Salt marsh and eelgrass beds being studied

  • Jul. 30, 2014 2:00 p.m.

Submitted

Something interesting is happening in our local waters.

Project Watershed, a local environmental stewardship organization, is working on a project 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, called blue carbon.

Better understanding is required to determine the economic value of estuarine habitat restoration in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere and stored. Any mechanism that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could help offset human-caused carbon emissions.

CO2 captured

In the K’omoks Estuary, both salt marsh and eelgrass beds capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it in the underlying sediments.

These estuarine habitats are widely recognized as important habitat for marine creatures and for foreshore resilience.

However, before they can be valued additionally for the carbon they store, fundamental research is required to link the two.

This activity is being pursued by Project Watershed with funding provided by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation.

Rare funding

Project Watershed is one of just three organizations in all of Canada that received funding.

The goals of the project are to develop a protocol suitable for other community groups to assess carbon stores and rate of carbon sequestration in estuarine habitats.  In addition, Project Watershed aims to foster greater community involvement and understanding of the environmental and economic benefits of eelgrass and salt marsh restoration.

Started in May

The fieldwork for this project commenced in May of this year and will continue through the summer of 2015. Sediment cores will be collected and assessed for the amount of carbon in the different layers beneath the surface.

This information can be used to determine the rate at which carbon is accumulated and stored over time. Comparisons are being made between sites with eelgrass or salt marsh vegetation and sites void of vegetation to determine if the sediments below vegetated sites store more carbon.

Ultimately, the goal is to place a dollar value on the amount of carbon stored in these estuarine habitats so governments with jurisdiction over the estuary can use these to reduce their carbon tax burden.

Paul Horgen, Project Watershed board chair, says there are many benefactors of the program.

“The result is a four-way win: a win for the estuarine environment and associated fauna; a win for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; a win for protecting foreshores from storm surges due to climate change; a win to governments required to pay carbon taxes,” he said.

This type of work relies heavily on community involvement.  To get involved, contact Paul Horgen, head of the Blue Carbon Team (p.horgen@utoronto.ca) or phone Project Watershed at (250-703-2871) or visit their website, projectwatershed.ca.

 

Just Posted

Riverfront proposal in Comox Valley remains on hold

Directors consider application a standard amendment

MusicFest weekend in the Comox Valley ‘fantastic’

With clear skies and warm temperatures bathing the crowd at the Comox… Continue reading

Island Health announces addition of 38 beds for seniors care in the Comox Valley

17 beds at Comox Valley hospital; 21 beds at St. Joe’s

VIDEO: North Island Hospital heliport flight testing

Island Health, in conjunction with Helijet, tested the heliports Tuesday as part… Continue reading

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Comox Valley soccer camp growing

Annual camp includes younger kids

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Drones, drugs and more: weekly Comox Valley RCMP report

Stolen iPad On the evening of July 1, an iPad was stolen… Continue reading

Most Read