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Wetlands

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 401–413 | Cite as

Ecosystem Level Methane Fluxes from Tidal Freshwater and Brackish Marshes of the Mississippi River Delta: Implications for Coastal Wetland Carbon Projects

  • Guerry O. HolmJr.Email author
  • Brian C. Perez
  • David E. McWhorter
  • Ken W. Krauss
  • Darren J. Johnson
  • Richard C. Raynie
  • Charles J. Killebrew
Original Research

Abstract

Sulfate from seawater inhibits methane production in tidal wetlands, and by extension, salinity has been used as a general predictor of methane emissions. With the need to reduce methane flux uncertainties from tidal wetlands, eddy covariance (EC) techniques provide an integrated methane budget. The goals of this study were to: 1) establish methane emissions from natural, freshwater and brackish wetlands in Louisiana based on EC; and 2) determine if EC estimates conform to a methane-salinity relationship derived from temperate tidal wetlands with chamber sampling. Annual estimates of methane emissions from this study were 62.3 g CH4/m2/yr and 13.8 g CH4/m2/yr for the freshwater and brackish (8–10 psu) sites, respectively. If it is assumed that long-term, annual soil carbon sequestration rates of natural marshes are ~200 g C/m2/yr (7.3 tCO2e/ha/yr), healthy brackish marshes could be expected to act as a net radiative sink, equivalent to less than one-half the soil carbon accumulation rate after subtracting methane emissions (4.1 tCO2e/ha/yr). Carbon sequestration rates would need case-by-case assessment, but the EC methane emissions estimates in this study conformed well to an existing salinity-methane model that should serve as a basis for establishing emission factors for wetland carbon offset projects.

Keywords

Methane Tidal wetland Carbon sequestration Eddy covariance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority with special thanks to Jerome “Zee” Zeringue for his support. We would like to thank Mr. Tim Allen and Mr. Francis Fields of Apache Louisiana Minerals for supporting this research through access to Apache property. We would also like to thank the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for property access. We greatly appreciate the staff of Coastal Estuary Services (E. Bourg, T. Nguyen, C. Hymel, R. Messer, C. Northern, J. Pace, and J. Devore) who made it possible to access distant sites, and their assistance with sampling and servicing instruments. We appreciate the work and expertise of R.F. Moss and N. Cormier of the USGS during field data collection. We also extend our thanks to the insights of the two anonymous reviewers that improved the manuscript. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

13157_2016_746_MOESM1_ESM.doc (89 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 89 kb)

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guerry O. HolmJr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian C. Perez
    • 1
  • David E. McWhorter
    • 1
  • Ken W. Krauss
    • 2
  • Darren J. Johnson
    • 3
  • Richard C. Raynie
    • 4
  • Charles J. Killebrew
    • 4
  1. 1.CH2MBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyUSGS Wetland and Aquatic Research CenterLafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Cherokee Nations Technical SolutionsWetland and Aquatic Research CenterLafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration AuthorityBaton RougeUSA

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