In partnership with Native Energy and the Southern Plains Land Trust in Colorado, Designtex has balanced its 2020 operational footprint by investing in the Medford Spring Grasslands Conservation Project in southeastern Colorado. The investment helped the Trust to acquire 6,900 acres of shortgrass prairie in February 2020—land which otherwise would have been converted into cropland, increasing carbon emissions in the process—resulting in the new Medford Spring Grassland Conservation.
Protecting the prairie sequesters carbon in the soil.Oone acre is estimated to store 200 tons of carbon, and grasslands store one-third of the Earth’s carbon. When destroyed, the grasslands release 50%-70% of the carbon they hold as the greenhouse gas CO₂. This conservation effort will prevent approximately 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over the next fifty years. This unique carbon sequestering and conservation project also has benefits for biodiversity in the region including preserving habitats for rare or endangered species such as black-tailed prairie dogs, reintroduced bison, native swift fox, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls and Colorado green gentian.
Through the Southern Plains Land Trust, the project allows for public access to the Medford Spring Grassland Conservation for educational events in collaboration with local public schools and the local historical society. To further assure the permanence of the carbon sequestration, the easement also includes a 150-year agreement with the Climate Action Reserve and will be included in an insurance pool that covers any unintentional reversals. The project is aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Climate Action’ and ‘Life on Land’ and follows the Climate Action Reserve Grassland Protocol.
In addition to supporting Medford Spring, Designtex has also supported an innovative renewable energy portfolio project for 2020, to offset its total electricity use. The Forest City Solar Project in Iowa consists of a ground-mounted contiguous array of approximately 11,900 individual photovoltaic panels. Co-located alongside and underneath the panels are habitats for bees and other pollinators.