Establishing a Blue Carbon Network for the Gulf Coast

May 2016

The Gulf Coast continues to lose coastal wetlands at an alarming rate. In addition to improving water quality, stabilizing shorelines, and providing habitat, coastal wetlands sequester and store significant amounts of carbon in their soils. Valuation of this climate mitigation service, referred to as blue carbon, could lead to increased prioritization and funding for coastal conservation and restoration. Moreover, coastal managers are asked to consider greenhouse gas management implications of their decisions. For example, when coastal ecosystems are degraded or drained, the carbon stored in their soils can be released back into the atmosphere, resulting in significant emissions. Emerging carbon markets could provide funding for wetland conservation and restoration, supporting the protection of these substantial carbon stores. Restore America’s Estuaries is partnering with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Training Program Initiative and the five research reserves in the Gulf Coast to promote blue carbon projects.