By Brian Jackson and Elizabeth Skree, Environmental Defense Fund
When society asks who will pay for Louisiana wetlands restoration, people usually think of government or big oil. While both have a huge role, recent developments suggest there may soon be a way for a broad range of American and international businesses to get involved and help pay for restoration projects that will benefit everyone.
A new methodology released by Tierra Resources LLC outlines a system to calculate and measure carbon credits, which could then be sold in a carbon market — an innovative step towards creating economic markets for ecological restoration. This development could lead to unprecedented amounts of private money flowing into Louisiana to restore the Mississippi River Delta.
Developed by Tierra Resources’ founder and CEO, Sarah Mack, Ph.D., “Restoration of Degraded Deltaic Wetlands of the Mississippi Delta” could open new doors to promote and reward restoration activities in coastal Louisiana. Rebuilding the delta will take traditional kinds of resources, but success can be achieved even faster by taking advantage of new economic opportunities. This methodology is a first step towards developing a new source of restoration revenue: carbon markets.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has a long and valuable relationship with Sarah and Professor John Day, a coauthor of the report. “We share the deep commitment they have to restoring Louisiana’s wetlands,” says Jason Funk, land use and climate scientist at EDF. “We know that Louisiana’s wetlands are an incredibly valuable resource, and we applaud Sarah and John’s efforts to bring new sources of revenue that could help protect the resource.”
EDF has been working with local partners like Tierra Resources for years to find ways to stop Louisiana’s rapid land loss and begin the process of rebuilding this fragile delta. If approved, this methodology could help steer new financial resources towards 4 million acres of eligible wetlands in the state.
“We’re hopeful the methodology will increase the resources available for restoration in Louisiana, as well as open doors to private actors who can utilize the process to produce carbon revenues and restoration benefits on America’s privately-owned lands,” continues Dr. Funk. “We would like to thank Sarah and her colleagues for this valuable contribution, as we know there is not a moment to lose in finding solutions to Louisiana’s coastal crisis.”