Palos Verdes, California

LATITUDE: N 33.712310, LONGITUDE: W 118.318178

Kelp Forest Regeneration

California has lost 90% of its kelp forests in the last 100 years. Caused by the proliferation of purple sea urchins, as their predators disappear from human impacts and climate change.

Clearing of "urchin barrens" allows rapidly growing kelp to make a healthy kelp forest in a few months. This creates habitat for marine life and sequesters carbon dioxide.

Kelp

The fastest growing organism

Kelp grows 2 feet per day.  Kelp forests provide habitat and food for over 700 species of algae, invertebrates, and fish. 

Project Partner

The Bay Foundation

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HOW THIS PROJECT WORKS:

The Cause

Kelp forests have declined 90% in the past 100 years

Southern California kelp ecosystems are out of balance from climate change and human impacts that removed key predators like sea otters and sunflower sea stars.

The Problem

Urchin Barrens

Sea urchins play a role in a healthy kelp forest, but can proliferate and create "barrens" where kelp cannot grow. These barrens are essentially permanent until they are removed.

The Solution

Divers clear urchin barrens

When the urchins are removed, kelp can quickly grow back to its prior extent. Other urchin predators (fish, lobsters) can then keep the population in control.

The Results

Giant Kelp can grow 2 ft each day

In a matter of months, the kelp forests can recover in a cleared urchin barren.

Long term results

Projects monitored for five years

The Bay Foundation scientists monitor pre/post conditions at every dive site. After 5 years, the site is considered restored if the kelp forest is healthy and urchins are in balance.

2018 Progress Report

Climate Change

Kelp sequesters carbon

Kelp biomass often floats into the deep ocean, where it sinks. This is a very effective form of carbon sequestration.

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Live Cam of Kelp Forest - Anacapa Island, Southern California