ARLINGTON, Va. and NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A revolutionary new tool is now available to help restore the Gulf of Mexico's disappearing coastal wetlands -- Louisiana's first line of defense against damaging hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Isaac. Funded by Entergy Corporation, developed by New Orleans-based Tierra Resources and approved for use by the American Carbon Registry (ACR) following stakeholder consultation and scientific peer review, the new tool creates a self-sustaining revenue source for wetlands restoration through the sale of carbon offsets.
Here's how it works: When Mississippi River delta wetlands are restored, landowners can use the new methodology to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions the rebuilt wetlands will absorb over time. Included in the calculation are the emissions avoided by slowing the rapid loss of existing wetlands throughout the region. The result is registered carbon credits, which landowners can sell to companies that want to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. The proceeds from the sale of carbon credits help offset the landowner's costs for wetland restoration activities.
The new ACR offset methodology provides a rigorous scientific framework for project development and is unique in providing for generation of carbon offset credits for a wide range of restoration techniques. This includes reforestation and hydrologic management techniques, such as wetlands assimilation. Such techniques introduce treated municipal effluent, providing fresh water and nutrients to increase wetland productivity.
Entergy has provided additional funding to Tierra Resources to pilot the first wetland restoration offset project in the nation applying the ACR methodology. The project, the Luling Oxidation Pond Wetlands Assimilation project, 19 miles west of New Orleans, will discharge treated municipal wastewater into an adjacent 950-acre wetland property to help restore the wetland's function and thus increase carbon sequestration.
"With operations that include Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, Entergy values wetlands as a first line of defense against storm surge and flooding, and their protection and restoration are vital to the sustainability of coastal Louisiana," said Chuck Barlow, vice president, environmental strategy and policy for New Orleans-based Entergy. "Wetland restoration will not only help restore the coastal cypress forest but will also provide multiple benefits to the citizens of St. Charles Parish such as reduced storm surge, potential job creation, and enhanced wildlife and fisheries."
Tierra Resources initiated the innovative partnership that includes St. Charles Parish and Rathborne Land Company to pursue the project as an alternative to tertiary treatment of municipal effluent. Saint Charles Parish plans to compensate the wetland property owner for the beneficial use of the land through the sale of the carbon offsets generated by the project.
"The partners hope to demonstrate wetlands assimilation as an environmentally beneficial alternative to conventional wastewater treatment, while leveraging the carbon market to compensate the landowner," said Dr. Sarah Mack, president and CEO of Tierra Resources. "We believe that the results will be highly transferable to other areas and restoration techniques."
The methodology and pilot project development support was provided by Entergy's Environmental Initiatives Fund. Through the fund shareholders help companies like Tierra Resources develop leading-edge technologies that align with Entergy's environmental strategy.
"American Carbon Registry is thrilled to announce approval of the wetlands restoration methodology, which we hope will succeed in leveraging the carbon market to bring much-needed funding for these projects," said Nicholas Martin, ACR chief technical officer.
About the American Carbon Registry
The nonprofit American Carbon Registry (ACR), an enterprise of Winrock International, is a leading carbon offset program recognized for its strong standards for environmental integrity. Founded in 1996 as the first private voluntary registry in the world, ACR has 15 years of experience in the development of rigorous, science-based carbon offset standards and methodologies as well as in carbon offset issuance, serialization and transparent online transaction and retirement reporting.
About Entergy Corporation
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
About Tierra Resources
Based in New Orleans, La., Tierra Resources was founded in 2007 with a mission to conserve, protect, and restore coastal wetland ecosystems by creating innovative solutions that support investment into blue carbon contained in coastal wetland ecosystems, such as estuaries, mangroves, and salt marshes. Tierra Resources' services enable landowners, corporations, nonprofits, and government clients to understand the regulatory, financial, and scientific landscape to preserve and restore wetlands and monetize wetland offsets.
SOURCE Entergy Corporation