This Paper seeks to explore a few of the questions that eelgrass restoration project proponents will need to consider prior to participating in a voluntary carbon credit market, like the VCS [Verified Carbon Standard]. Part I of this Paper explores whether the Commonwealth of Virginia could participate as a project proponent in a voluntary carbon credit market, and then analyzes both constitutional limitations and statutory limitations on the current state agency charged with overseeing the state-owned bottomlands—the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). It also explores a few possible solutions to constitutional and statutory issues. Assuming that the eelgrass restoration activities are eligible to participate in VCS, Part II analyzes who will possess the right to sell carbon offsets and own the revenue from such sales on the various types of bottomlands where eelgrass is currently found—ranging from public to private oyster grounds. Part III then briefly highlights how possible revenues from participation in a voluntary carbon credit market could be spent. Finally, Part IV addresses possible use conflicts associated with eelgrass restoration and aquaculture.
This abstract has been adapted from the authors' introduction.
Jordan, Michael and Price, Imani, "Eelgrass in Virginia: Assessing Opportunities and Obstacles for Blue Carbon Credits" (2019). Virginia Coastal Policy Center. 43.