Species of large brown algae, referred to as kelps, are an essential component of coastal rocky reef habitats in temperate oceans throughout the world. In Washington State, the bull kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana, and the giant kelp, Macrocystis spp., form extensive forests in shallow, rocky habitats. Because of their fast growth rate and large stature, these algae are thought to contribute greatly to both the productivity of shallow coastal marine ecosystems and as habitat for a diversity of fishes and invertebrates. Major declines in floating kelp abundance have been documented throughout Puget Sound. Dr. Tom Mumford, Washington Department of Natural Resources, reports that floating kelp beds have all but disappeared from southern Puget Sound. Declines are also reported generally from the Salish Sea, including British Columbia, Canada. Because of the ecosystem functions provided by kelps, the consequences of declines to kelp beds in Puget Sound are not limited to the direct effects on kelp populations, but influence indirectly the many species that depend on the presence of these forests.
Click the Play button above to watch a movie that describes Puget Sound Restoration Fund's efforts in bull kelp restoration. (Thanks to John F. Williams of StillHopeProductions.)
Puget Sound Restoration Fund is collaborating with Tribes, Government, Business, and the Public to further advance kelp restoration at select locations in Puget Sound. Initial goals include developing a comprehensive restoration plan, conducting pilot restoration projects, and cultivating ongoing partnerships. PSRF’s restoration team is currently updating our KELP WATCH citizen science program with new outreach and tools to begin recording kelp sightings in Puget Sound.
Want to help? It’s Easy!
If you observe Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) in Puget Sound, tell us about it.
- Call (908)-505-KELP to report a sighting.
- Fill out a KELP WATCH data form: click here for an electronic version you fill out online, or click here for a paper version you fill out and mail in.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us what, where, and how much Bull kelp you observed. We are especially interested in sightings from Admiralty Inlet, Central and Southern Puget Sound, and the Hood Canal.
PSRF is compiling these observations to augment ongoing efforts to map current distributions in Puget Sound and identify historic canopy kelp locations. Thank you in advance for participating.