact [email protected] with questions or comments.