Restoring Peat Bogs in Coastal North Carolina

Conservation Need

  • North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula is home to the greatest area of pocosin, or southeastern shrub peat bog, in the United States. Pocosins not only provide unique habitat for black bears and rare pitcher plants, but they also store millions of tons of carbon in their waterlogged soils. In North Carolina, about 70% of pocosin habitat has been ditched and drained since the 1960s for forestry and agriculture.

 

Carbon Opportunity

  • Recognizing the potential to restore peatland across the landscape and the potential of carbon markets to provide finance, The Nature Conservancy asked TerraCarbon to evaluate three potential restoration sites for carbon project development.

 

TerraCarbon Solution

  • Based on TerraCarbon’s feasibility analysis, The Nature Conservancy decided to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore 1,300 acres of degraded peatland at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge as a pilot carbon project.  Restoration involved construction of water control structures and a berm to allow water levels to be raised, reducing carbon emissions from soil subsidence.

 

Conservation Results

  • TerraCarbon is now helping The Nature Conservancy to develop and apply a first-of-its-kind carbon accounting methodology that can be used for peatland restoration anywhere in the U.S. Southeast Coastal Plain (approval expected in summer 2017). The Nature Conservancy plans to share its pilot project experience with partners to expand the restoration of pocosins in North Carolina with the help of carbon market funding.

 

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