Kelp Casting

The marine ecosystem health of the Salish Sea Region is at risk. Whether it is the declining Herring stocks, oceanic temperature rises or the death of baby Orcas, the news out of this region is dire. This ecosystem is predominantly at risk from the development of a series of major infrastructural projects. One such infrastructural project is the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Tanker Routes through the Salish Sea Region. The risk is from a potential spill, that could have extremely long lasting and unknown effects. The Trans Mountain Pipeline is under going a renegotiation process that will either result in the all-out rejection of the pipeline or the adoption of a new set of standards to maintain ecosystem health. This project proposes a strategy for growing kelp forests, vital habitat to juvenile fish, birds and mammals, in specific and key locations within the Burrard Inlet that will alter this renegotiation process. It proposes a six-step strategy, that could be done at home or in a classroom, called Kelp Casting. Essentially the strategy involves harvesting specific parts of the kelp (Sori), blending them with sea water, adding a substrate to the mixture (in this case a rock wrapped in natural fiber) and letting that mixture (algal spore) soak into the fiber. At this point, this rock covered in kelp goop can be thrown into the water acting as a sort of kelp seed bomb, creating a hold fast for the kelp to grow from. The key point of this proposal is that while these kelp forests don’t exist right now, they could grow by the time the ecological assessment report is done at the end of the Trans Mountain renegotiation process. This means that it could lead to the all-out rejection of the pipeline expansion, deeming the ecosystem too valuable to risk or it could lead to the requirement that the owners of The Trans Mountain Pipeline maintain this new standard of marine ecosystem health. The responsibility for the maintenance of the ecology of the Salish Sea region falls under the purview of those organizations that are putting it at risk. But, the most wonderful thing about kelp forests, is if they take, after two years of growth they begin to self-propagate, meaning that the responsibility of maintenance grows with the kelp forest. A Kelp Forest is Just a Stone’s Throw Away!

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