Maritime Decarbonization – San Diego Bay, Carbon Sequestration Eelgrass Study Report(2021)
MARAD partnered with the San Diego Unified Port District to conduct of its first study. on carbon sequestration and storage in eelgrass beds. This study will benefit not only the Port of San Diego but other U.S. ports and the maritime industry seeking information and data on carbon sequestration and storage in eelgrass beds. To date, much of the science and practice of carbon sequestration and the development of associated carbon offset projects to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has focused on forestry. However, there is growing recognition of the ability of wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, such as seagrasses, to sequester and store large quantities of carbon. San Diego Bay is of special interest for quantifying the carbon of seagrass beds, as it contains approximately 15 percent of seagrass habitat within California. Seagrass beds trap and store carbon generated by the seagrass itself, but also captures and stores carbon from outside systems. Up to 50 percent of the carbon stored in the sediments of seagrass beds originates from somewhere else. Researchers estimate that the global carbon burial of seagrasses is 48 to 112 teragrams of carbon (Tg C) per year. By comparison, forests’ carbon burial rate ranges from 49 to 79 Tg C per year.