Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Blue Carbon Fact Sheet

Blue Carbon

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Efforts in Blue Carbon, Sea Grass, Kelp, and Salt Marsh Restoration Blue Carbon and Estuaries in the Pacific Northwest.

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.

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