Monday, January 23, 2012

American Carbon Registry Initiates Approval of ... Carbon Offset Methodology for Deltaic Wetland Restoration ... to unlock carbon finance potential for wetland restoration activities
American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, announces an open public comment period for a ... carbon offset methodology that will both quantify how wetland restoration work can combat climate change and provide a way to help pay for rebuilding the Gulf of Mexico’s disappearing coastal wetland. The methodology, Restoration of Degraded Deltaic Wetlands of the Mississippi Delta, was funded by Entergy Corporation and developed by Dr. Sarah K. Mack of New Orleans-based Tierra Resources LLC, with contributions from Dr. Robert R. Lane, Dr. John W. Day and Tiffany M. Potter.

The new wetland offset methodology is unique not only because it is the first carbon offset methodology to target deltaic wetland restoration, but also because it uses a modular format, which provides flexibility for numerous types of wetland restoration techniques and facilitates methodology expansion. Another key innovation of the methodology is the incorporation of hydrologic management of nutrient-rich waters as a restoration technique, including options for diversion of river water into wetland, introduction of nonpoint source runoff into wetlands and discharge of treated municipal effluent into wetlands. Avoided loss and afforestation are also included wetland restoration techniques.

The primary hurdle to implement Mississippi Delta restoration is the price tag, estimated between $10 billion for near-term restoration to $150 billion for broader restoration and protection measures. Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast recently estimated that between $20 billion and $50 billion will realistically be available for funding over the next 50 years, but acknowledged a budget up to five times that size could be needed. Under the new methodology, carbon credits created by restoring wetlands can be registered and sold to help finance additional wetland restoration, Dr. Mack said.
A ... study .. published [September 14, 2011] by Restore America’s Estuaries, “Jobs & Dollars: Big Returns from Coastal Habitat Restoration,” [and available at] confirms that investments in coastal habitat restoration produce jobs at a higher rate than many other sectors -- including oil & gas, road infrastructure and green building retrofit projects. This study coincides with further efforts by Entergy to explore solutions to the environmental and economic impacts facing coastal wetland. In an open dialog to address mitigation of coastal stressors such as hurricanes, coastal erosion and rising sea levels, Entergy’s 2010 study “Building a Resilient Energy Gulf Coast,” produced in cooperation with America’s Energy Coast and America’s Wetland Foundation, presents a picture of what the Gulf coast will look like environmentally as well as economically by the year 2030 if no mitigation or remediation activity is undertaken.

Louisiana boasts 40 percent of the country’s coastal wetland - more than 4 million acres. Of total U.S. coastal wetland loss, 80 percent has occurred in the Mississippi Delta. An estimated 90 percent of current loss occurs in Louisiana -- the equivalent of losing one football field of wetlands every hour. The loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands has major national environmental and economic implications. Not only is the Mississippi Delta one of the world’s most unique and diverse ecosystems, but its wetlands and waterways contribute tens of billions of dollars to the national economy every year and support millions of jobs. Much of the U.S. depends on sustaining the navigation, flood control, energy production, and seafood production functions of the Mississippi Delta and river system. Each of those functions is currently at severe risk due to coastal wetland loss.

As a first step toward achieving the massive global GHG mitigation potential from wetland restoration, the methodology is expected to be expanded in the future for wetland restoration in other regions and other wetland restoration practices. The ACR approval process for the methodology, which includes public comment and scientific peer review, is targeted to be complete this spring.
The “Jobs & Dollars: Big Returns from Coastal Habitat Restoration,” report (at found:
  • Restoring our coasts can create more than 30 jobs for each million dollars invested. That’s more than twice as many jobs as the oil and gas and road construction industries combined.
  • During 2010, restoration efforts for the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, and Everglades contributed $427 million in economic output and supported more than 3,200 jobs.
  • The $72-million Central Wetlands Unit restoration project in New Orleans is on track to create 280 direct jobs and 400 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 680 jobs over the project’s life.
  • The restoration of Florida’s Everglades is a 4:1 return on investment.
Restoration improves coastal habitats and helps local economies by creating three different types of jobs: direct, indirect, and induced.
  • Direct Jobs: People using their skills to restore damaged wetlands, shellfish beds, coral reefs and fish passages.
  • Indirect Jobs: Jobs in industries that supply materials for restoration projects, such as lumber, concrete and nursery plants.
  • Induced Jobs: Jobs in businesses that provide local goods and services, such as clothing and food, to people working on restoration projects.

American Carbon Registry www.AmericanCarbonRegistry.or
Press Release dated Jan. 18, 2012
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