Seagrass has an incredible ability to absorb carbon and provide vital habitats for a diverse range of marine life. However, an estimated one third of seagrass meadows globally have been lost in the last 40 years. Project Seagrass is committed to reversing that trend, and we were proud to welcome them to the workshop, volunteering our time to get involved in some planting and spotting using their new Seagrass App.
Helford Seagrass Spotting
Hidden beneath the surface of the water, seagrass meadows provide vital shelter and food for aquatic life. But their ‘out of sight, out of mind’ locations mean they rarely enjoy the public attention given to other areas of natural biodiversity. Founded with the express intention of changing this, Project Seagrass are not only raising awareness of these underwater meadows, but are undertaking a vast re-planting initiative to restore seagrass habitats around the UK.
Last year, we were excited to have the Project Seagrass team visit our Wheal Kitty Workshop HQ. Staff were encouraged to volunteer and get involved in the restoration work by preparing bags for planting, and a few of our crew dived beneath the surface to explore the meadows in our own backyard. Inviting our neighbours Surfers Against Sewage to get involved, together we filled over 2,000 hessian bags with sand ready for planting seagrass seeds along the UK coastline.
The following day a small team from the workshop joined a seagrass spotting expedition, heading to the south coast of Cornwall to explore possible seagrass locations around the Helford tidal area. The aim was to map unknown areas of seagrass, assess their health and generally discover what state they were in, before logging the information on the SeagrassSpotter app to record the data.
The team were blown away by what they found. Contrary to the usual story around UK waters, there was a vibrant underwater meadow teeming with life. The crew from Project Seagrass were genuinely surprised and overwhelmed by the abundance of seagrass, and the overall health of the ecosystem.
“It was a grey, cloudy day. The water didn’t look particularly clear, but as soon as you dove down to the seagrass the visibility was incredible!”
Bryony Lewis, Finisterre Foundation Executive
Buddied up with two Finisterre crew to each Project Seagrass member, the teams swam and dived for around an hour before getting out and recording the results. From the water clarity surrounding the seagrass to the sheer amount of marine life present, it was a strong reminder of the benefits this little known habitat can have on the health and biodiversity of an ecosystem.
To continue their work of preserving and restoring seagrass meadows around the UK, the Project Seagrass team need your help. Simply download the app, and you can become a seagrass spotter - helping to build the bank of quality data and discover new areas of seagrass habitat around the UK.