EarthCorps Participates in Tidal Wetland Restoration in Effort to Increase Wetland Greenhouse Gas Sequestration

Restoring tidal wetlands: pioneering a biocarbon solution at the Snohomish River Delta

By Keeley O’Connell, Senior Project Manager, EarthCorps

Tidal wetlands provide great potential to sequester and store greenhouse gases. Restore Americas Estuaries and EarthCorps, with funding from NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation and support from Western Washington University, are investigating the carbon sequestration value of tidal wetlands.

The goal of EarthCorps’ effort is to assist locally with Restore America’s Estuaries national effort to develop new market and policy-based incentives that leverage carbon offsets to fund the conservation and restoration of coastal wetlands.  We are losing these wetlands at an unsustainable rate of up to 3 percent globally per year.

Most carbon offset science and projects have focused on forestry or agriculture; however, research suggests that coastal wetlands sequester carbon at rates 3-5 times greater than temperate forests. Coastal wetlands represent significant stores of soil carbon, accumulated over centuries and millennia. In addition, some tidal marshes have the potential to reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane. 

...EarthCorps’ Coastal Blue Carbon project in the Snohomish River delta and estuary is the first in a nationwide effort to develop protocols for greenhouse gas sequestration through tidal wetland habitat restoration. This area is ideal because it contains a full spectrum of wetland types in one watershed. It also has a suite of shovel-ready restoration projects. This project will deliver site-specific, field-verified carbon values.  Field data will contribute to the growing body of literature on wetland carbon pools.

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