Celebrating Seagrass this World Wetlands Day
This World Wetland’s Day we’re celebrating one of the most powerful wetland habitats on this planet - seagrass! Seagrass is a flowering plant that lives underwater around the UK’s coast in shallow, sheltered areas. It forms marine meadows which are highly productive ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots. These beautiful, swaying, underwater meadows are not only home to a large variety of species but they also lock in a huge amount of CO2 and are vital to combat climate change.
The problem - seagrass is in decline
Many UK seagrass beds have decreased in size over the past century. The decline has been caused by industrial growth, modification of ports and sheltered harbours, boat traffic, increasing and stronger storm events, and more recently and most damaging of all, pollution within the water column that affects the light getting to the seagrass beds, and increases the amount of ‘fouling’ algae on the seagrass strands.
What are we doing to help?
In 2019 we became partners on an important project called REMEDIES - Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts Effecting the Seabed - which is being undertaken in five marine protected areas: Isles of Scilly; Fal and Helford; Plymouth Sound and estuaries; The Solent and Essex estuaries.
The project is working towards:
- Behaviour change amongst boaters led by the Royal Yachting Association including workshops, day visits, codes and best practice materials
- Increasing education in schools and communities around the Marine Protected Areas we’re working in, led by MCS and the Ocean Conservation Trust in Plymouth
- Replacement of traditional moorings with over 60 advanced moorings – led by Natural England
- The re-seeding of existing and lost seagrass beds and propagation of existing plants - led by the Ocean Conservation Trust
- Monitoring of the health of the MPAs within which the project will take place - led on by Seasearch and Natural England
Find out more about what we’re doing to help protect and restore this incredible habitat here.
We are running a couple of webinars to celebrate World Wetlands Day - one for children and one for adults
Ocean Superheroes - World Wetlands Day
Tuesday 2nd February at 10:00 (GMT)
Best suited to: ages 7-11
Duration: 45 mins
Celebrate World Wetlands Day with our Ocean Superheroes live lesson! We’ll be looking at some of the fascinating underwater habitats found here in the UK like seagrass, maerl and kelp. We’ll be exploring common species, where they can be found, human impacts, and how these superhero habitats help combat climate change!
Seagrass Special for World Wetlands Day
Tuesday 2nd February at 18:30 (GMT)
Best suited to: An adult audience
Join our Marine Conservation Society, LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES team members, Kate and Jules, to find out about UK seagrass wetland habitats on 2021 World Wetlands Day. Hear about the exciting work we, and our partners, are doing to protect and restore our valuable blue carbon habitats on the south coast of England
What you can do to help
If you’d like to help us with our Save Our Marine Meadows Appeal, your donation will help us to install advanced moorings to replace traditional, damaging anchoring methods and allow seagrass around the south coast of England to recover.
Image 1: © Georgie Bull | Image 2: © Paul NaylorTweet