Talk on Wetland Carbon Storage

February 6, 2020 - 6:30 PM
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
333 SE Bay Blvd
Newport, OR
MidCoast Watersheds Council

Intertidal marsh.\Photo courtesy of MidCoast Watersheds Council.

Craig Cornu will speak on “Pacific Northwest Tidal Wetlands and Their Part to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change” on Thursday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m., at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center (333 S.E. Bay Blvd.) in Newport.  The talk, part of the watershed group’s “From Ridgetop to Reef” speaker series, is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.

Cornu will describe research to assess the carbon storing potential of Pacific Northwest tidal wetlands, as well as investigate the feasibility of using carbon finance to support tidal wetland restoration initiatives.  The marshes and swamps that fringe coastal bays and estuaries are now recognized for their important role in pulling CO2 out of the earth’s atmosphere and permanently storing its carbon in wetland soils.  This helps reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, one of the principle drivers of climate change.  How much potential do these habitats have to store carbon and how can we do more to protect and enhance these habitats to provide these benefits?

In 2014, Craig Cornu helped found the Pacific Northwest Blue Carbon Working Group, a diverse assemblage of researchers, land managers, carbon market investors, policy makers, and planners. As a part of their work over the past three years, Cornu has been managing grant-supported research projects to help fill key blue carbon data gaps and assess the feasibility of blue carbon projects for the region. He has over 20 years’ experience leading estuarine wetland restoration project design, management and effectiveness monitoring at sites in the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. He received a NOAA Environmental Hero award in 2002 for this innovative work featured in professional reports and peer-reviewed publications and 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 (with the Coos Watershed Association) the establishment of Coos Bay’s Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a community coalition that developed a comprehensive stakeholder-driven assessment of environmental and socio-economic status and trends in the Coos estuary to support local leaders’ revision of the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan, and other initiatives such as proposed Coos estuary coastal hazards/climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.

The MidCoast Watersheds Council regular Board meeting will follow the presentation to review current restoration work, the monthly financial report, and the work of the technical and administrative committees.