Kansas National Wildlife Refuge Garners Carbon Kudos

August 3, 2009

Field at Marais des Cygnes

Field at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge where trees will be planted as part of Go Zero's reforestation/carbon program. Photo by Jean LeMunyon/www.jeanlemunyonphoto.com.

Pleasanton, Kan.—The Conservation Fund, in partnership with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Environmental Synergy Inc. (ESI), announced today that its forest-based carbon sequestration project near Kansas City received Gold validation, the highest level available, under the standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). The Conservation Fund is the first group in the nation to receive two CCBA Gold validations for carbon projects.

Supported by donations from the Fund’s voluntary carbon offset program, Go Zero®, the group restored 776 acres of native oak and hickory trees at the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). As the forest matures, it is expected to trap an estimated 260,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to taking approximately 47,000 cars off the road.

Located 70 miles south of Kansas City along the border of Kansas and Missouri, much of the land at the Marais des Cygnes NWR was too degraded after decades of farming to support habitat for wildlife. Now that the forest is restored, it will be managed by USFWS for migratory birds including the yellow-breasted chat and indigo bunting, and will be open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreational uses.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to partner with The Conservation Fund, ESI and others to achieve this milestone in habitat restoration and carbon sequestration,” said Stephen Guertin, director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region, which includes Kansas and the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge. “By participating in the Go Zero program, the Service is able to advance important habitat goals on units of the National Wildlife Refuge System and actively address climate impacts through sequestration on refuge lands.”

“We are delighted that The Conservation Fund’s Marais des Cygnes project has been validated against the CCBA Standards adding to the growing number of high quality forest carbon projects that are using the standards to demonstrate that they are not only delivering real greenhouse gas emissions reductions but are also restoring natural habitats for the benefit of wildlife and local people,” said Joanna Durbin, director of the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

“Go Zero donors are providing critical, private capital that will help address two of the most extraordinary environmental challenges of our time, climate change and habitat loss,” said The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero director, Jena Meredith. “The CCBA Gold validation ensures these donations result in real, measurable results to help address climate change and restore important wildlife habitat on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the American people.”

Colorado-based Gaiam, a lifestyle company, has partnered with the Fund’s Go Zero program since 2006 by offering its customers the opportunity to zero out the carbon footprint associated with shipping their purchase. Gaiam was the first company in the U.S. to offer such a program.

“We know the option for our customers to zero out the carbon impact of shipping their Gaiam order is important to them,” said Christopher Fisher, director of customer experience. “Providing access to the Go Zero program is a simple, yet significant way we can offer our customers to help the earth. At Gaiam, we believe simple choices make a difference. We congratulate The Conservation Fund on the CCBA Gold validation and are proud to be their partner.”

“The restoration need and resulting conservation benefit for this refuge captured our attention several years ago,” said Carol Jordan, president of Environmental Synergy, Inc. “We were delighted when Go Zero and its partners not only stepped up to the plate with funding, but also sought excellence in project development every step of the way, as now reflected in the CCBA Gold validation. It’s a great partnership that will accrue multiple long-term benefits to habitat and the public.”

The Conservation Fund’s Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Restoration Initiative was validated by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) under its SCS Greenhouse Gas Verification Program.

“The Marais des Cygnes Restoration Initiative is the second CCBA project SCS has validated for The Conservation Fund,” said Dr. Robert J. Hrubes, SCS senior vice president. “With the experience the Fund gained from their previous project at Red River NWR and the diligence they put toward developing this one, we were able to conduct a thorough audit in a very efficient manner. We’re pleased to be able to recommend the Marais des Cygnes project for CCBA Gold validation.”

Established in 2005, Go Zero helps counter-balance carbon emissions by planting trees in parks and wildlife refuges to capture and store carbon, while also restoring habitats that are critical to wildlife. Its supporters include leading companies such as C&S Wholesale Grocers, Dell, Delta, Delta AirElite, Gaiam, Land Rover Portland, New Jersey Resources, The North Face, Philadelphia Eagles, Travelocity and U-Haul as well as thousands of individual donors across the globe.


About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

About Environmental Synergy, Inc.

Environmental Synergy, Inc. (ESI) provides project development and carbon monitoring services for carbon based forestry projects. In the past 10 years, ESI has planted over 24 million trees on 81,000 acres in the U.S., which are expected to remove approximately 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. www.environmental-synergy.com.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.