SeaGrass Grow! is an innovative carbon offset program that protects and restores seagrass habitats by providing voluntary opportunities to offset greenhouse gas emissions through “blue carbon” habitat restoration. Offsetting carbon emissions through seagrass restoration is not only an effective solution for carbon uptake (seagrass habitats are up to 45x more effective than Amazonian rainforest in their carbon uptake abilities), it also provides essential benefits to humans and marine life: carbon transformation, vital habitat for fisheries production, water quality improvement, and coastline protection against erosion.
SeaGrass Grow! utilizes our Blue Carbon Offset Calculator which allows you to calculate your annual individual or family carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or the CO2 emissions from your company or organization. It then calculates the amount of Blue Carbon habitat restoration required to fully offset those emissions.
Our Blue Carbon program will soon adopt the first-ever globally applicable wetlands blue carbon offset methodology developed by Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE). The Methodology for Tidal Wetlands and Seagrass Restoration is now in its final stage of full approval by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). By following this methodology, project developers can generate carbon offsets and allow carbon rich coastal wetlands to earn carbon credits. These credits can be sold to businesses, organizations, agencies, and individuals who want to offset their carbon footprint, adding an incentive to invest in coastal wetland restoration projects.
The Ocean Foundation has worked with corporations to offset their events, conferences, meetings and office space. Recently, SeaGrass Grow! teamed up with JetBlue to offset carbon emissions of attendees traveling to the Surfrider Foundation event, Two Coasts: One Ocean, in Montauk, NY and Malibu, CA. Another corporate partnership in the works is with the Sustainable Restaurant Group, a small chain of sushi restaurants on the West Coast, to help them become completely carbon neutral through our blue carbon offset program.
SeaGrass Grow! is also pursuing partnerships with foundations. We recently granted $20,000 to Save The Bay, 11th Hour Racing, and Sailors for the Sea for salt marsh restoration in Narragansett Bay, RI to offset the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race’s carbon emissions during their stopover in Newport, RI.
In addition to core work at The Ocean Foundation relating to blue carbon, TOF has a variety of projects conducting blue carbon efforts. One of The Ocean Foundation’s current hosted projects is the Aliso Creek Estuary Restoration Project jointly conducted by the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project and the Laguna Ocean Foundation. This project takes the first step toward restoration of a fully functional estuary for Aliso Creek. It will develop a Conceptual Restoration Plan to restore coastal wetland habitats designed to support a wide range of fish and wildlife, including listed species. The Conceptual Restoration Plan will be developed through a stakeholder-driven process that builds consensus for restoration and identifies objectives, constraints and feasible design alternatives.
And last, but not least, next month The Ocean Foundation will conduct another round of seagrass restoration work with AquaTech Eco Consultants, LLC (ATEC). This event will work on restoring damaged seagrass beds within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS).
By Mark Spalding, The Ocean Foundation