Oregon adopted new policies in 2023 that will fund and acknowledge the value of soil health and carbon sequestration practices. Other states and regions have developed policies as well that may help promote carbon sequestration programs and outcomes.
Oregon Climate Action Commission Policy
The Oregon Climate Action Commission (formerly the Oregon Global Warming\Commission) adopted the 2021 Natural and Working Lands Proposal for natural climate solutions on natural and working lands. That proposal, following input from advisory and technical committees, was developed into a policy package “A Roadmap to Enhance Carbon Capture and Storage and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Oregon’s Natural and Working Lands.” That report will be linked here when available by the end of September.
The Commission has developed a draft workplan memo to proceed with work on this program. You can listen to the commission meeting discussion of the work plan here. The Oregon Association of Conservation Districts is one of the members of a group who developed comments to the Commission in regard to the proposed work plan.
The Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP) is a program housed within the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) agency. The program provides voluntary incentives to farmers and ranchers to support practices that maintain or enhance both agriculture and natural resources such as fish and wildlife habitat on agricultural lands. See also the OAHP study “Review and Feasibility Determination of Methodologies for Valuing Agricultural
Conservation Management Actions” to be updated the fall of 2023.
OWEB’s Water & Climate Committee meets quarterly (schedule at website).
Several documents at the OWEB website are important to climate mitigation and adaptation work:
Washington’s program includes greenhouse gas emission reductions set in state law And a marketing component, “Cap and Invest”. The Cap-and-Invest Program rule defines operation of the program. Quarterly auctions spur investment.Washington Policy for Carbon Sequestration on Natural and Working Lands – WA Department of Natural Resources developed as the basis of it program the Natural and Working Lands Carbon Inventories and Incentive Programs.
California’s natural and working lands –forests, rangelands, urban green spaces, wetlands, and farms– underpin the State’s water supply and support clean air, wildlife habitat, and local and regional economies. They are also the frontiers of climate change and are often the first to experience the impacts of climate change.
The Natural and Working Lands Implementation Plan evaluates implementation and identifies long term goals for resiliency. See also Healthy Soils Program and Sustainable Agriculture Lands Conservation Program.
Washington’s sustainable Farms and Fields program created in 2020 makes it easier and more affordable for farmers and ranchers to complete projects that increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Agriculture Conservation Commission is working with the Department of Agriculture, WA State University and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in development of the program. Program fact sheets in English.
Wisconsin’s plan for farm and forestry climate practices and sequestration begins on page 54 of the plan.
The NM Healthy Soil Initiative was enacted in the spring of 2019. The NM Healthy Soil Working Group continues to advocate for expanded resources and additional funds for the Healthy Soil Program. HB 89 “The Healthy Soil Tax Refund Contribution Option” passed in April 2021 enabling any New Mexico tax paying resident who qualifies for a refund on their personal income tax return to voluntarily donate all or part of their refund to the Healthy Soil Program.
New York recognizes the importance that current and future use of natural and working lands has for mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon sequestration and storage, including protecting high-value lands through acquisition and avoiding conversion. The Scoping Plan is New York’s action plan for achieving the directives of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and includes recommendations for state-wide action.
Maryland became the first state to approve a loan guarantee through its Water Quality State Revolving Fund (SRF) to finance “natural climate solutions.” The loan guarantee was made possible by legislation enacted in 2021 to expand the authorized uses of the guarantee authority under the state’s SRF program.
Assembly bill 1757 requires the California Natural Resources Agency to set up an ambitious range of targets for nature-based climate solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions to support state carbon goals. The bill would provide an increased climate program for natural and working lands.
This document speaks to policy work underway in New Jersey
Healthy soils legislation at state levels is not new to the U.S. There are some 29 States with passed or pending legislation, including 10 that have already passed legislation. These state programs reflect bipartisan support.