Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Volunteers Work to Revitalize Dying Kelp Forest

 "Imagine a barren underwater 'desert' turned back into a lush, healthy habitat in mere months. ...a project to restore kelp off the coast of Southern California," writes Thank You Ocean.

A coalition of volunteers  that includes fishermen, and nonprofits groups banded together to repair a kelp forest that was striped of life by pollution and an imbalanced ecosystem. 

From NOAA:

After 15 years of scientific monitoring, research, and planning, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation (SMBRF) with funding and technical assistance from NOAA’s Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) begins a large-scale kelp forest restoration project off the coast of California’s Palos Verdes peninsula this July. SMBRF will bring kelp forests back to life in an area that has experienced a 75% loss of kelp canopy.

Nearly 100 acres of reef habitat along the Palos Verdes coast is covered by “urchin barrens,” where the densities of urchins are extremely high and kelp plants are non-existent. Sea urchins are spiny marine invertebrates that live on rocky reef substrates and feed mostly on algae. When sea urchin populations are kept stable, they are an important part of a healthy kelp forest ecosystem.

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