Herring River, MA – Wetland restoration

(gentle music) – For a long time there
was not much recognition that our coastal wetlands for us, like here in New England
or salt marsh environments, were doing such an incredible job of storing carbon. (gentle music) And so for a long time,
that service, that benefit was under recognized by many people, but over the last several years we’ve been part of the
story in terms of helping to facilitate and work with
a team that’s doing research on that concept and
actually try to build out what are the potential
avenues to apply our knowledge about blue carbon in different ways. (gentle music) – So, blue carbon is really
just the term that we use to talk about the carbon that’s stored in coastal
and marine ecosystems including salt marshes,
mangroves, and seagrass systems. These are very productive
plants, they grow fairly fast, and so they’re capturing
carbon at a rate that’s quicker than a lot of our
terrestrial forest systems. And we know that our terrestrial systems, our tropical and temperate
forest have gained a lot of ground and recognition for their climate mitigation services. We want to see our coastal
wetlands valued similarly. (inspirational music) – So what we’re talking
about is using wetlands, tidal wetlands, salt marshes, mangroves and sea grasses, in carbon markets. – So the carbon market
I would kind of divide into a regulated market and
a voluntary carbon market. So a regulated carbon market
is just how it sounds, it’s regulated by some
government or entity. Now, on the other side
of that is the voluntary carbon market, and as the
name suggests, it’s voluntary. So this is companies,
governments, individuals, who want to lower their carbon footprint and they purchase carbon
offsets on the carbon market. – When we started the Bringing
Wetlands to Market project, we knew that we had to
look at the whole carbon and greenhouse gas system comprehensively. (gentle music) And as we began to investigate,
the coastal wetlands, the salt marshes seemed to
be the most important piece as they do store a large amount of carbon at a rapid rate and so that
was a pretty substantial focus of Bringing Wetlands to Market one, was to get good quality quantification of greenhouse gasses
and coastal ecosystems. (gentle music) – The science is so important to have. I mean, when we’re
talking about conservation and all the benefits of natural habit it can be very hard to
monetize those benefits and here we have a
benefit of carbon capture and storage that we have put a price on, that we can monetize and
so here’s this brand new opportunity to then bring these habitats into the market system,
put that dollar value on that people will then pay for and that science gives us the numbers, what helps us quantify that
benefits and it’s so critical. (inspirational music) – Then you’re actually
using that carbon market to help with conservation and restoration, but you’re never restoring a place for just the blue carbon benefits. – [Stephanie] You’re also getting that improved water quality, you’re getting that shoreline protection from storms, and flooding. – [Kevin] So they have
economic importance in terms of sustaining fisheries populations. – The recreational benefit
is also pretty huge so when you go down all
those different things from both recreation to
resilience to climate change mitigation to water
filtration, it’s a huge list of very important benefits
these wetlands provide. (inspirational music) – This is science that’s impactful, that has immediate impact
on this really large seemingly unassailable
problem of climate change. (upbeat inspirational music) – So we’re working with partners
in the Herring River area, one of the largest potential
wetlands’ restoration project and what has happened
now is they’ve integrated this idea of the blue carbon benefit that this restoration
project could deliver as part of their story. It’s now a part of the conversation
where it wasn’t before. (inspirational music) – And so our hope is that
once the Herring River Project gets fully funded for the restoration that we can also develop it
as a carbon offset project. We have companies and
organizations contacting us and wanting to buy blue carbon credits which is really wonderful,
very encouraging that they see that as a great way that they can have a part to
play in climate mitigation. (inspirational music) – So the message of hope
is just to understand that these natural places are working for us. If we can work for them
in terms of helping them stay resilient, restore them,
conserve them where we can, protect them as much as we can
and know that just by doing that step we’re helping
to be solutions oriented and keeping that at the
forefront of our mind as we do our work I think does bring hope. (gentle music)

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