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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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What is biocarbon, and why is the Seattle Times talking about it?


A couple weeks ago, we posted about the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative. A great opinion piece in Tuesday's Seattle Times calls out the Portland region's pioneering work on green infrastructure and what that means for climate solutions:

"Park carbon dioxide under our feet with a biocarbon approach"

As the buzz about biocarbon picks up, here are two quick "FAQs" for the week:

Fern at Riverview Forest Natural AreaWhat is biocarbon?

Biocarbon is the carbon that trees, plants and healthy soils naturally absorb and store.  Plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.  This helps to reduce CO₂ pollution that is changing our climate.

What does biocarbon have to do with Portland’s stormwater management?

Green infrastructure solves a lot of problems at once. Portland is building green streets and ecoroofs, protecting wetlands and forests in the city, and planting new trees in neighborhoods and along streams.  Environmental Services does all this to help soak up the rain, prevent pollution, and keep our sewer system working well. 

Now we know, those same actions are also biocarbon solutions! Using nature to solve stormwater problems also helps capture more carbon.  And, these actions—like Portland’s Tabor to the River and Clean Water Services' work along the Tualatin River in Washington County--save money in the long run.  Good for the climate, good for healthy watersheds, good for our pocketbooks.

To learn more, check out this fact sheet:



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