RAE Blue Carbon Timeline


  • RAE organized and convened a National Blue Ribbon Panel to explore what is needed to connect tidal wetland restoration to the carbon market.


  • As follow up to the Blue Ribbon Panel, RAE led a team to expand the rules of the Verified Carbon Standard to include tidal wetlands and seagrasses.
  • The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative funds the “Bringing Wetlands to Market” project, led by the Waquoit Bay NERR, with RAE as a project partner to develop a tidal wetland greenhouse gas accounting protocol.


  • The Wetland Restoration and Conservation (WRC) requirements were approved and adopted by the Verified Carbon Standard.
  • RAE initiated a first-of-its-kind assessment to quantify the climate mitigation benefits of restoration an estuary. The Snohomish Study measured carbon storage and sequestration rates in the Snohomish estuary, incorporated sea-level-rise impacts on estuary habitats, and determined the carbon capture benefit of restoring tidal wetlands.


  • RAE began a series of workshops for coastal managers on blue carbon science and hot to identify opportunities in your local area.
  • RAE engaged with members of Congress, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and other federal agencies and partners to increase awareness of blue carbon and encourage support for blue carbon ecosystem service valuation.


  • RAE initiates the development of a draft methodology (protocol) for tidal wetland and seagrass restoration GHG accounting.
  • RAE begins developing a process for including tidal wetland conservation into market frameworks.


  • The first globally applicable Methodology for Tidal Wetland and Seagrass Restoration is approved by the Verified Carbon Standard, allowing such projects to generate carbon offsets on the voluntary carbon market.
  • RAE leads development of the Coastal Blue Carbon in Practice guidebook for developing a blue carbon offset project using the restoration methodology.
  • RAE leads first meeting of the Blue Carbon National Working Group (BCN), resulting in a set of recommendations for advancing blue carbon in the U.S.
  • Creation of the Blue Carbon Buzz monthly e-newsletter to share blue carbon related new, publications, events, and more.


  • Following the example in Snohomish, the Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment is complete, quantifying the carbon sequestration by Tampa Bay coastal wetlands and providing management recommendations incorporating blue carbon.
  • Initiated the first blue carbon market feasibility study for the Herring River Restoration Project in Cape Cod, MA.
  • Created the Coastal Wetland Carbon Working Group aimed at incorporating blue carbon ecosystems into the U.S. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory with U.S. EPA, NOAA, and Dr. Steve Crooks.
  • Presented about blue carbon to almost 700 stakeholders across the country at conferences, workshops, webinars, and briefings.


  • Completion of the Galveston Bay Blue Carbon Study, which assessed the carbon storage and sequestration of natural vs restored marsh habitat in Galveston Bay, TX.
  • First time blue carbon habitats (tidal wetlands) are included in the U.S. reporting of National Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Ch. 6), making the U.S. among the first countries to do so.
  • Additional blue carbon market feasibility studies initiated in Naples, FL, and Port Fourchon, LA.