Kelp enhancement refers to efforts aimed at promoting the growth, restoration, or sustainable management of kelp populations. Kelp forests are highly productive marine ecosystems that provide numerous benefits to both the environment and human communities. Some of the benefits of kelp enhancement include:
1. Biodiversity: Kelp forests support a diverse array of marine species by providing food, shelter, and nursery grounds. Enhancing kelp populations can help maintain and restore biodiversity within marine ecosystems.
2. Carbon sequestration: Kelp is an excellent carbon sink, capable of absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Enhanced kelp growth can contribute to mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon.
3. Habitat and coastal protection: Kelp forests act as natural barriers, protecting coastlines from erosion by reducing the force of waves. They also provide habitats for numerous marine organisms, promoting ecosystem resilience.
4. Fisheries support: Kelp forests serve as important nurseries and feeding grounds for many commercially valuable fish and invertebrate species. By enhancing kelp populations, fisheries can benefit from increased productivity and improved fish stocks.
5. Ecotourism and recreation: Kelp forests are popular destinations for diving, snorkeling, and other recreational activities. The enhancement of kelp ecosystems can boost ecotourism opportunities and provide economic benefits to coastal communities.
1. Enhanced water quality: Kelp acts as a natural water filter, absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants from the surrounding water. By enhancing local kelp populations, shellfish producers can benefit from improved water quality in their farming areas. Cleaner water can enhance shellfish health, growth, and survival rates.
2. Nutrient cycling: Kelp plays a vital role in nutrient cycling within marine ecosystems. As kelp grows, it absorbs nutrients from the water, and when it decomposes, those nutrients are released back into the environment. Enhanced kelp populations contribute to a more robust nutrient cycle, which can benefit shellfish by providing a richer food source and supporting overall ecosystem productivity.
3. Habitat provision: Kelp forests provide valuable habitats for a diverse range of marine organisms, including many species of fish, invertebrates, and juvenile shellfish. By enhancing local kelp populations, shellfish producers can create or improve habitat structures that support the growth and survival of their target shellfish species.
4. Coastal protection: Kelp forests act as natural barriers, reducing the force of waves and protecting coastlines from erosion. This can be particularly beneficial for shellfish farms located in exposed or vulnerable areas. Enhanced kelp populations can provide additional protection to the farms, reducing damage and potential losses due to wave action.
5. Food availability: Kelp forests are rich in various forms of marine life, including small organisms that serve as food sources for shellfish. By enhancing local kelp populations, shellfish producers can create more abundant and diverse food sources for their shellfish, leading to improved growth rates and overall productivity.
6. Diversification and resilience: Incorporating kelp into shellfish farming operations can help diversify the production and reduce dependency on a single species. This diversification can enhance the resilience of shellfish farms to environmental changes, disease outbreaks, and market fluctuations.
7. Sustainable branding and market appeal: Many consumers are increasingly interested in supporting environmentally sustainable and responsible seafood production. By enhancing local kelp populations and adopting ecologically friendly practices, shellfish producers can promote their products as environmentally conscious and attract consumers who prioritize sustainability.
It's important to note that the specific benefits can vary depending on the local ecosystem, shellfish species, and farming practices. However, overall, enhancing local kelp populations can provide multiple advantages to shellfish producers, ranging from improved water quality and habitat provision to increased productivity and market appeal.
1. Nutrient cycling and water quality improvement: Kelp acts as a nutrient sponge, absorbing nutrients from the water column and incorporating them into its biomass. When kelp is grown on a biochar substrate, the biochar enhances nutrient retention and cycling, preventing nutrient runoff and improving water quality. This can create a more favorable environment for shellfish growth and health, as they rely on clean water with an appropriate nutrient balance.
2. Carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation: Both kelp and biochar have carbon sequestration properties. Kelp absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the water during photosynthesis, while biochar captures and stores carbon during its production process. Combining kelp enhancement with a biochar substrate can increase carbon sequestration potential, helping to mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere and ocean.
3. pH buffering and ocean acidification mitigation: Ocean acidification is a concern for shellfish production as it can negatively impact shell formation and growth. Biochar, with its alkaline properties, acts as a pH buffer and can help counteract the effects of acidification by maintaining a more stable pH in the water. This buffering capacity can support optimal shell development and resilience in shellfish.
4. Enhanced habitat complexity and biodiversity: Kelp enhancement with a biochar substrate creates a more complex and diverse habitat. The biochar provides a stable attachment surface for kelp, increasing the structure and complexity of the underwater environment. This, in turn, attracts a greater variety of organisms, including those that provide food and shelter for shellfish. The enhanced habitat complexity can enhance biodiversity and create a more resilient ecosystem.
5. Reduced fouling and predation risks: Kelp can provide physical protection for shellfish by acting as a barrier against fouling organisms and predators. The presence of kelp can help reduce the settlement of fouling organisms on shellfish cages or structures, reducing maintenance and cleaning efforts. Additionally, kelp can provide a refuge and camouflage for shellfish, making them less vulnerable to predation.
6. Diversification and additional revenue streams: Integrating kelp enhancement with biochar substrate can offer shellfish producers an opportunity to diversify their operations and explore additional revenue streams. They can harvest the cultivated kelp for various applications such as food, feed, cosmetics, biofuels, or biochar production. This diversification can increase profitability and resilience in the face of changing market conditions.
It is important to note that successful kelp enhancement with biochar substrate for shellfish producers requires careful consideration of factors such as species compatibility, nutrient management, and proper site selection. Collaboration with experts and researchers can provide valuable guidance and support in implementing these practices effectively.
The biomass shed from kelp and eelgrass plays a significant role in nourishing the shoreline and improving shoreline resilience through various ecological processes. Here are a few key roles and benefits:
1. Organic matter input: Kelp and eelgrass contribute to the accumulation of organic matter along the shoreline. When these plants shed biomass, such as leaves, stems, and reproduResctive structures, they add to the pool of organic material in coastal ecosystems. This organic matter serves as a nutrient source and energy input for a variety of organisms and processes.
2. Nutrient cycling: The shed biomass undergoes decomposition, releasing nutrients into the surrounding environment. This nutrient enrichment supports the growth of microorganisms, algae, and other primary producers, forming the basis of the coastal food web. Nutrient cycling facilitated by kelp and eelgrass helps maintain the productivity and health of nearshore ecosystems.
3. Sediment stabilization: Kelp and eelgrass provide physical structure and act as "living anchors" for sediments along the shoreline. Their aboveground biomass and root systems help reduce erosion by trapping sediments and dissipating wave energy. This stabilizing effect helps protect shorelines from erosion, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal storms and wave action.
4. Habitat creation: The shed biomass and accumulated sediments associated with kelp and eelgrass provide habitat complexity and refuge for various organisms. This includes small invertebrates, juvenile fish, and other marine species that utilize the vegetation and associated organic matter as shelter, feeding grounds, and spawning areas. The diverse habitats created by kelp and eelgrass support biodiversity, including both resident and migratory species.
5. Climate change mitigation: Kelp and eelgrass contribute to carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate climate change impacts. These plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store a significant amount of carbon in their biomass. When shed biomass and associated sediments are preserved or accumulate in the shoreline environment, they can act as long-term carbon sinks, storing carbon for extended periods.
6. Shoreline protection: The presence of healthy kelp and eelgrass ecosystems can act as a buffer against storm surges and waves, reducing the impact of coastal erosion. By absorbing and dissipating wave energy, these plants help protect shorelines, adjacent habitats, and human infrastructure from the erosive forces of wind and waves.
Overall, the shed biomass from kelp and eelgrass plays a crucial role in nourishing the shoreline, enhancing ecological processes, and improving shoreline resilience. Preserving and maintaining healthy kelp and eelgrass populations are vital for sustaining these beneficial ecological functions and supporting the overall health and stability of coastal ecosystems.
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Wei Wai Kum Kwiakah and K'ómoks First Nation First Nations.
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My name is Bruce Bradley and That summer I learned how to build sand dunes and beach banks along the shoreline by stuffing holes in the driftwood with straw. The matrix of the straw acted like a filter to trap sand, seaweed and woody debris up in the driftwood berm where it accumulated into a larger Sand dune.
I presented this idea to the Campbell River City Council in 2020 because I believed the city could leverage Grant Funding for Coastal Flood Mitigation projects to gain the economic benefits from providing coastal flood mitigation, improving access and the recreational capacity of the shoreline and generate economic activity from sourcing local resources (wood fiber) for a process referred to as Shoreline Nourishment.
Traditional shoreline nourishment projects involve dumping rocks, gravel or sand to armour the beach, thus preventing erosion. The problem with this technique is that it totally ignores the natural state of a shoreline as a mix of aggregate, (rocks and sand) and organic material like tree trunks and wood fibre debris, leaves, kelp and eel grass. This organic material forms a matrix that traps sand and debris higher on the shoreline and builds the headland.
Strawmakes an excellent plug/ filter because it can be relatively inexpensive and it is light to transport and distribute on the beach. One can go a step further and feed goats hay on top of driftwood areas. This lets the goats spread around the filter material while adding valuable manure. This will improve conditions for native vegetation to grow roots that further protect the shoreline. Goats can also be used to process heavy vegetation or invasive weeds along the shoreline which will improve shoreline access and saltation (sand blowing inland to build sand dunes.)
Wood fibre is a natural option, it is heavier but for large projects could be effective for armouring higher on the headland to improve shoreline access over driftwood. This method would require heavy equipment, dump trucks ect to deliver and distribute wood fibre. In a high wind and wave event, those logs are less likely to move and further erode the shoreline, then waves will distribute organic material, sand and gravel which will now be deposited on top of the wood fiber matrix armouring the shoreline.
Kelp and Eelgrass beds reduces wave energy while shedding substantial biomass to armour and nourish the shoreline. This creates incredible synergies of value especially combined with the Social, economic and environmental benefits of Eelgrass and Kelp Enhancement.
Coastal Shorelines, especially around rivers are extremely productive and energy rich areas. There is a confluence of wind energy and wave energy from open water, with materials like timber, woody biomass and sand constantly driven and pushed up onto the shore. Waves with sand and woody biomass usually break around the larger timber and then drain back into the basin though holes between the wood and rocks. Thatching involves stuffing these holes with straw or goat bedding to form a plug or a filter that allows water to drain back into the basin, yet trapping sand, woody biomass and plastic pollution into this new superstructure forming a sandy lake bank or dune.
By priming these areas with organic material such as straw or goat bedding the timber superstructure can then harvest an extraordinary amount of biomass and sand to form a sand dune to reverse coastal erosion and mitigate flooding for little to no cost, especially compared to delivering the same amount of material with an excavator and other heavy equipment.
Goats Browsing will keep the immediate vegetation behind the Sand Dune down allowing for greater "Saltation" (A Process where sand is blown inland from the beach) and expansion of the Dune System.
Straw and Goat bedding stuffed in holes form latticework to filter woody biomass and sand from waves
Along with Kelp, or Straw, wood chips and shreds make excellent shoreline building material. Download our presentation to Campbell River City Council April 26, 2021 regarding Forestry and Coastal Flood Mitigation for Economic Development
Goat thatch improving lakeshore habitat
Hazardous waste wood was thatched with goat bedding and straw to provide footing and access to the beach for the goat herd.
Lakeshore 18 months after initial thatching
Chain Reaction: 18 months ago this beach was littered with logs and wood. Thatching plugs drainage holes along the lake. This new beach bank is 100’ long, 2 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide. As the level of the bank rises, excess thatch and biomass material are washed down the beach onto lower areas. Thatching material in these waves help subsequently plug holes further down the beach to accumulate woody biomass and sand.
View of new sand dune from Goat Barn Beach and 2018 thatching.
Before video Dec.18 lots of logs and woody biomass on shore
Notice the slope of a new sandy beach after only 7 days. Lack of wood and steep beach bank indicate the presence of a new 24” Sand Dune.
Good View of Thatching results vs unattended lakeshore
The beach is primed and ready for 2019 Wind and Waves. Happy New Year!
BC Timber Goats respectfully acknowledges it is located on the unceded traditional territory of Wei Wai Kum Kwiakah and K'ómoks First Nation First Nations.
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