Solent’s underwater meadows get a lift

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England’s largest seagrass planting undertaking will start planting in its new restoration website within the Solent this month.

It’s a part of the 4-year (LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES) undertaking being led by Pure England to assist shield and restore the marine surroundings. The seagrass planting is being carried out by the undertaking’s restoration lead, the Ocean Conservation Belief (OCT).

Not less than 44% of the UK’s seagrass has been misplaced since 1936*, however seagrass meadows present houses for juvenile fish and guarded creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish. Additionally they play an integral position in stabilising the seabed, cleansing the encompassing seawater and capturing and storing important quantities of carbon.

The undertaking’s new seagrass restoration website is west of the Beaulieu River mouth, subsequent to the North Solent Nationwide Nature Reserve shoreline. The OCT is making ready to hold out one hectare of planting there this week. Round 20,000 biodegradable hessian luggage of seed are being packed by Pure England workers and by volunteers on the Nationwide Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, North Solent Nationwide Nature Reserve, College of Portsmouth, and Nationwide Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The baggage will likely be taken out onto the water by barge and dropped down lengthy pipes to land on the seabed.

Brent Goose, copyright Terry Hobson, from the surfbirds galleries

Fiona Crouch, Pure England Venture Supervisor for ReMEDIES, stated: Seagrass meadows are an essential however threatened habitat. Restoring them means restoring the advantages they carry to individuals and nature – very important houses for wildlife, enhanced water high quality, carbon storage, and a lot extra. We’re very happy with our companions, funders, and the numerous volunteers who’ve given their time to pack seed luggage.

Mark Parry, Growth Officer on the Ocean Conservation Belief, stated: After the success of our earlier planting efforts in Plymouth Sound Nationwide Marine Park, we’re excited to be getting underway within the Solent. These occasions are solely made doable by the laborious work of our companions within the LIFE ReMEDIES Venture and the a whole lot of volunteers who’re prepared to dedicate their time to assist restore such an essential habitat.

Seagrass is delicate and may be broken by actions such because the anchoring, mooring, and launching of leisure boats, in addition to different shore and water-based actions. That’s why, along with planting new seagrass meadows, ReMEDIES is working to guard present beds by serving to leisure customers to scale back impacts on these delicate habitats. This has concerned trialling and putting in Superior Mooring Programs (AMS) at widespread boating places together with the realm round Yarmouth Harbour on the Isle of Wight. These AMS are specifically designed to minimise interplay with the seabed.

The seagrass planting is being carried out by the undertaking’s restoration lead, the Ocean Conservation Belief; ReMEDIES may even be working with native colleges across the Solent to introduce pupils to the significance of seabed habitats, in addition to collaborating with different organisations together with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Belief, World Wildlife Fund, Isle of Wight Estuaries Officer and Venture Seagrass. Collectively, they hope to go to and assess each seagrass mattress within the Solent to construct an intensive image of its well being and extent in order that restoration efforts can have the best affect.

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