Coastal blue carbon is a newly recognized ecosystem service provided by coastal wetlands—including seagrass beds, mangroves, and salt marshes—to capture and store carbon. When coastal wetlands are degraded or destroyed, they release these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Bolstering awareness and valuation of blue carbon could lead to increased prioritization of coastal conservation and restoration projects, and increase public and private funding for these types of projects. Moreover, coastal managers are now being asked to consider the greenhouse gas implications of their decisions, and Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserves have recently identified blue carbon as a priority topic. A 2015 Science Transfer project led by Restore America's Estuaries developed a Gulf Coast blue carbon network as a platform for sharing information and coordinating efforts to develop blue carbon tools and projects in the region. This project built on workshops by identifying end-user needs, establishing and supporting local working groups, providing technical assistance, and conducting a targeted Gulf Coast blue carbon “next steps” workshop.
The project team developed these talking points to help communicate the concepts and importance of estuaries and blue carbon to decision makers, stakeholders, and other audiences.