A certified organic silvo-pasture ranch that is serving as a research site for the Marin Carbon Project, the ranch will also become a demonstration location for the education and outreach component of the MCP as programs are developed. The ranch helps support all of the MCP Steering Committee member organizations in their programs in any way needed.
MALT helps identify and facilitate access to appropriate agricultural properties and sites for Marin Carbon Project research. MALT will also support and facilitate communication between the Marin Carbon Project and the agricultural community and public awareness in the general community, and assist in the development and implementation of management practices for carbon sequestration, verification protocols, and a market for sequestering carbon in agricultural soils.
The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) is a nonprofit organization created in 1980 to help preserve Marin County farm and ranch land for agricultural uses. To date, MALT has acquired perpetual agricultural conservation easement on 63 Marin farms and ranches totaling 41,000 acres, protecting them from subdivision and non-agricultural development, in voluntary transactions with landowners. The goals of MALT's Stewardship Program are to ensure that the terms and provisions of the conservation easements it holds are upheld and to support the economic and environmental sustainability of Marin agriculture. As of March 2009, MALT holds conservation easements on about 40% of Marin's (privately-owned) farms and ranches.
The local Marin-Sonoma NRCS supports the mission of the Marin Carbon Project. Presently the local NRCS encourages conservation practices that increase soil organic matter to benefit soil quality. Should the NRCS become a future source of USDA carbon credit or sequestration programs and/or grants, the local NRCS will be in a position to offer such services to the local community. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is the primary federal agency that works with private landowners to help them protect natural resources including soil, water, plants, animals and more recently air and energy. Staff at the NRCS spend most of their time working with agricultural producers on working lands. We administer many of the conservation incentives programs that are authorized under the Federal Farm Bill. We work in close cooperation with Resource Conservation Districts and other local, state and federal partners. NRCS emphasizes voluntary, science-based conservation technical assistance; partnerships, incentive-based programs; and cooperative problem solving at the local level.
Marin Organic will provide public awareness and education opportunities through Marin Organic's media network and public outreach capability. Marin Organic will also lead the strategic implementation of the scientific findings and develop projects and services for the general public that apply the scientific findings in a way that is economically viable and publicly significant for the MCP and its overall goals and objectives.
Marin Organic is an association of organic producers in Marin County focused on the environmental soundness and economic viability of farming and ranching in Marin County. As the primary link between farmers and eaters, Marin Organic is committed to promoting and supporting a sustainable, organic county - a county in which growers and the people who rely on them recognize their mutual interdependence. Marin Organic's members include such well-known names as Cowgirl Creamery, makers of award-winning organic cheeses, Star Route Farms, the oldest continuously certified organic farm in California, and Straus Family Creamery, the first organic dairy west of the Mississippi.
The University of California Cooperative Extension's (UCCE) role in the Marin Carbon Project is as a co-researcher of other carbon strategies, a disseminator of the current UC Berkeley research and other rangeland carbon sequestration research, and research questions and how they fit into the current carbon exchange market; and as educators/demonstrators of the application and practicality of various carbon results. UC Cooperative Extension would do this in partnership with organizations whose roles complement and match their strengths and weaknesses. UC Cooperative Extension has worked in a cooperative and complementary fashion with the Marin RCD, the NRCS, and MALT since 1990 on past and current projects related to watershed conservation, water quality and agricultural best management practices. It would also make sense to tie this project into the TMDL process unfolding, as it will affect most agricultural landowners in Marin. We would support but play a background role to any larger climate education project except where it overlaps with project/county/UC initiatives.
UCCE in Marin is part of a statewide system that makes UC research-based information available to local agencies, industries, and the public. Cooperative Extension's mission is to serve California through the creation, development and application of knowledge in agricultural, natural and human resources. Our local UCCE goals include working to sustain our agriculture community, protecting our unique environmental heritage, and helping communities shape wise public policy by strengthening community participation and leadership skills in our youth and adults. In Marin County we are also known as the Farm Advisor's office. UCCE Programs in Marin are Sustainable Agriculture, Integrated Landscape Management, Watershed Management and 4-H Youth Development. Funding Sources: Programs operate through a unique partnership between the County of Marin, the UC system, support from the USDA, and other private funds. Backed by the resources of the UC campuses, our educational programs use practically applied research information to solve community problems. We consult with individuals and organizations, publish newsletters, conduct local applied research, produce information for mass media, and conduct seminars and workshops. In addition, The UCCE in Sonoma County brings science-based research and educational programming to assist people in Sonoma County to solve problems and create opportunities in agriculture, natural resources, and youth development. The Sonoma County Department of UCCE is one of the largest in the state, bringing the research and educational strengths of the entire University of California (UC) system to address needs of the local agricultural industry and disseminate information to the community at large. UCCE is a statewide program. Mutually beneficial exchange of expertise between neighboring counties occurs through a revenue or in-kind service reciprocity.
The Marin RCD's mission of the last 50 years has been to serve the agricultural community through the conservation and enhancement of Marin County's natural resources, including soil, water, vegetation and wildlife. It is our belief that the health of the county's natural landscape is dependent upon a robust agricultural economy and the active preservation of our agricultural heritage. In addition, it is our firm conviction that the agricultural productivity of the county is dependent upon the diligent application of practices that conserve and enhance our natural resources. Established in 1959, the District includes 250,000 unincorporated acres and is governed by a five-member elected Board of Directors. In recent years, the Marin RCD has administered over $11 million dollars in government and private foundation grants critical to watershed planning and assessment. Marin RCD's success is measured in the rehabilitation of over 20 miles of streams and gullies using native riparian vegetation, creek fencing, water troughs, livestock crossings, sediment retention ponds, natural step pool channels and innovative bioengineered techniques such as willow revetments, brush mattresses, willow and straw wattles, rock and brush headcut repairs. Additional accomplishments include road outsloping/decommissioning, dairy methane digestion, windrow composting and the application of soil aeration and no-tillage practices on thousands of acres of Marin rangeland.
The Marin RCD will build upon the efforts of the Marin Carbon Project research team and provide agricultural producers with the necessary tools to implement carbon sequestering land management practices. The Marin RCD will identify and secure funding for this purpose and, where appropriate, be a clearinghouse for coordinated program funding.
The Silver laboratory at U.C. Berkeley will coordinate and conduct Marin Carbon Project's scientific research to better understand the effects of land use practices on carbon storage and greenhouse gas dynamics. The Silver laboratory is an ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry lab. The Lab's current research program has three primary foci: (1) the impacts of deforestation, reforestation, grazing, and other land-use practices on carbon losses, carbon sequestration, and biogeochemical cycling, (2) retention and loss of carbon and nitrogen under variable redox conditions and (3) the impacts of anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on nitrogen and carbon dynamics in tropical ecosystems.