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Inside the next phase of research into benefits of eelgrass in San Diego Bay

It's estimated that San Diego Bay has over 2,600 acres of eel grass beds.

SAN DIEGO — It was just over a year ago CBS 8 told you about a study the Port of San Diego doing with the Maritime Administration to look at Carbon sequestration through Eel grass in the bay.

The report came back with some very positive information, so much so the Maritime Administration has decided to fund a second year. Eileen Maher is the Director of Environmental Conservation for the Port of San Diego.

"This year, $150,000, last year was $175,000 and we have a 5-year agreement with them to be looked at annually. Our first results are very positive about how much carbon is being sequestered within San Diego Bay, specifically within Eel grass beds," Maher said.

It's estimated that San Diego Bay has over 2,600 acres of eel grass beds.

"So, San Diego bay has about 50% of the Eel grass in Southern California and 17% in the state of California. So, we have quite a bit compared to other bays," she said.

With that much acreage of Eel grass beds in the bay the capacity to capture and store Carbon Dioxide is remarkable.

"The ocean does it naturally, but the Eel grass beds, and the sediment are holding about 1.7 million metric tons of CO2.

That is the equivalent of the amount of Carbon put out by 370,000 cars on an annual basis. This next phase of the study will be looking at Eel grass beds on Navy property.

"They have some Eel grass beds that were restored decades ago and we're finding that the older the Eel grass beds the more Carbon is being stored."

The Port is able to determine the amount of Carbon being stored through sediment core samples it takes. 

"We're takin about a one-meter length of sediment and we'll have that analyzed how much Carbon is in it."

And what the San Diego Bay Blue Carbon study continues to prove is that the bay is a great tool for Carbon sequestration.

"It's a great incentive to go out and plant more Eel grass to help in the future to sequester all that carbon.

WATCH RELATED: Eelgrass in San Diego bay is helping to trap carbon and improve air quality (Aug. 2021).


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