Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities

Coastal Carbon Sinks

Duration:
Ongoing

The Challenge

In August 2020, Governor John Bel Edward signed two climate change related executive orders link with the first designed to improve coastal resilience by better coordinating adaptation efforts and the second aimed at developing policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gases. As part of the second executive order, the Institute has started working with the state to quantify the carbon sequestration potential of coastal restoration projects in the state’s Coastal Master Plan.

The Coastal Carbon Capture project aims to quantify the amount of carbon that can be sequestered in coastal restoration projects included in the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan and also what the amount would be without that work being completed.

Current estimates suggest that Louisiana’s wetlands account for a notable fraction of the carbon buried in the soil around the world and those assessments need to continuously be updated and refined as new scientific research becomes available. This program will allow the Institute to host technical meetings with various groups across Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico to gather what is known about carbon capture in existing and restored wetlands. In addition, it’s vital to take into account how fast our coastline is changing because the amount of carbon that can be captured now may not be the same into the future.

The Approach

This project will synthesize existing information about carbon capture and CO2 equivalent benefits of coastal habitats that could be used in future modeling exercises as well as estimates of carbon sinks and sources for years 2025, 2030 and 2050.

Information will be developed about current carbon storage conditions, how coastal restoration could influence those conditions, and the modeling tools and markets available to assess and support coastal carbon capture.

The Institute will be hosting technical meetings with various groups across Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico to gather what is known about carbon capture in existing and restored wetlands. In addition, it’s vital to take into account how fast our coastline is changing because the amount of carbon that can be captured now may not be the same into the future.

This collaborative process will provide a method for long-term planning on how to estimate CO2-equivalent benefits at a watershed and state-wide scale to inform future decisions about coastal restoration, including how potential carbon capture is influenced by human decisions (e.g., size and location of restoration projects) and natural drivers such as relative sea level rise.