The Reserve has developed the U.S. 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.
- U.S. Grassland Protocol Version 2.1 (February 13, 2020)
- U.S. Grassland Protocol Version 2.1 Summary
Protocol Supporting Documents
Please review the User Guide to U.S. 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 U.S. Grassland Protocol. The equations in the tool mirror those in the protocol, and perform calculations for all required and optional SSRs to conduct protocol-compliant emission reduction estimations. Use of the tool is optional. Users provide project-specific data in the worksheet titled “Inputs” and can review the project calculations and emission reduction estimates in the worksheet titled “Outputs.”
If you are developing a U.S. Grasslands project and would like to receive a copy of this tool, please send an e-mail to [email protected]. In the body of the e-mail message, please include the following information:
|Grassland Project Parameters (May 5, 2022)||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. To request a copy, please email [email protected].||Version 2.0,
|Grassland Project Handbook v2.1a (September 2020)||This Handbook is intended to be a companion document to the U.S. 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,
|User Guide: U.S. Grassland Protocol Forms||Describes when the various forms mentioned in the U.S. 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,
|Project Monitoring Report Template (August 2021)||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,
Project Registration Documents
See the User Guide for U.S. Grassland Protocol Forms for more detailed information.
|Grassland Project Submittal Form||A proposal from a Project Developer to undertake a grassland project.||Project Submittal||Public|
|Grassland Cooperative Submittal Form||A proposal from a Cooperative Developer to undertake more than one grassland project and bring them into their cooperative.||Project Submittal||Public|
|New Project Enrollment Form||A Cooperative Developer uses this form to add an additional project to their cooperative.||Public|
|Cooperative Transfer Form||A Project Developer uses this form to leave a cooperative.||Public|
|Project Area Map||Map that shows the general physical boundary of the project area. This is not the same as the georeferenced project boundary map (private) required during verification. See Section 7.2 of the protocol for further information.||Project Submittal||Public|
|U.S. Grasslands Conservation Easement Screening Form||A form that is not required, but highly recommended to be submitted by projects using a conservation easement or other eligible conservation agreement under the protocol. It is recommended that this form be completed prior to executing the easement/agreement. Submission of the form as part of the initial listing process allows the Reserve the chance to ensure the proposed terms incorporated in the easement/agreement meet the requirements of the protocol.||Public|
|Grassland Contract Project Implementation Agreement (Contract PIA)||The PIA is a legal agreement between the Reserve and a Project Developer setting forth: (i) the Project Developer’s obligation (and the obligation of its successors and assigns) to comply with the U.S. Grassland Protocol, and (ii) the rights and remedies of the Reserve in the event of any failure of the Project Developer to comply with its obligations. The Contract PIA is not recorded on the deed to the property.||Verification||Public|
|Grassland Recorded Project Implementation Agreement (Recorded PIA)||The PIA is a legal agreement between the Reserve and a Project Developer setting forth: (i) the Project Developer’s obligation (and the obligation of its successors and assigns) to comply with the U.S. Grassland Protocol, and (ii) the rights and remedies of the Reserve in the event of any failure of the Project Developer to comply with its obligations. The Recorded PIA must be recorded on the deed to the property.||Verification||Public|
|Monitoring Report Template||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.||Verification||Public|
|Monitoring Plan Template||This document is intended as a template 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.||Verification||Private|
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 U.S. 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.
- 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 U.S. 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:
- Version 2.1 (February 13, 2020)
- Version 2.0 (January 18, 2017)
- Version 1.0 (July 22, 2015)
Please contact the Reserve with questions or comments.