The Pierce Conservation District (CD) in Washington is participating in a unique program that will establish urban forestry carbon credits for a county that is home to nearly a million people.
In a pilot program funded through a grant from the Boeing Company to non-profit carbon registry and certification organization City Forest Credits
, the conservation district planted 3,700 trees in November on two small tracts in Puyallup and Orting. It is believed to be the first conservation district in the nation to generate carbon credits while also reforesting riparian habitat.
“Carbon sequestration and carbon credits aren’t a new thing, but what is new is a local market specific to urban forest carbon credits to monetize them,” Pierce CD Executive Director Ryan Mello said.
The conservation district planted a combined nine acres with one tract along Clarks Creek, a tributary of the Puyallup River that supports chinook, coho, chum, steelhead and cutthroat trout, and the other tract up the Puyallup River on a section that provides some of the best spawning grounds for chinook salmon.
One of the most pressing natural resource concerns for the conservation district has been habitat function for a growing list of endangered salmon species, Mello said. Decades-long riparian restoration efforts improve those habitats, and the carbon credit program is a natural extension of that.
“What we love about this is that it’s a new revenue source for us to fund the long-term maintenance for these sites, and we’re doing this on habitat sites that we would do anyways,” Mello said. “It’s not taking us off our mission or priorities, and it’s not in faraway places where you hear about carbon credits. It’s very local."
“The urban-suburban interface and the fish and wildlife is what’s special,” Mello said. “These salmon-bearing streams have been our priority, so it’s a nice overlap.”
Carbon credits are certified by City Forest Credits, a national nonprofit carbon registry that issues third-party verified credits and monitors long-term compliance. Businesses or individuals looking to purchase credits should contact the district directly.
You can learn more about this new program on Pierce CD's website
. Additionally, tune into Pierce CD's breakout session presentation of this revolutionary program during NACD's 75th Annual Meeting. The presentation will occur on Feb. 9 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern. To learn more about the breakout session presentation and register, click here