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Kelp Conservation

Kelp is a vital habitat for rockfish and numerous additional species including forage fish, invertebrates, birds, and salmon.

There are over 20 species of kelp in the Salish Sea, and canopy-forming bull kelp is of particular importance as rearing habitat for ESA-listed Young-of-Year and juvenile rockfish.

Declines of bull kelp have been observed in many areas of Puget Sound. NOAA supports a number of monitoring, research, and conservation initiatives to support kelp conservation.

In partnership with the Northwest Straits Initiative, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Marine Agronomics, and a diverse set of regional subject matter experts, we finalized the Puget Sound Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan in May of 2020. This document identifies existing scientific data gaps, research priorities, and management approaches and establishes a roadmap for kelp conservation on the regional scale.

We support the Puget Sound Restoration Fund’s research on bull kelp life-history and assist their scientific dive-monitoring at several candidate restoration sites in Puget Sound.

We are hosting a National Science Foundation Fellowship that is assessing the relationship between watershed development and the loss of bull kelp in Puget Sound.

Underwater image of bull kelp.

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Last updated by on June 15, 2021