Grassland Protocol

The Reserve has developed the Grassland Protocol to provide guidance on how to quantify, monitor, report, and verify GHG emission reductions associated with the avoided conversion of grassland to cropland. The protocol was first adopted by the Reserve Board in July 2015.

Protocol Revisions

The Grassland Protocol is not undergoing revision at this time.

Protocol Companion Documents & Tools

The relevant forms that a Project Developer may need to complete in order to submit and register a grassland project are located on the Program and Project Documents webpage and listed here:

  • Project Submittal form
  • Cooperative Submittal form
  • New Project Enrollment form
  • Cooperative Transfer form
  • Grassland Project Implementation Agreement

Please review the User Guide to Grassland Protocol Forms, available in the table below, which provides a comprehensive overview of the forms that are required for different project scenarios.

Document/Tool (version) Description Protocol Version Relevance
GrassTool The Reserve has developed a Grassland Calculation Tool to assist with the quantification of projects using the Grassland Protocol. Use of the tool is optional. Request a Copy Here Version 1.0,
Version 2.0,
Version 2.1
Grassland Project Parameters (January 27, 2021) An excel file containing project parameters by stratum and county, as well as discount factors for the uncertainty of modeling future practices and climate. This file is required in order to carry out the quantification for a grassland project. Version 2.0,
Version 2.1
Grassland Project Handbook v2.1a (September 2020) This Handbook is intended to be a companion document to the Grassland Protocol, providing advice and assistance to project developers as they initiate and manage grassland projects. This document will be updated periodically by Reserve staff. Version 2.0,
Version 2.1
User Guide: Grassland Protocol Forms Describes when the various forms mentioned in the Grassland Protocol are required and provides example project scenarios to help explain when the forms should be used. Version 1.0
Monitoring Plan Template (December 2019) This document is intended to assist project developers in organizing project data, summarizing key aspects of a project, and to help facilitate verification. It is created at the beginning of a project, and updated over time as conditions change. Version 1.0,
Version 2.0,
Version 2.1
Project Monitoring Report Template (October 2019) A report stating the project’s estimated annual emission reductions, attesting that the project is carrying out the intended project activities, and confirming that no reversals have occurred on the project area. Version 1.0,
Version 2.0,
Version 2.1

Grassland CIG Report: Stimulating Grassland Conservation Through Greenhouse Gas Emissions Markets

The Reserve’s grassland efforts have been supported in part by a generous Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The grant period ran from November 2015 through December 2018, and involved the participation of several partner organizations. You may download the final report, detailing the activities and achievements under this CIG, here: link.

Grassland Project Eligibility Map

The GrassMap was created by the Reserve to assist with assessing project eligibility and feasibility based on the Grassland Protocol. This map is intended to provide users with information to gauge project potential based on filters for financial suitability, MLRA eligibility, land use history, and soil properties. The Baseline Emissions Factors (BEF) represented in the map include CO2 and N2O emissions, in units of tCO2 per acre per year.

Map layer titles follow this naming convention: MLRA_soil texture_land use history, where “MLRA Fine 10” denotes individual MLRAs with fine soil texture that has been grassland for at least 10 years.

User Tips:

  • Toggle the layers on/off to view the MLRA information applicable to your property.
  • Zoom, point, and click on a location to view a pop-up window with additional Financial Suitability and Stratum Information data. Use the arrow on the top right corner of the pop-up window to view more information. (The map visualizes BEF for the first ten years. BEFs for subsequent years can be found in the pop-up windows.)
  • Click the drop-down arrow of each active layer to view the map legend.


Protocol Development & Previous Versions

Use the link below to access information about the protocol development process for the Grassland Protocol. Public comments, staff responses to public comments, workgroup participants, and other supporting documents can also be found here.

Click the link below to access more information:

Please contact the Reserve with questions or comments.