I write to express my support for the California Air Resources
Board (CARB) 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan and offer suggestions
to strengthen the natural working lands targets to better reflect
the importance of Californias coastal habitats. Our state has felt
firsthand the effects of intensifying wildfires, record heat waves,
and severe droughts, making nature-based solutions that harness
coastal wetlands carbon-absorbing properties a crucial element to
advance emission reduction goals.
Specifically, I ask
Endorse the draft plans recommendation to
restore at least 60,000 acres of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
to reduce emissions, restart carbon burial, and provide flood
mitigation, water quality, and biodiversity benefits to the region
Include an acreage target and related
management strategies for ALL of the states coastal wetlands,
including San Francisco Bay, Eel River Estuary, and Humboldt Bay,
and the sloughs and pocket estuaries found along the central and
Improve accounting for coastal wetlands,
including tidal marsh, scrub-shrub, swamps, and seagrass, in the
states Natural and Working Lands greenhouse gas inventory, drawing
upon established U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
methodologies for these habitats. And collaborate with state
agencies and research institutions to incorporate newly released
and existing localized data sets into the inventory.
California has lost an estimated 90% of its wetlands after
decades of diking, draining, dredging, damming, development, and
other impacts. And eelgrass has faced extensive loss in the state
because of excess sedimentation resulting from land use practices,
pollution, and direct impacts from coastal infrastructure. Morro
Bay, site of a National Estuary Program, has experienced a massive
die-off in eelgrass habitat, with declines of more than 90% since
2007. Sea level rise will accelerate this loss if eelgrass beds,
tidal marsh, and other coastal habitats are unable to migrate
These losses harm wildlife and people alike.
Coastal wetlands sustain resource- and recreation-dependent coastal
people and economies, protect cultural resources, improve water
quality, and reduce flooding. And the climate benefit of coastal
wetlands can have a flipside: Their destruction releases this
stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
I applaud CARB
for developing the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan and
formally recognizing the role of natural and working lands in this
plan. I urge you not to miss the opportunity to protect and expand
the states blue carbon sinks by including strong measures for ALL
of the states coastal wetlands.
Thank you for your time
and consideration of this important issue.