Blue carbon storage—carbon sequestration in coastal wetlands—can help coastal managers and policymakers achieve broader wetlands management, restoration, and conservation goals, in part by securing payment for carbon credits. The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has been at the forefront of blue carbon research, working with end users to provide the information and tools needed to bring blue carbon projects to the carbon market. While end users are becoming more interested in the opportunities that carbon markets present, they are limited by uncertainties, particularly the potential transaction costs associated with bringing a wetland restoration project to market.
Through this project, the Waquoit Bay Reserve and its partners are building on efforts from Phase 1 of the “Bringing Wetlands to Market in Massachusetts” project. The team is working with end users to test the broader applicability of a previously developed model to accurately predict greenhouse gas fluxes across a wide range of coastal wetlands using a few environmental and ecological variables. The team is exploring, and working to fill, the blue carbon-related information needs of end users. One effort involves conducting a first-of-its-kind carbon market feasibility study for a wetland restoration project. The team is also developing targeted tools and education programs for coastal managers, decision makers, and teachers. These efforts will build an understanding of blue carbon and the capacity to integrate blue carbon considerations into restoration and management decisions.