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a project of: tell us what you want to do for the ocean, we will take care of the rest!. seagrass is vital. the nurseries of the sea improves water clarity protects our coasts and beaches long-term carbon sequestration. but seagrass needs help. boat groundings and prop scars - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of a project of: tell us what you want to do for the ocean, we will take care of the rest!

Slide 1

a project of:

tell us what you want to do for the ocean,we will take care of the rest!

Image: blades of healthy turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) reach for the sunlight in shallow coastal waters of South Florida.

About The Ocean Foundation:The Ocean Foundation is an international public foundation with a mission to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We work with donors who care about our coasts and oceans to add value to marine conservation initiatives. We do this by providing conservation grants, hosting projects and funds, and collaborating with important campaigns and opinion leaders.

We are highly specialized and experienced in philanthropy and marine conservation. We work to grow the financial resources available to support marine conservation. We support both site-specific efforts and global work focused on strengthening coastal and ocean ecosystem resiliency.

Our SeaGrass Grow campaign designed to generate resources dedicated to the restoration of seagrass meadows along our coastlines. The primary objectives of the program are to restore habitat, educate the public, create seagrass conservation jobs and offset carbon emissions.

For more information on The Ocean Foundation, please visit http://www.oceanfdn.org1seagrass is vitalthe nurseries of the sea

improves water clarity

protects our coasts and beaches

long-term carbon sequestration

Image: a school of juvenile fish dance atop a healthy seagrass meadow adjacent to the Mesoamerican Reef in Belize.

Seagrass is a saltwater flowering plant that grows in shallow, coastal areas. Seagrass meadows are the nurseries of the sea, as they provide food and habitat for thousands of juvenile marine species, including fish, sea horses, seabirds, and invertebrates. Manatee, dugong, and many species of sea turtle graze seagrass as their primary food source.

Recreational anglers rely upon seagrass meadows for fertile fishing groundsmany species, including bonefish, snook, tredfish, scallops, shrimp, tarpon and trout rely entirely on seagrass habitats for life. Seagrass also supports habitats that are key to commercial fisheries such as lobster, crab, snapper, grouper, mussels, oysters, clams, and flounder. Seagrass also provide valuable ecosystem services to coastal communities. Seagrass is critical for the natural cycling of runoff nutrients in near-shore areas, removing excess pollutants from the ocean. Like other coastal vegetation, seagrass meadows help prevent erosion by trapping sediment and stabilizing the seafloor, and they can also help protect coastal communities from hurricanes by dissipating some of the wave energy from storm surges. Seagrass meadows also sequester carbon for centuries, helping to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases and prevent climate change.

For more information on the value of seagrass, please visit http://www.seagrassgrow.org2but seagrass needs helpboat groundings and prop scars

dredging and coastal construction

nutrient pollution

rapid environmental change

Image: two boaters fishing on a shallow seagrass meadow with prop scars clearly visible around them.

Like other marine ecosystems, seagrass meadows are under threat from human activities, both from large-scale effects such as pollution and global warming to smaller scale events such as propeller strikes and boat groundings.

Direct seagrass injuries typically include a combination of prop scars and blowholes, and are very common in US coastal waters. Often boaters move into an area at higher tide, but then dont realize that hours later the tide has gone out and they cant get their boat out without tearing up the seagrass. Even a small scar left by an accidental strike from a boat propeller can erode away an entire seagrass meadow over time. The severity of the injury (width and depth) varies due to size of vessel and extent to which the propeller is forced into the seagrass bed. The concentrated force of the propeller wash from a grounded vessel powering off a bank or the prop wash from a salvage vessel pulling the grounded vessel off the bank can be particularly destructive.

Coastal development such as resorts, bridges, piers, residential communities and marinas often require the dredging of adjacent seagrass meadows during construction. Usually the developer is required to do some mitigation for the direct damages, such as the scarring and smothering of plants, but often the indirect damages are just as severe changes in the water flow, seafloor, and drainage from development projects can have permanent effects, reducing the meadows resilience and ability to recover from subsequent pressures, such as those caused by pollution or climate change.3our oceans are changingglobal carbon emissions

warming ocean temperatures

sea level rise

ocean acidification

Image: a neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have already begun to raise average global temperatures and change regional climates. We are losing habitats such as arctic tundra and tidal wetlands very quicklyfor example, Louisiana loses on average a football field of coastal wetland every 38 minutes. As ecosystems like these are destroyed, they release massive amounts of stored carbon that further contributes to climate change.

A warming earth means a warming ocean, which directly effects global currents and weather patterns. Through both melting sea ice and thermal expansion, the physical changes in the ocean will threaten food supplies, shipping routes, energy infrastructure, and the health of marine ecosystems globally. Our coastal cities will face increasing bombardment from stronger and more frequent storms and waves.

Much of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, in the form of dissolved carbonic acid. While this is a natural part of the oceans carbon cycle, todays increased levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are actually changing the chemistry of the ocean. The resulting acidification harms virtually all marine life at a physiological level, particularly calcifying organisms such as crustaceans, mollusks, and corals. In the worst-case scenario, ocean acidification could lead to a collapse of the entire marine food chain, and thus the ocean ecosystem as a whole.

For more information on the changing oceans, please visit http://oceanfdn.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/391/pid/3914solution: restorationcontainerized sediment

reseeding new meadows


as part of large restoration projects

Image: with a partially eroded sediment tube clearly visible in the foreground, young shoots of manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) begin to grow out of the newly stabilized seafloor.

A number of successful seagrass restoration techniques have been scientifically validated by the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies. Injuries from boat strikes such as prop scars and blow holes can usually be stabilized with containerized sediment. One of our restoration contractors, Seagrass Recovery, has patented its Sediment Tube technology, a tube made of specialized cotton that biodegrades fully over a period of 3 to 5 months and is filled with native sediment to provide a viable growing medium. This technique can integrated with hand planting of grasses to accelerate the restoration.

In cases where an entire meadow has been destroyed by a specific event, such as dredging from nearby construction or sedimentation from an extremely powerful storm, restoration can be as simple as just scattering seeds by hand. There are also techniques and technologies for transplanting seagrasses, both in small pieces by hand and in large patches of over 100 square feet.

Seagrass restoration can be paired with the restoration of other adjacent habitats in extraordinarily successful ways. Mangroves, salt marshes, coral reefs and oyster reefs are just a few of the possibilities, depending on the specific geography of the project. For example, oyster reef restoration is often more successful when coupled with restoration of the adjacent seagrass meadows, and there is some preliminary evidence that seagrasses can be used to reduce the localized acidity of the water for nearby coral reefs.5solution: Blue Carbon seagrass, mangroves, salt marsh

preservation and management

international protocol needed

Blue Climate Solutions

Image: a highly scarred seagrass meadow that is now beginning to die back and erode away.

Certain coastal and marine ecosystemssuch as healthy mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and saltwater marshlandsabsorb significant amounts of carbon as part of their natural function. Over time, they sequester much of this carbon in to the peat underneath the biomass, where it can remain locked away for thousands of years. However, if these ecosystems are destroyed, such as by direct or indirect actions from humans, the sequestered carbon can be released back in to the atmosphere, where it will contribute to climate.

There is still a lot of scientific and economic work to be done, but once the amount sequestered carbon can be precisely measured, the monetary value of that sequestered carbon can be calculated, similar to how forests are currently traded as carbon credits. The revenue from a Blue Carbon mechanism like this would then be used in the management, preservation and restoration of these ecosystems.

Blue Climate Solutions, a projected hosted at The Ocean Foundation, is one of the groups at the forefront of the Blue Ca