New “Blue Carbon” Study Supports Tampa Bay Habitat Restoration and Resiliency Planning

Environmental Science Associates (ESA), a leading environmental consulting firm, recently completed a landmark study reinforcing the importance of restoring coastal habitats in Tampa Bay and around the nation to buffer the effects of rising seas and a changing climate.

ESA partnered with Restore America’s Estuaries and several leading conservation agencies and organizations including Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Tampa Bay Watch on the “Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment: Summary of Findings.” The study highlights the substantial contribution that Tampa Bay coastal habitats provide for capturing and storing carbon, and provides new data to help local organizations and agencies understand what actions are needed most to help the Bay mitigate the effects of sea-level rise, while continuing to improve habitat health and the Bay’s overall environmental and economic integrity.

“There is an opportunity for coastal managers to use this data to plan for sea-level rise,” said principal investigator Dr. Steve Crooks, ESA’s Climate Change Services Director. “By targeting vulnerable areas for conservation and restoration, we can improve habitat diversity and health in Tampa Bay.”

Lindsey Sheehan, PE, oversaw the report preparation and conducted large-scale analysis and developed new methodologies for this innovative study. “The habitat evolution model we created for this study will help managers prepare for and address changes in coastal regions by understanding how coastal habitats will respond to future sea-level rise,” said Lindsey.

For more information about this study, visit the Restore America’s Estuaries website and read their press release.

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