Pacific Northwest Carbon Stocks and Blue Carbon Database Project

  • Blue carbon refers to the carbon naturally captured and stored by tidal wetlands.

    Blue carbon refers to the carbon naturally captured and stored by tidal wetlands.

  • Carbon markets put a dollar amount on wetlands’ stored carbon and can help finance projects that prevent their conversion to other land uses.

    Carbon markets put a dollar amount on wetlands’ stored carbon and can help finance projects that prevent their conversion to other land uses.

  • To participate in carbon markets, blue carbon proponents need information about the amount of carbon stored by particular tidal wetlands.

    To participate in carbon markets, blue carbon proponents need information about the amount of carbon stored by particular tidal wetlands.

  • To fill carbon stocks data gaps in the Pacific Northwest, the researchers conducted a comprehensive blue carbon assessment for PWN tidal wetlands.

    To fill carbon stocks data gaps in the Pacific Northwest, the researchers conducted a comprehensive blue carbon assessment for PWN tidal wetlands.

  • Researchers collected carbon stocks, sequestration rates, and associated environmental data from representative PWN wetland classes and geographies.

    Researchers collected carbon stocks, sequestration rates, and associated environmental data from representative PWN wetland classes and geographies.

  • This information will soon be available in a user-friendly Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Database.

    This information will soon be available in a user-friendly Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Database.

Tidal wetlands capture and store substantial quantities of carbon. This "blue carbon" is of great interest to those developing regional, national, and global climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Carbon markets, one such strategy, value the carbon stored by intact wetlands and can help finance projects that prevent wetlands' conversion to other land uses. In order to realize blue carbon projects, proponents need information about the amount of carbon stored by particular tidal wetlands. Carbon stocks data have been collected in several parts of the world to quantify the carbon sequestration potential of tidal wetlands, but there has been a scarcity of such information in the Pacific Northwest.

This project helped fill this gap by conducting the first-ever comprehensive blue carbon assessment of Pacific Northwest tidal wetlands and generating a user-friendly database of regional blue carbon data. Input from partners in the Pacific Northwest Coastal Blue Carbon Working Group guided the project's design, scope, outputs, and outcomes. This regional data collection and database development effort contributes to national and international work to incorporate blue carbon science into coastal management and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Alongside this assessment of blue carbon stocks, members of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Blue Carbon Working Group have worked to facilitate the implementation of blue carbon to the conservation and restoration of Pacific Northwest tidal wetlands. This included Feasibility Planning for Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Financing Projects, a catalyst project supported by the Science Collaborative.