NWAEP Lunch and Learn
The State of Blue Carbon in the PNW and Beyond
Craig Cornu • Chris Janousek • Lindsey Sheehan
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 • 12–1:00 PM
As climate action becomes increasingly urgent, biological carbon sequestration has become part of the solution in mitigating carbon emissions. Coastal and marine environments have among the highest rates of carbon sequestration per unit area, leading to new studies and conservation efforts in the realm of “blue carbon,” which refers to the carbon captured and stored by these ecosystems.
In this talk, Craig Cornu will introduce you to blue carbon and the PNW Blue Carbon Working Group. He’ll cover the group’s purpose, accomplishments, and direction, which includes filling data gaps and embarking on new projects. Chris Janousek will discuss ongoing research on blue carbon in the PNW and how to access blue carbon data collected by the working group and others. The working group is designed to do its work in response to end user needs, so there will be time for questions and audience discussion. Lastly, Lindsey Sheehan will provide an example project quantifying blue carbon and discuss some of the challenges of bringing a blue carbon credit project to market.
A Zoom link will be provided on the morning of the event, to those who register.
PNW Blue Carbon Working Group
Craig helped found the Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Working Group (a diverse group of researchers, land managers, carbon market investors, policy makers, and planners) in 2014 and has been facilitating the development of, and managing grant-supported research projects to help fill key blue carbon data gaps and assess the feasibility of blue carbon projects for the region. Craig has over 25 years’ experience leading estuarine wetland restoration project design, management and effectiveness monitoring at sites in the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. He has served as an advisor to state and federal agencies, private landowners, watershed associations, and other non-profit organizations on numerous estuarine wetland restoration and effectiveness monitoring projects in Oregon and Washington. Craig also led the establishment of Coos Bay’s Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a community coalition which facilitates the collaborative planning needs of Coos Bay stakeholders which has led to a much-needed revision of the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan, estuarine habitat classification mapping refinements, tidal wetland restoration opportunity inventory mapping, and a climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning process currently underway.
Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences
Chris is an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University who studies climate change impacts to west coast estuarine wetlands, carbon storage in coastal wetlands, and ecosystem responses to tidal marsh restoration. His research focuses on the structure, function, and vulnerability of tidal wetland plant communities along the Pacific coast of the US. He has three major projects: (1) Understanding how climate change impacts wetland plant community structure and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and productivity, (2) Assessing blue carbon stocks in Pacific Northwest estuaries, and (3) Evaluating ecosystem responses to tidal wetland restoration. He uses a variety of approaches to address these questions including manipulative experiments.
Senior Coastal Engineer, Environmental Science Associates (and NWAEP board member)
Lindsey is a hydrologist and coastal engineer specializing in sea-level rise planning, blue carbon quantification, and the restoration of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. She has worked on quantifying blue carbon in California, Texas, Florida, and Washington. Her work at ESA includes managing projects while conducting and overseeing numerical modeling, GIS analysis, field data collection, and hydrologic, geomorphic, and water and sediment quality technical analyses. By combining a technical base in coastal hydrology and engineering with an understanding of regulatory and environmental processes, Lindsey helps clients navigate projects through key stages of planning, permitting, design, and implementation.