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Not only are we getting WOTUS back, it's getting bigger.
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MidNight Mapper
Posted 6/10/2021 10:24 (#9051383 - in reply to #9050272)
Subject: Clean Water is a Valuable Eco-services Credit?

Colorado and Oz


Your water quality efforts can be one of the eco-services that the other 95 percent are interested in? 

Fugitive NO2 and other nitrogen leakages from sloppy use as well as production and transport enterprise are in a bit of a NET-zero jolt-awakening for US agriculture.  This is particularly red-flagged when the Type 3 emission (aka on-farm use) are now part of their carbon consequence disclosures for agribusiness investors.  Documentation of savings of nitrogen and avoided NO2 leakage may be a very valuable eco-service?   

Rules of Thumb - 
One metric tonne of C02 = one mtCO2e 

The three main greenhouse gases (along with water vapor) and their 20-year global warming potential (GWP) compared to carbon dioxide are: 


1 x – carbon dioxide (CO2)  NOTE: Any carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere will hang around for a long time: between 300 to 1,000 years. All this time, it will be contributing to trapping heat and warming the atmosphere.

84 x – methane (CH4) – I.e. Releasing 1 kg of CH4 into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing 84 kg of CO2. Methane’s 100-year GWP is about 28x CO2 – but it only persists in the atmosphere for a little more than a decade. The 100-year GWP is used to derive CO2e.

298 x – nitrous oxide (N2O) – Releasing 1 kg of N2O into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing about 298 kg of  CO2. Nitrous oxide persists in the atmosphere for more than a century. It’s 20-year and 100-year GWP are basically the same.

Water vapor is not considered to be a cause of man-made global warming as it does not persist in the atmosphere for more than a few days.

Why the pre-amble? 

The other day an aggie on LinkedIn asked a question to better understand the ethanol program NET-zero goals and the issues around the fugitive emissions related to the several significant forms of nitrogen for high performance corn production?  The eco-services valuation question then is: Can NO2 fugitive emissions be detected and avoided by a practice change (see RUSLE) and if so what might be the protocol for a certified avoidance registry? 

Response: Depending on exactly what you are after I would suggest looking at COMET-Farms and/or its parent modeling available from the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University or the consultancy of the same via


While COMET-Farms is not yet a USDA program of record for NO2 and other fugitive emissions like RUSLE versus HEL issues, the features are embedded in to USDA IPCC National Carbon Inventory as well as the de-facto protocol for emerging soil carbon registries approaching a million working acres. I believe there is also another model at NC State? 


As a potent GHG, NO2 has a rule-of-thumb conversion to CO2e of 300 so a single NO2 offset due to reduction of NO2 leakage and/or avoidance by soil health benefits due to the practice change, and a mtCO2e worth $20/mt, makes one metric tonne of NO2 efficiency potentially $6.000 as a ecological value transaction. I believe the NO2 leakage and CH4 as well are features of the COMET-Farm Soil Carbon Conservation Planner today.  


The code is open source and I am certain if you contact they can guide you?

Question for the eco-services market wizards: If an ethanol coop contracts with growers that fully implement NO2 avoidance BMPs, can these avoided type 3 emissions be qualified in additionality test as avoided mtCO2e's for the coop's type one and two emissions?


Edited by MidNight Mapper 6/10/2021 10:28
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