Wetlands are increasingly recognized as important tools for climate change mitigation as a result of their ability to sequester and store atmospheric carbon.
Coastal wetlands are “blue carbon” ecosystems that provide resiliency and can help to mitigate climate change through the capture and storage of carbon. ESA’s work on this project provides a metric to assess and better understand how restored wetlands may enhance their capacity as carbon sinks over time.
Quantifying the pre- and post-project carbon stocks at Pond 20, an 83-acre former salt pond, provides a valuable window into understanding the climate benefits of wetland restoration, while also helping to prioritize actions or funds to conserve wetland habitats in the context of climate change.
ESA is providing an assessment of the greenhouse gas benefits that would come from the restoration of Pond 20, and we are partnering with Great Ecology to complete to complete the design for the restoration.
Following methods established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the international Blue Carbon Initiative, ESA developed a methodology that blends fieldwork and a spreadsheet accounting framework; this methodology has now been applied in multiple blue carbon assessments in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, and Florida.
The assessments involved collecting soil cores and using lab measurements in conjunction with literature review to calculate the site’s pre-project carbon stock. A pre-project assessment was completed in 2019, and post-project assessments will take place one year post-restoration and every five years afterward.
The term “blue carbon” refers to the carbon sequestered and stored by coastal habitats, such as seagrass meadows, salt marsh, and mangrove forests. Read more to find out about how restoring and preserving these environments can increase our blue carbon sequestration.