U.S. states and local jurisdictions are largely responsible for governing their coasts, so they play a critical role in ensuring the protection and restoration of “blue carbon” habitats, such as seagrasses and salt marshes, that absorb and sequester the carbon that drives climate change and offer many other benefits to coastal communities and the environment. For example, the forested tidal wetlands in Oregon—which have declined 95% from historic levels—store more carbon per acre than almost any ecosystem on Earth, while also supporting fisheries, improving water quality, and protecting communities from flooding.
The Pew Charitable Trusts collaborates with governmental entities and researchers in targeted states to identify and catalog blue carbon habitats and craft strategies to maintain and enhance them as part of larger efforts to address climate change. Further, because the U.S. rejoined the Paris Agreement in February 2021, federal policymakers also have a renewed opportunity to advance national goals on this vital issue and make the country’s coastal communities more resilient to the growing threats from climate change.
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