Marin County & Bay Area Policy

To create a verifiable and replicable methodology for calculating the carbon sequestration benefits from the application of compost to rangelands, and to address concerns surrounding local native plant communities, MCP worked directly with the County of Marin and the Environmental Defense Fund to produce the Rangeland Compost Protocol. This protocol has been approved for the voluntary carbon markets under the American Carbon Registry and for local GHG mitigation required under the California Environmental Quality Act.
         
In 2014 MCP partners applied for and received a Regional Conservation Partnership Program through the State Coastal Conservancy. The partnership built on existing regional partnerships within the Bay Area to identify and expand existing agricultural practices that increase local food security, provide necessary ecosystem services and contribute toward climate change amelioration and adaptation efforts. The project is a regional collaboration of RCDs, land trusts and publicly funded districts that covers over 2.25 million acres and includes the following partners: Gold Ridge RCD, Solano Land Trust, Sonoma RCD, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Marin RCD, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, San Mateo RCD, Peninsula Open Space Trust and Napa RCD.  
      
In 2015, after working directly with MCP for two years, the County of Marin incorporated agriculture into the County’s Climate Action Plan. Marin was one of the first counties in the state to include an agricultural chapter. Since then many others have followed suit. Along with accounting for emissions associated with agricultural operations, the Climate Action Plan concluded that significant climate benefits would be associated with soil carbon sequestration: “A 1% increase in the amount of carbon stock in Marin County rangelands by 2030 would result in an annualized amount of emissions reduction that would exceed all of the other local measures included in this plan, if realized.”

In 2016 the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in conjunction with the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) approved the Rangeland Compost Protocol for the Regional GHG Rx, making rangeland carbon an approved practice for the local GHG mitigation market generated through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Local and regional policy and compliance are led by the MCP members serving as official liaisons to the County of Marin: UC Cooperative Extension, the Marin Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and the Marin RCD. Policy development is led by the Carbon Cycle Institute, John Wick, MALT and consultants. MCP also engages in regional climate adaption via the Joint Policy Committee and with water districts and public land managers to integrate climate-friendly agricultural practices into public lands management.