Mission

In response to the rapid pace of global climate change, the Marin Carbon Project (MCP) seeks to enhance carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions reduction in rangeland, agricultural, and forest ecosystems through applied research, demonstration and implementation.

Vision

Our vision is for Marin landowners and managers of agricultural ecosystems to serve as stewards of soil health and to undertake carbon farming in a manner that can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem function, and stop and reverse climate change for the equitable benefit and enjoyment of all Marin’s residents.

Who We Are

The Marin Carbon Project (MCP) is a consortium of independent agricultural institutions in Marin County, including university researchers, county and federal agencies and nonprofits. We seek to enhance carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural and forest soils through applied research, demonstration and implementation in Marin County.

MCP works within Marin County and the surrounding region, and is guided by a Steering Committee made up of the consortium’s members. While MCP’s science and policy endeavors are regionally focused, implementation programs are directed to Marin County producers.

Specific areas of focus for MCP are driven by working groups composed of relevant members; the Science Advisory Working Group and the Implementation Working Group. MCP does not have any staff. Research is carried out through UC Berkeley, UC Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University or other partnering Universities. Implementation is supported directly by the Marin Resource Conservation District (Marin RCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Marin Agricultural Land Trust assists land owners in carbon farm management and planning and financially supports implementation development. The Carbon Cycle Institute supports state wide policy.

Interested in carbon farming?

Partnering Organizations

The Agricultural Institute of Marin is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in the Bay Area. AIM has supported farmers and their locally produced foods since 1983.

AIM’s mission is to educate, inspire, and connect communities, responsible farmers, and producers as part of a healthy, Earth-friendly, equitable local and regional food system.

Founded to take the work of MCP and carbon farming beyond Marin County, the Carbon Cycle Institute’s mission is to stop and reverse global climate change by advancing science-based solutions that reduce atmospheric carbon while promoting environmental stewardship, social equity and economic sustainability.

The Marin Resource Conservation District (RCD) is a non-regulatory Special District of the State of California founded in 1959 that secures public and private grant money to assist the agricultural community with environmental projects. Marin RCD is guided by a board of resident landowners and staff that provide carbon farm planning and implementation support to producers. Marin RCD is a member of the Steering Committee and Implementation Working Group. If you are a Marin land manager interested in creating a carbon farm plan for your property contact the Marin RCD, email marinrcd@marinrcd.org or call (415) 663-1170.

Created in 1980 by a coalition of ranchers and environmentalists, Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) works to preserve Marin County farmland permanently. MALT supports carbon farming practices on the properties it holds in trust and is a member of the MCP Steering Committee and the Implementation Working Group. Donations to MCP’s work are accepted and distributed by the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. For information on making a financial contribution please contact MALT at (415) 663-1158.

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) woks in partnership with the County of Marin and has served the local community since 1920. As the name indicates, Cooperative Extension is affiliated with University of California. The Marin UC Cooperative Extension’s mission is to sustain vital agriculture, environment and community in Marin County by providing University of California research-based information in agriculture, natural resource management, nutrition and youth development. For questions regarding the Creek Carbon study or carbon benefits of riparian restoration please contact David Lewis at djllewis@ucanr.edu.

Led by Dr. Whendee Silver, the Silver Lab studies the response of soil biogeochemistry to management and a changing climate, and rigorously tests land-based approaches to climate change mitigation through greenhouse gas emissions reduction and soil carbon sequestration. Fieldwork is concentrated in Mediterranean rangelands and grasslands in California, in wetlands, drained agricultural peatlands, and wet subtropical forests in Puerto Rico. The Silver Lab aims to improve our mechanistic understanding of climate change drivers and solutions by addressing key unknowns such as the controls on greenhouse gas fluxes from soils and the long-term effects of management practices on soil carbon storage and loss. Please refer to MCP’s Science Section for publications associated with this work. For more information on MCP’s scientific research please visit our Science Section.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service, is an agency of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides conservation based technical assistance and funding opportunities to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners and managers. Carbon farm planning advanced by MCP uses traditional NRCS conservation planning as its model. NRCS programs have provided significant support for Carbon Farm planning and implementation.

John Wick

John Wick and his wife, Peggy Rathmann, are the owners of Nicasio Native Grass Ranch. John co-founded both the Marin Carbon Project and the Carbon Cycle Institute, and has independently led statewide educational campaigns, supported new laws related to healthy soils and compost, and built functional economy-wide models for rebalancing the global carbon cycle. For inquiries regarding MCP history and carbon 101 presentations please contact John Wick at johnwick@sonic.net.

Marin County served as an early member, and was a partner in establishing West Marin Compost in Nicasio. The County has integrated carbon farming into its Climate Action Plan. (past member)

Marin County Agricultural Commissioner

Marin County’s Ag Commissioner served as an early steering committee member, and remains an honorary member of the steering committee.

Marin Organic

(past member)

Steering Committee

Dr. Jeff Creque

Dr. Jeff Creque is a co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project and the Carbon Cycle Institute, where he serves as Director of Rangeland and Agroecosystem Management. Jeff provides senior leadership on carbon farming and land management, applied science, policy, and education, informed by thirty-five years of applied experience and theoretical training. He is an agricultural and rangeland consultant and a Natural Resources Conservation Service certified nutrient management planning specialist and technical service provider. Jeff’s organizational affiliations include: Founding Board Member, Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture (Marin); Co-Founder, Bolinas-Stinson Beach Resource Recovery Project; Agricultural Director, Apple Tree International; Co-Founder, West Marin Compost Coalition. Jeff holds a PhD in Rangeland Ecology from Utah State University, and is a California State Board of Forestry Certified Professional in Rangeland Management.

Patricia Hickey

Patricia is the Managing Director at the Carbon Cycle Institute where she serves in a senior leadership role implementing the organization’s strategic vision and plan. Over the course of her career, Patricia has worked with universities, conservation districts, and agricultural land trusts to advance natural resource conservation and the development and adoption of innovative conservation programs and financing. She has served in executive director roles for the Washington Association of Conservation Districts and the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and in program director roles for the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District and Marin Agricultural Land Trust. She brings 10 years of experience working directly on agriculture and climate issues in California.

She received her MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of CA, master’s degrees in Environmental Science & Management and Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island, and a BA in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. DAVID LEWIS

David is Director of the Marin County UC Cooperative Extension (UCEE). Mr. Lewis is a Watershed Advisor and holds a M.S. in International Agricultural Development. He specializes in agroforestry, soil science, and watershed management and research.

Mr. Lewis’ role in the Marin Carbon Project is to fund and guide research in another area of critical carbon work that directly relates to the watershed services work of the Marin RCD. This research will focus on the dynamics of carbon sequestration and nitrogen in restored Mediterranean riparian areas. This work will begin in May 2009. Mr. Lewis and Ms. Larson will collaborate with the RCD, NRCS, and MALT staff to demonstrate and educate landowners, if and when the positive benefits of carbon sequestration are validated.

Andy Naja-Riese

Andy Naja-Riese brings 15 years’ experience in community food systems and education. He is Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM), a Bay Area 501c3 educational non-profit that connects communities and local and regional food systems so the public can access healthy and sustainably-grown food. In his current role, Andy is a champion for a systems approach to connecting small to mid-size farmers and producers with communities in a way that is empowering, responsible, and socially just.

Andy leads AIM’s day-to-day operations, while directing the organization’s major programs, fundraising, government partnerships, external relations, and strategic planning in collaboration with AIM’s Board of Directors. Andy brings a unique perspective to non-profit executive management after spending 10 years with the Federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, where he oversaw the administration of $12 billion in benefits redeemed by 8 million low-income households at grocery stores and farmers markets across eight Western states. Andy received his Master’s degree in Society, Human Development, and Health from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health and his Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Environment, Science, and Health from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Andy is currently the Co-Chair of the Marin Healthy Eating Active Living Collaborative, Vice Chair of San Rafael’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Economic Development and Affordable Housing, and an active member of both the California Food & Farming Network and Drawdown: Marin. He lives in San Rafael with his husband and dog and enjoys backyard gardening, cooking farmers market hauls, eating NY-style bagels, and enjoying the natural beauty of Northern California.

Nancy Scolari

Nancy Scolari is the Executive Director of the Marin Resource Conservation District (Marin RCD). Ms Scolari will continue the Marin RCD’s focus of on-the-ground implementation while supporting the mission and goals of the Marin Carbon Project. She received a B.A in Environmental Studies and Planning at Sonoma State University before enlisting in the U.S Department of Agriculture’s AmeriCorps National Service Program. During this time she assisted dairy producers in the development of regional water quality monitoring programs and the development of ranch conservation plans. She has been with the Marin RCD for 24 years and has brokered and managed many grant contracts, been a liaison between funders, land managers and board members, and implemented several hundred on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects, based on watershed-wide plans and research. Nancy is a co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project.

Dr. Whendee Silver

Whendee is Professor of Ecosystem Ecology in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Whendee’s role on the Steering Committee is to conduct and coordinate the scientific research of the project. She also participates in the outreach and education activities by helping to translate scientific findings to project participants and the general public. Dr. Silver consults on the implementation plan and manages the long term monitoring program and carbon monitoring protocol development. She also holds an appointment on the Geological Science Faculty of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research seeks to determine the biogeochemical effects of climate change and human impacts on the environment, and the potential for mitigating these effects. She holds PhD and MS degrees from Yale University.

Lily Verdone

Lily joined Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) in August of 2022, the first woman to officially lead the organization since its founding. Prior to joining MALT, Lily was senior director of Coastal Quest, an Oakland-based nonprofit building climate resilience for vulnerable coastal communities. In her more than 20-year career, she has led many initiatives to protect agricultural land, open space and fresh water — working within global organizations such as The Nature Conservancy as well as small, community-based land trusts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a masters of science in biology from Sonoma State University.

Implementation Working Group

The goal of MCP’s Implementation Working Group is to develop a countywide agricultural carbon sequestration program with producer outreach, technical infrastructure and economic support that is transferable to other regions in California and across the nation.

The Working Group augmented established NRCS planning processing to create and implement farm-scale GHG plans, or carbon farm plans (CFPs). These plans assess farm carbon sequestration potential using the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) COMET tools.

From the original three demonstration farms, MCP has supported the creation of 20 full carbon farm plans covering 14,000 acres. Six more ranches will be selected for plans in 2023, with the goal of sequestering 55,752 MT CO2e by 2030. Over 20 years, the potential carbon reduction associated with these plans when implemented is 256,585 MTCO2e.

IMPLEMENTATION Working Group MEMBERS

Carbon Cycle Institute

Carbon Cycle Institute

NRCS

The Implementation Working Group is organized by Marin RCD. For questions, please email marinrcd@marinrcd.org.

Science Advisory Working Group

The cornerstone of MCP’s mission is to identify, evaluate and promote science-based, carbon-beneficial solutions on farms and ranches. The role of the Science Advisory Working Group is to identify areas of relevant scientific inquiry, conduct original research and participate in the integration of new information into related tools and best practices.

Since 2008, members of the Science Advisory Working Group have produced 24  peer-reviewed and published papers. Task Force members have also assisted in the creation of the USDA NRCS COMET tools in cooperation with Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and have conducted work with the US Geological Survey (USGS) to better model the hydrological benefits of carbon farming.

Science Advisory Working Group Partners: Dr. Whendee Silver, UC Berkeley (lead MCP scientist) and Silver Lab; Dr. David J. Lewis, Marin UC Cooperative Extension; Dr. Jeffrey Creque; Dr. Keith Paustian and Dr. William Parton, Natural Resource Ecology Lab, Colorado State University; Dr. Adam Chambers, USDA NRCS; and Dr. Lorraine Flint and Dr. Alan Flint, USGS, California Water Science Center.

Funding Partners

The Marin Carbon Project is supported through the generous contributions of the following funding partners:

Current and Recent Funding Partners

John Wick

CA State Coastal Conservancy

Kurland Family Foundation

CA Wildlife Conservation Board

Cambria Family Foundation

Past Funding Partners

California Parks Bond 2016 Measure A: Parks, Open Space and Farmland

Hog Island Oyster Company

Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) Stewardship Assistance Program

Rahr Foundation

Seed Fund

Hog Island Oyster Company

US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

11th Hour Foundation

Marin Community Foundation

County of Marin

Mental Insight Foundation

Patagonia

Rathmann Family Foundation

Regenerative Agriculture Foundation

Sara and Evan Williams Foundation

If you are an agricultural producer or landowner seeking assistance in development of a Carbon Farm Plan (CFP), contact your local RCD or NRCS office.

Get started with your CFP.