England’s largest seagrass planting undertaking will start planting in its new restoration web site within the Solent this month.

It is a part of the 4-year (LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES) undertaking being led by Natural England to assist defend and restore the marine atmosphere. The seagrass planting is being carried out by the undertaking’s restoration lead, the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT).

At least 44% of the UK’s seagrass has been misplaced since 1936*, however seagrass meadows present properties for juvenile fish and guarded creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish. They additionally play an integral function in stabilising the seabed, cleansing the encompassing seawater and capturing and storing important quantities of carbon.

The undertaking’s new seagrass restoration web site is west of the Beaulieu River mouth, subsequent to the North Solent National Nature Reserve shoreline. The OCT is getting ready to hold out one hectare of planting there this week. Around 20,000 biodegradable hessian luggage of seed are being packed by Natural England employees and by volunteers on the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, North Solent National Nature Reserve, University of Portsmouth, and National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The luggage will probably be taken out onto the water by barge and dropped down lengthy pipes to land on the seabed.

Brent Goose, copyright Terry Hobson, from the surfbirds galleries

Fiona Crouch, Natural England Project Manager for ReMEDIES, stated: Seagrass meadows are an vital however threatened habitat. Restoring them means restoring the advantages they carry to folks and nature – important properties for wildlife, enhanced water high quality, carbon storage, and a lot extra. We’re very happy with our companions, funders, and the numerous volunteers who’ve given their time to pack seed luggage.

Mark Parry, Development Officer on the Ocean Conservation Trust, stated: After the success of our earlier planting efforts in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, we’re excited to be getting underway within the Solent. These occasions are solely made potential by the laborious work of our companions within the LIFE ReMEDIES Project and the a whole lot of volunteers who’re keen to dedicate their time to assist restore such an vital habitat.

Seagrass is delicate and could be broken by actions such because the anchoring, mooring, and launching of leisure boats, in addition to different shore and water-based actions. That’s why, along with planting new seagrass meadows, ReMEDIES is working to guard current beds by serving to leisure customers to scale back impacts on these delicate habitats. This has concerned trialling and putting in Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) at common boating places together with the world round Yarmouth Harbour on the Isle of Wight. These AMS are specifically designed to minimise interplay with the seabed.

The seagrass planting is being carried out by the undertaking’s restoration lead, the Ocean Conservation Trust; ReMEDIES will even be working with native colleges across the Solent to introduce pupils to the significance of seabed habitats, in addition to collaborating with different organisations together with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, World Wildlife Fund, Isle of Wight Estuaries Officer and Project Seagrass. Together, they hope to go to and assess each seagrass mattress within the Solent to construct an intensive image of its well being and extent in order that restoration efforts can have the best impression.

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