First global Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration Methodology is one step closer to full approval, having cleared the first of two independent assessments required by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This methodology details the procedure that project developers must follow to generate carbon offsets and will allow coastal wetlands to earn carbon credits. This marks a significant step closer to coastal wetlands eligibility to generate carbon credits. Project developers can use the methodology to plan their carbon projects.
Developed by Restore America’s Estuaries and its partners, this methodology is the first globally applicable Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration Methodology. It was submitted last year to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), a leading carbon offset standard. The process of approval is rigorous, including two rounds of assessment by independent auditors, known as validation/verification bodies. With the first round of assessment complete, restoration practitioners can expect the final completion of the methodology spring of next year.
Coastal wetlands have recently been included in the carbon market, and there has been a need for wetland and seagrass restoration methodologies to spur carbon project development. Carbon credits can then be sold to businesses, organizations, agencies, and individuals who want to offset their carbon emissions, adding an incentive to invest in coastal wetland restoration projects.
Tidal wetlands, like salt marshes and mangroves are critical habitats that provide many benefits. They protect shorelines from erosion and storms, improve water quality, and provide vital habitat for economically valuable fish and marine species. Tidal wetlands and seagrass habitats are also important for absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and storing it in the ground – referred to as “blue carbon”. Yet globally these habitats are being lost at alarming rates, up to 7% annually. In the U.S. an average of 80,000 acres is lost every year.