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Projects Updates for Assess and Reduce Agricultural GHG Emissions

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  1. Research news about reducing GHG from Ag. practices

    Evan DeLucia will present the AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture on November 19. The talk, Rethinking American Agriculture: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Food Production, will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rattan Lal, the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate.

    The College of ACES recently announced a gift of aerial imagery, two multispectral agricultural data sets valued at $1.5M, from Aerial Agronomy, Inc. The gift will be "used in teaching and research, including efforts to estimate soil health and carbon flux from agricultural land in the Midwest."

    -- from https://emails.illinois.edu/newsletter/1514117041.html

  2. ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan recommendation - Assessment with all comments

    See attached the Assessment form for the ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan recommendation complete with comments from all iWG members.

    See iWG assessment started for ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan here.

    See SWATeam recommendation ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan here.

  3. South Farm Management Plan recommendation - Assessment Started

    The iCAP Working Group (iWG) met on March 14th, 2018 to discuss the ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan recommendation. We were joined by Bruce Branham and Colleen Williams from the ALUFS SWATeam to explain the objectives behind the recommendation.

    The iWG started the assessment on March 14th, 2018, and their draft assessment of the recommendation was:

    The iWG recommends that the Dean of ACES charges a committee to develop a management plan (as described by the SWATeam) to promote sustainable practices on South Farm. Committee should include Farm Managers, faculty experts including ACES, PRI and water scholars, and students. The plan should include the assessment of the current status, evaluation of operational and financial impacts, and impediments to Best Management Practices.

    See SWATeam recommendation ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan here.

  4. ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan Recommendation - Submittal

    The ALUFS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "A committee of ACES faculty, farm personnel, and iSEE members will develop a comprehensive and cooperative management plan for all non-research agricultural land on the UIUC South farms that promotes sustainable practices and implements current best management practices. The plan should account for crop rotations, soil management, nutrient application, and pest management. This strategy must consider the needs and wishes of the departments that rely on the productivity of this land for financial return. The plan should offer detailed recommendations, costs of implementation, and estimated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from adopted practices. The committee should include faculty with expertise in biogeochemistry as well as staff responsible for agricultural production."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ALUFS004 South Farm Management Plan complete with comments from all the ALUFS SWATeam members.

  5. ALUFS iCAP efforts in progress

    Hello ALUFS SWATeam members,

    Thank you again for your willingness to help our campus achieve the Climate Leadership Commitments.  There is great value provided by the bi-weekly meetings of student, faculty, and staff representatives evaluating our progress and recommending additional actions campus units could take.

    The following is a list of current activities I am aware of, and suggestions I have about useful next steps.  I am happy to follow up with you on any of these, as needed.

    Thank you very much,

     

    ~Morgan

     

    ALUFS

    1.      Ag Emissions – During the 2015 iCAP process, we included the goal to reevaluate the emissions from ACES and create a new emissions baseline for south farms.  This effort was not started, but there is still an opportunity to do such an evaluation.  I believe Madhu Khanna and Evan DeLucia would be good resources for this evaluation, and perhaps Ximing could help facilitate it.

    2.      Best Management Practices (BMPs) - The previous SWATeam considered dropping the Ag Emissions evaluation objective and adding one to encourage use of Best Management Practices for south farms.  The BMPs are an important aspect for increasing campus sustainability, and the concept should be extended to include land that is leased out to other farmers within the campus boundaries (if any). 

    3.      Sustainable Plantings – Brent has made progress on the campus plant lists.  It would be helpful to have a map of existing native planting areas on campus, in GIS format.  We can provide the map of low mow zones as a starting point.

    4.      Once there is a map, additional locations can be suggested for pollinator pockets, to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators.  Such locations can also include spaces that would reduce difficulty for the Grounds crew in riding mowers, such as nooks and crannies on campus, as well as steep slope areas.

    5.      I suggest you invite Eliana Brown to give an overview of the efforts underway for the Red Oak Rain Garden.

    6.      The Campus Master Plan is in final review and will be moving toward Board of Trustee approval.  The website is at https://masterplan-illinois.com/, but I’m not sure if they will have another review draft for the public.

    7.      Local Food – great work in Dining!  I’m curious what the current percentage is from FY17.

    8.      We need to look at what we are doing for other campus food areas, such as coffee shops and small cafes.  Your team could submit a recommendation about local food for dining in one or more of the non-housing areas.

    9.      Soil sequestration – Other than prairies and trees, are there sequestration efforts campus should consider? 

    10.  To reduce nitrate in Ag. Runoff, I suggest your team look at applicable recommendations in Nitrate Reduction Plan, and suggest the most promising ones for campus to implement. 

    11.  At one point, we considered woody bioreactors in South Farms – see https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/project-update/potential-bioreactor-project.  These are still an option, I just didn’t have time to move it forward in 2014.

    12.  The Now Mow Zones were renamed Low Mow Zones, and there will be a press release and F&S website update to reflect the locations and benefits.

    13.  Brent Lewis can share an update about the use of more electric equipment for Grounds operations.

    14.  An updated Tree Inventory has been funded.  Brent is working on getting two quotes, so that the purchase order can proceed and the efforts can be started.

  6. ALUFS001 Ag Emissions Study Recommendation - Submittal

    The ALUFS SWATeam submitted a recommendation to the iWG stating, "We recommend hiring a research technician or 50 % Graduate Research Assistant who would be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and compiling the data necessary for estimating current greenhouse gas fluxes of the University’s agricultural land holdings. We recommend that funding be provided for the materials and lab time needed to collect these data. We further recommend that these data be used to explore how different management practices would affect greenhouse gas fluxes on University lands."

    See attached the SWATeam recommendation ALUFS001 Ag Emissions Study complete with comments from all the ALUFS SWATeam members.

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