Ocean rewilding: England’s largest seagrass restoration project gets under way

Boats laden with seagrass seeds are setting off from the south coast today as part of a four-year project to restore undersea meadows

Gradually the seeds will poke through the sandbags and recolonise the ocean floor. Image: OCT

” This genuinely is a community effort,” stated Mark Parry, advancement officer at Ocean Conservation Trust. “It is amazing to see the support from regional communities supporting environments for our animal seaside communities, a very proud minute.”.

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Boats loaded with sandbags consisting of seagrass seeds will trigger from the south coast from today. Onboard will be planters from the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT), who will drop the bags on the seabed. With time the seeds within will poke through the canvas and start recolonising the ocean flooring..

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Main image: A planters working for OCT prepare to go out to sea. Image: OCT
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The LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project is not the only seagrass restoration programme happening in the UK. Project Seagrass is another rewilding scheme focused on undersea meadows. In 2015 it planted nearly 1m seagrass seeds over two hectares along the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales..

A comparable project to bring back seagrass meadows in Wales was finished in 2020. Image: WWF.

Plymouth city council stated the seagrass restoration job would support its aspiration to create a nationwide marine park.

. Led by Natural England, the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES job has actually been stimulated along by regional volunteers, who helped bag the seeds at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Some volunteer scuba divers will also help monitor the project listed below the waves..

Releasing today and enduring four years, the plan intends to plant eight hectares of biodiverse-rich seagrass meadows off the south coast: 4 in Plymouth Sound and four in the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation..

When the meadow has matured, Project Seagrass estimates that it could supply a habitat for 160,000 fish, consisting of seahorses, and 200 million invertebrates. It is also anticipated to offer a habitat for a number of the types we eat, such as cod, plaice and pollock.

Boats laden with sandbags consisting of seagrass seeds will set off from the south coast from this early morning. Over time the seeds will poke through the sandbags and recolonise the ocean floor. Led by Natural England, the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES job has been spurred along by regional volunteers, who helped bag the seeds at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project is not the only seagrass repair program taking place in the UK. Task Seagrass is another rewilding plan focused on underwater meadows.

By all accounts they are a miracle of the underwater world. Reckoned to sequester carbon 35 times faster than a tropical rainforest, seagrass meadows likewise provide a sanctuary for some of the most fantastical marine creatures on Earth– even in the UK, where enigmatic seahorses are among those discovered sheltering in the swaying blades..

Yet the UKs seagrass meadows have disappeared at an impressive rate. According to some estimates we have lost more than 90 per cent of them in the last century or so; pollution, dredging, bottom trawling and coastal advancements have all contributed to their death.

Looking for to turn the tide for these endangered environments is a preservation effort that is being billed as the largest seagrass remediation task in England.

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TREATMENTS is funded by the EU-Life programme and supported by OCT, Marine Conservation Society, Royal Yachting Association and Plymouth city council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.

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