Most investments in ecological restoration are made to enhance wildlife habitat or to address a specific cause of stress, such as poor water quality. What we have found, and what is well known in the scientific community, is that there are many ancillary benefits to restoring degraded aquatic ecosystems.(Read more on this in DER's report on the value of ecosystem services file size 1MB.)
Ecosystem services are the multitude of benefits that nature provides without engineering or man-made manipulation. Examples include water purification, flood water retention and enhanced nutrient exchange. Another valuable service that healthy restored wetlands provide is trapping carbon that might otherwise be released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In coastal environments, restoring wetlands can reduce the emissions of other potent greenhouse gasses.
With assistance from national wetland experts and funding from our Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, DER has co-created a simple methodology for quantifying the GHG emission of restored aquatic ecosystems, we are calling it the Blue Carbon Calculator.
A Simple Methodology for Determining the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Impact of Aquatic Ecological Restoration Projects
Coastal wetlands capture and bury carbon at high rates. This carbon is called blue carbon. Restored salt marshes are especially capable of sequestering blue carbon and reducing harmful methane emissions.
The Blue Carbon Calculator is a first-generation tool to assess GHG impacts of aquatic ecological restoration projects, with a focus on coastal wetlands.
Using the Calculator is simple:
1. Enter Expected Land Cover Changes
The user enters the land area for each type of land cover change resulting from a project.
2. See the Green House Gas Budget
Annual emissions resulting from each change in land cover are calculated based on internationally accepted data. Results appear on the “Calculator” worksheet.
For more information read the one-page Fact Sheet or the full report.