Monitoring Assessment & Evaluation Reports & Articles

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Monitoring Assessment & Evaluation Reports & Articles

The Farm Service Agency works with partners to identify Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation (MAE) projects to quantify CRP environmental benefits to water quality and quantity, wildlife, rural economies, and our climate.

Request for CRP Pre-proposals by July 2, 2021

The USDA Farm Service Agency is seeking pre-proposals for addressing one of four Conservation Reserve Program assessment needs:

  • Ensuring equitable access to and broadening the appeal of CRP
  • Monitoring wildlife and pollinator response to perennial vegetative cover
  • Assessing haying and grazing impacts in drought-prone regions
  • Longleaf pine establishment, management, and benefits

Pre-proposals may be submitted by government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations and received by July 2, 2021. The agreements for those selected will be fully executed by September 30. For more information, the request can be found here. Pre-proposals must be limited to three pages or less and uploaded to Box, here.

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Rich Iovanna, rich.iovanna@USDA.gov, with 2021 CRP Assessment Question on the subject line.

CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative

USDA awarded a total of $10 million to three partners to survey, sample, and measure the climate benefits of land enrolled in CRP practice types over time. These practices included perennial grasses, tree plantings and wetlands.

Project selections

Perennial grasses: During this five-year project, Michigan State University will sample and measure soil carbon and bulk density of CRP grasslands (including native grass plantings, rangelands and pollinator habitat plantings) at an estimated 600 sites across the US with a focus in the central states. This information will be used to model and compare the climate benefits of CRP. Partners include University of Wisconsin, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Deveron and Woods End Laboratories.  Project objectives include:

  • Quantify and model nationwide CRP land carbon stocks, history, and sequestration potential including the within-field variability of carbon accrual
  • Compare CRP carbon outcomes to alternative non-cropped land uses and management and to cropped systems with and without working lands conservation practices
  • Quantify avoided emissions opportunities for the CRP Grasslands program
  • Estimating impacts of harvest frequency on CRP’s carbon benefits
  • Evaluate how uncertainty surrounding the measurement of climate benefits affects program enrollment and efficiency, and how CRP payments compete with the growing market for climate credits future carbon markets.

Trees: Mississippi State University will partner with Alabama A&M University to collect above and below ground data at 162 sites across seven states documenting CRP-related benefits to soil and atmospheric carbon levels. Information will help further calibrate the DayCent model. This five-year project will focus within the Delta and Southeast states. Project objectives include:

  • Calibrate, validate and improve the quantification methodologies used by USDA to estimate climate benefits of CRP tree plantings
  • provide information that will allow USDA to better estimate the climate and wildlife benefits of CRP practices relative to alternative cropping systems.

Wetlands: Ducks Unlimited and its partners will collect data on carbon stocks in wetland soils as well as vegetation carbon levels at 250 wetland sites across a 15-state area in the central US, representing 81% of CRP wetlands. Data will support the DayCent and additional modeling. Partners for this five-year project include: Migratory Bird Joint Venture, Intertribal Research and Resource Center at United Tribes Technical College, Clemson University, Kenyon College, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Missouri and University of Texas. Project objectives include:

  • Comparing carbon stocks and fluxes of CRP wetlands with drained wetlands as well as intact natural wetlands to establish changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) and greenhouse gasses (GHG).
  • Leveraging new and previously collected data along with remotely sensed information to explore how climate, surrounding land-use, soils and hydrology impact wetland carbon cycling
  • Modeling and and scale estimates of changes in SOC and GHG fluctuations to better represent the impact of wetland habitat restoration and CRP programs in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
  • Developing guidance on maximizing the climate benefits of the CRP wetland program.

Applications

A project could cover one or more of the above practice types and should be for a three- to five-year term, with the potential for renewal. Projects should be a minimum of $1 million and not exceed $9 million. Deadline for proposals was July 2, 2021.

Applications were welcome from all types of organizations, including public, private, and nonprofit institutions. Project proposals can be from a single entity or from a group of partners who coordinate efforts. Applications from or in partnership with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU), Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCU), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) or organizations were considered as part of the selection process.

Project Summaries

Click on the links below to view summaries of recent projects.

Bird Conservation Benefits of the CRP

Assessing the Impact of the CRP on Honey Bee Health

Prairie Strip Benefits

Saturated Buffers

Project Reports

Click on the text below to view full reports from completed projects.

Multiple Benefits Studies

Wildlife Studies

Water Quality and Quantity Studies

Pollinator Studies


Ongoing Studies

MAE projects often require multiple years of observation to complete. This page lists the projects that have been funded and are under way.

Other Links

Numerous organizations have monitoring and assessment programs that complement FSA’s MAE project and provide information on the benefits of the CRP.

Webinars

Links to previous webinars on MAE projects are available on this site.