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Advancing the Use of Blue Carbon for Coastal Systems

Tue, Mar 17 2020, 3 - 4pm

Speaker(s): Craig Cornu, Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers, Coowe Walker, and Stefanie Simpson

Coastal wetlands capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently store carbon in wetland soils. This “blue carbon” service can be used to inform and incentivize wetland restoration; however, the science behind blue carbon and the role of carbon finance in support of coastal restoration and conservation are still emerging.

Since 2010, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and its partners have been filling key information gaps and fostering collaborations to advance understanding and application of blue carbon for the management of coastal wetlands. Projects have helped to quantify the carbon storage potential of coastal wetlands, predict greenhouse gas fluxes, and assess the market feasibility of using carbon offsets to support wetland restoration.

In this webinar, panelists representing four regions across the United States shared lessons learned from their work leading blue carbon projects, and offered ideas for advancing the use of blue carbon for coastal wetland management.

Learn more about speakers:

Cressman Cumulative ChangeCraig Cornu, Project Manager, Estuary Technical Group, Institute for Applied Ecology, OR 
As stewardship coordinator with the South Slough NERR for many years, Craig led the Reserve’s estuarine wetland restoration project design, management and effectiveness monitoring projects. In 2014 Craig helped regional scientists found the Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Working Group and currently manages projects to help fill key blue carbon data gaps and assess the feasibility of blue carbon projects for the region working with the Institute for Applied Ecology. Learn more about the PNW Blue Carbon Working Group and their projects assessing PNW blue carbon stocks and carbon finance feasibility.
Burdick Site 4 MapsCoowe Walker, Reserve Manager, Kachemak Bay NERR, AK 
Coowe has worked at the Kachemak Bay NERR as a watershed ecologist since the Reserve was designated in 1999, and has served as the reserve manager for the past two years. She has been leading efforts to understand ecosystem service values of coastal peatlands in the Kachemak Bay area that are important for salmon streams, and also represent potentially large stores of carbon. Learn more about a project she led that assessed Kachemak Bay’s blue carbon resources.
Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, Manager & Coastal Training Program Coordinator, Waquoit Bay NERR, MA 
Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers has over 15 years of experience connecting science with management and engaging stakeholders in research and planning processes. Tonna-Marie co-led two iterations of the Bringing Wetlands to Market project which provided cutting edge science and tools to help coastal managers and policy makers leverage blue carbon to achieve broader wetlands management, restoration, and conservation goals. Learn more about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Bringing Wetlands to Market project.


Stefanie Simpson, Coastal Wetland Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy 
Stefanie Simpson is the Coastal Wetland Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Teams. She supports TNC’s regional programs to develop climate finance market mechanisms and support coastal wetland restoration and conservation project development. Stefanie works to develop blue carbon market tools and projects, and advocates for the inclusion of coastal wetlands into climate policies and greenhouse gas inventories. Learn more about a project she led that established a blue carbon network for the Gulf Coast.