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Assessing Kachemak Bay's Blue Carbon Resources

Assessing Kachemak Bay's Blue Carbon Resources

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Why this project?

The Kenai Lowlands cover 9,400 square kilometers, with much of the area comprised of wetlands and over half of the landscape characterized as peatlands. These wetlands sequester large stores of carbon, preventing the carbon from entering the atmosphere. In 2016, at the request of the Kachemak Bay Community Council, a group of municipalities, government agencies, and local non-profits, the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve partnered with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to conduct pilot tests of saltmarsh carbon sequestration. The results spurred interest in blue carbon valuation throughout the region.

This project will build on Kachemak Bay Reserve’s expertise in wetland ecosystem function and ecosystem services to map carbon stores in Kenai Peninsula wetlands, and explore opportunities for engaging local stakeholders in valuing wetlands. The reserve will benefit from the expertise of Waquoit Bay Reserve’s blue carbon stakeholder engagement process and from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s expertise in global blue carbon assessment.

About this project

The Kachemak Bay Reserve will hold initial meetings with the Waquoit Bay Reserve and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to learn from their experience and expertise in blue carbon markets and implementing stakeholder engagement strategies. These sessions will increase Kachemak Bay Reserve’s knowledge of blue carbon markets and environmental values in communities, while also introducing partners to community stakeholders and environmental resources in Kachemak Bay. The Kachemak Bay Reserve team will then work with their local partners to understand how landowners value wetlands, and use that information to develop a plan and communications products for local stakeholder engagement. They will also work with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to develop an assessment strategy for identifying and monitoring blue carbon resources in wetlands throughout the Lower Kenai Peninsula in the form of wetland maps that quantify wetland carbon stocks.

Project lead and contact

Coowe Walker, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Email:

To learn more, view the project factsheet (PDF).