The Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment determined the past, current, and future climate change mitigation benefits of coastal habitat restoration and conservation in the Tampa Bay estuary.
Over the past few years, the term “blue carbon” has gained significant levels of attention by marine researchers and resource managers. Tampa Bay is one of four members of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program to contain all three major blue carbon habitats: salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass beds.
ESA’s assessment, completed in close coordination with staff from Restore America’s Estuaries, identified opportunities for enhanced ecosystem management for climate change and determined the potential for enhanced investment in habitat restoration and coastal adaptation via development of blue carbon credits.
The study explored carbon sequestration changes expected across the landscape with different sea-level rise scenarios and outlined blue carbon benefits associated with the area’s varying habitats (salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass meadows). It also explored the climate benefits associated with ongoing and potential future estuarine restoration programs and quantified the potential carbon market value of those efforts.