Learn more about our …

Groundbreaking International Blue Carbon Initiative

What is Blue Carbon

Blue Carbon refers to coastal vegetation such as salt marsh grasses, eelgrass and other seagrass that sequesters or takes in carbon dioxide (CO2). This reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmostphere and helps to limit global climate change.

Keep reading ...

Blue carbon vegetation sequesters carbon far more effectively (perhaps up to 100 times faster) and more permanently than terrestrial forests. Funds for restoration and protection of these vegetation types could be garnered through blue carbon credits, however, more research is needed to help quantify the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere and stored by blue carbon.

Our Initiative

Project Watershed in cooperation with the The Estuary Working Group is doing research to learn more about how salt marsh and eelgrass beds in our local Estuary contribute to the uptake and storage of carbon from the atmosphere.

Keep reading ...

We are also planting eelgrass and restoration salt marsh as part of this Blue Carbon initiative. We started eelgrass planting in 2010 – we did a small pilot project north of the Royston Wrecks and planted 300 shoots with divers and shore volunteers. Recent surveys show that this planting has been a major success with more than a 300% increase in plants! Since then we have done many other plantings including a project with the Department of Defense where we planted over 2400 shoots! 2014 was the first year we did salt marsh plantings. We started with a pilot project to plant 300 square meters also in the Royston Wreck area. Salt marsh planting is a little more complicated than eelgrass planting. One reason is that many of the salt marsh areas have been inundated with Spartina patens an invasive species that we will need to remove and replace with native species.

Fact Sheet & Reports

BC Fact Sheet

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.

Read the Report

Final Report to NAPECA

The K’ómoks and Squamish Estuaries: A Blue Carbon Pilot Project

Final Report to North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA)

Grant 2014-1362

Comox Valley Project Watershed Society

Christine Hodgson, M.Sc. and Angela Spooner, M.Sc. April 2016

Read the Report

Blue Carbon Sequestration Thesis

Blue carbon sequestration potential in Zostera marina eelgrass beds of the K’omoks Estuary, British Columbia.

Spooner, A.M., 2016.

Read the Thesis

Sea Grass DNA Diagnostic

A DNA Diagnostic Approach for Following Sea Grass;

Carbon Distribution in the K’ómoks Estuary and Key New Observations.

Read the Report