Blue Carbon Fact Sheet
Blue Carbon refers to the long-term storage of carbon in sediments underlying marine and aquatic plants. The sea grass/eelgrass (Zostera marina) and salt marsh habitats are known to sequester and store carbon at very high levels compared to vegetation on land. The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society has developed a community-based protocol to allow coastal organizations in the Salish Sea to assess and identify Blue
Carbon opportunities in their local estuary. We developed a method to map eelgrass and salt marsh with minimal technical expertise yet provide very accurate results.
We hypothesized that carbon sequestration is influenced by local geography and hydrology so that different areas of the estuary sequesters carbon at different rates and much of the carbon associated with eelgrass plant material is carried out of the estuary and deposited elsewhere. These factors should be considered when selecting an area to carry out Blue Carbon projects and eelgrass habitat restoration.
Empirical observations suggest that during storms and heavy wave action sloughed eelgrass may become buried under sand/silt above the high tide line, and hydrological assessments and observations on secluded shorelines have revealed major dumps of eelgrass detritus. We have initiated a pilot study sampling sediments from shoreline and other areas in the estuary to assess sea grass DNA distribution. We tested for the presence of a Z. marina DNA signature in shoreline sediments and core samples taken from various areas.
The Kus-kus-sum project aims to unpave and restore an industrial sawmill site to natural habitat on the banks of an important fish bearing stream in the Comox Valley. As milling took place on the site for about 60 years there is a concern that it is contaminated with chemicals associated with the sawmill industry. In addition to this, the site was filled with a variety of materials (tires, beds etc…) to raise and level the area for sawmill operations.
A variety of native plants, shrubs and trees will be established at Kus-kus-sum as part of the restoration process. This will not only provide food, shelter and habitat for fish and wildlife but also help mitigate climate change. Check out this video to find out more.
Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum project is important for supporting the broader Salish Sea Ecosystem. The project will restore habitat for fish and wildlife, attenuate flooding, and create habitat connectivity to adjacent conservation lands in the estuary. Kus-kus-sum provides habitat for mobile species, such as salmon, that utilize the broader Salish Sea ecosystem in their lives.
Project Watershed worked with local artist Robert Lundquist to create this video which outlines how nature will be restored at Kus-kus-sum.
This film highlights why people, businesses, schools etc… are supporting the Kus-kus-sum Project.
This film gives a glimpse of what the old Field Sawmill site (Kus-kus-sum) could look like once it is transformed into nature.
A DNA Diagnostic Approach for Following Sea Grass;
Carbon Distribution in the K’ómoks Estuary and Key New Observations.
Blue carbon sequestration potential in Zostera marina eelgrass beds of the K’omoks Estuary, British Columbia.