Proposed Abstract Title

Blue Carbon in the Comox Valley: The Benefits of Eelgrass and Salt Marsh Restoration in Coastal Communities

Type of Presentation

Poster

Session Title

Bringing Communities Together to Embark on Major Estuarine Restoration

Location

2016SSEC

Description

The restoration of eelgrass and salt marsh habitats in areas where they formerly existed is widely recognized as a valuable activity due to their importance as habitat for estuarine inhabitants and for foreshore resilience. These restoration activities can also play a role in sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and putting it into long-term storage. Blue Carbon, where aquatic plants act to store carbon in the sediments below the plants, is another benefit to eelgrass and salt marsh rehabilitation. The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (CVPW) formed a team of professional and volunteer members to develop a protocol to measure the amount of carbon permanently sequestered by eelgrass and salt marsh, while at the same time restoring habitat that had been lost due to urbanization. If habitat restoration efforts could be credited toward mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon, it may be possible to monetize further habitat restoration.

This project is partially funded by Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Sediment cores of eelgrass and saltmarsh habitats were analyzed for C/N content and sedimentation rate was calculated using 210-Pb radiocarbon dating. Seagrass meadows in the Pacific Northwest are dominated by a single species, Zostera marina. Preliminary results suggest these seagrass meadows sequester less carbon than reported in the literature for tropical seagrass meadows.

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Blue Carbon in the Comox Valley: The Benefits of Eelgrass and Salt Marsh Restoration in Coastal Communities

2016SSEC

The restoration of eelgrass and salt marsh habitats in areas where they formerly existed is widely recognized as a valuable activity due to their importance as habitat for estuarine inhabitants and for foreshore resilience. These restoration activities can also play a role in sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and putting it into long-term storage. Blue Carbon, where aquatic plants act to store carbon in the sediments below the plants, is another benefit to eelgrass and salt marsh rehabilitation. The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (CVPW) formed a team of professional and volunteer members to develop a protocol to measure the amount of carbon permanently sequestered by eelgrass and salt marsh, while at the same time restoring habitat that had been lost due to urbanization. If habitat restoration efforts could be credited toward mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon, it may be possible to monetize further habitat restoration.

This project is partially funded by Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Sediment cores of eelgrass and saltmarsh habitats were analyzed for C/N content and sedimentation rate was calculated using 210-Pb radiocarbon dating. Seagrass meadows in the Pacific Northwest are dominated by a single species, Zostera marina. Preliminary results suggest these seagrass meadows sequester less carbon than reported in the literature for tropical seagrass meadows.