Organization: Comox Valley Project Watershed Society, and the Squamish River Watershed Society
Location: Courtenay Comox Comox Valley Regional District District of Squamish Squamish Lillooet Regional District
Eelgrass and salt marsh habitats are recognized for their ability to sequester carbon in marine sediments. In the past century, almost 70% of global eelgrass and salt marsh habitats have been lost due to anthropogenic disturbances, resulting in the loss of an important carbon sink.
Along the Pacific coast, community organizations and local governments are interested in reclaiming shorelines and re-establishing eelgrass and salt marsh habitats. In addition to their aesthetic and economic value as habitat for a variety of fin fish, shellfish, and other organisms, these habitats are also known to sequester carbon at several times the rate of any land-based vegetation system.
The K’moks Estuary is situated on eastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, at a latitude approximately 49 degrees North, and covers 2,079 hectares. It is listed as a Class 1 Estuary and ranks third in British Columbia in terms of potential for sequestering carbon.
This project is being carried out to provide a strategy for the identification, mapping, land protection, and establishment of a blue carbon strategy for the K’omoks and Squamish Estuaries so that in years to come, the Estuaries, intertidal zones, shorelines, watercourses, wetlands, and riparian zones will continue to function as a buffer against rising sea levels, climate change, and changing urban and development pressures. There are over 400 other estuaries in coastal British Columbia that would benefit from such a strategy.