When Ocean Restoration Projects Work
Our oceans are in trouble. Along with natural causes like pandemic diseases, combustion engines pump about as much carbon into the atmosphere as humanly possible. But while the polar ice caps make daily news, the real harm occurs underneath the ocean's surface.
Every heard of sea grass? If not, you’re among the majority of people who don’t know that it captures 35x more carbon than forests do. That’s just the beginning though. The root system keeps sediment from clouding the water’s surface, allowing sunlight to fuel plants feed local marine life. When there’s no sea grass, sediment has nothing to grab onto, clouding the water and killing off entire ecosystems in a matter of months.
A Solution 20 Years in the Making
Like everything else on this capitalism-ridden planet, sea grass is dying at an alarming rate. Does anyone give a shit? As it turns out, yes!
A dream team duo comprising the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the University of Virginia spent years replanting sea grass plains after a disease wiped out most of it on the East Coast of the United States.
By finding the best possible seeds to plant and then skimming around the harbor for a year, they managed to plant thousands of acres of sea grass that sprouted up in just months!
Problem solved, right? Not quite. The sea grass actually took 20 years to regrow completely, but it resulted in 8,800 acres taking hold and spreading around the shore. And what’s happened since then?
Bay scallops, fish, oysters, clams — all kinds of biodiversity that makes it possible for more animals to reenter the habitat and thrive. Birds are coming back. Other larger predators are returning to fish in the harbor. Nature is actually healing.
Why This Is Awesome
It’s pretty easy to understand why this is big news. In a time when our oceans are literally on fire, knowing there’s a way out provides a much-needed sliver of hope. 20 years isn’t much time on the cosmic scale — if we can plant seeds effectively to restore habitats like this, what else can we do?
Way to go, eco-warriors!