Tampa Bay Project
Partnering with NOAA, the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is working on a blue carbon assessment of the Tampa Bay estuary in Florida. The assessment is an important part of a strategic effort by RAE and the Environmental Science Associates (ESA) to increase our understanding of the climate mitigation benefits of estuary habitat restoration and conservation, and it will utilize an approach and model recently developed for the Snohomish estuary in Washington. The project is determining the past and potential future climate mitigation benefits of coastal habitat restoration and conservation in Tampa Bay. It is also identifying opportunities for enhanced ecosystem management for climate change benefits, including guidance for priority conservation and restoration site selection. The final assessment is planned for completion Fall of 2015.
Coastal Wetlands Carbon Work Group
In 2013 the UNFCCC encouraged nations to use the “2013 Wetlands Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories” to include wetlands in national inventories. Since then, the U.S. Priority Agenda of the White House’s Resilience Council’s Climate and Natural Resources Working Group has committed NOAA and partners in other agencies and academia to complete a Baseline Assessment of blue carbon resources in the United States. In order to do this, NOAA and Restore America’s Estuaries established the Coastal Wetlands Carbon Work Group which met for the first time in July 2015. The purpose of the work group is to assist the U.S. in accounting for emissions and removals from blue carbon ecosystems at the Tier 1 level and potentially at the Tier 2 (incorporate more region-specific emission factors) level; help the U.S. to meet commitments under the UNFCCC; and allow for blue carbon to be better incorporated into NOAA’s and other federal agencies’ policy and management decisions as a valuable ecological service that these habitats provide, further promoting conservation efforts, and support increased understanding of options for managing these ecosystems for their carbon services. The work group is developing a white paper Fall of 2015 examining coastal carbon data and developing first estimates of emissions and sinks. The following goal in 2016 is to complete the inventory for coastal wetlands so that the U.S. will be able to include coastal wetlands in our greenhouse gas inventory by our Spring 2017 submission.
By Ariana Sutton-Grier, NOAA