Click here to participate in CDFA’s Healthy Soils Week, including webinars, at-home compost and gardening activities, as well as children’s projects. These activities culminate for this Saturday’s UN’s World Soils Day on December 5th.

Soils can be thanked for all the plants we enjoy from the trees in our parks to the food on our plates. But did you know that we have soils to thank for capturing carbon? Practices ranging from adding compost to restoring trees and plants along creeks can all have profound effects in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Soil management is key in our fight to mitigate climate change. In celebration of World Soils Day, we would also like to share the work that our team at the Alameda County Resource Conservation District has been doing in conjunction with our partners who make this work possible.

ACRCD and StopWaste (a public agency reducing waste in Alameda County) have united to pursue management activities at StopWaste’s rangeland property in the Altamont Hills to sequester carbon while meeting goals for the grazing tenant. We have identified various viable options from compost application and riparian restoration to supporting activities like adding cross fencing and adding stock water to better distribute grazing.

The property’s location in the Altamont Pass and its steep slopes make it great for wind energy production. Currently, this property alone generates 34 MW per year from wind turbines! However, the steep slopes make adding compost tricky and there has not been much research done studying the effects of compost on steep rangeland slopes like these pictured above.

We decided to partner with UC Merced’s Rebecca Ryals, whose interests include measuring greenhouse gas emissions from rangeland soils. The Ryals Agroecology Lab is currently measuring how much carbon is sequestered in the soils at StopWaste, as well as greenhouse gas fluxes from this ecosystem where compost has been added. We estimate that the compost we applied with support from a CDFA Healthy Soils Demonstration grant will sequester approximately 1,088 Metric Tons of CO2e cumulatively over the next 20 years! According to the USEPA, that’s equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions from 44,273 propane cylinders used for home barbeques, or six railcars’ worth of coal burned!

We are happy to assist agricultural producers with planning and implementing practices that build healthy soils and help mitigate climate change.

If you are interested in CDFA’s HSP Incentives, please contact

Ian Howell