View Full Version : So Cal kelp reforestation
06-11-2004, 09:30 PM
I thought I would start this thread in order to solicit ideas on how to (if possible) create the conditions off-shore here for the return of kelp forests off of Laguna Beach, OC and So Cal in general.
Please comment on:
1. How did it get this way?
2. Can it be encouraged to return? (For example: lay off of sheephead under the theory that they eat urchins that eat the kelp base).
3. Anybody know of any orgs out there working on this?
4. Anything else relevant to this topic.
Any marine biologists or oceanographers out there?
06-12-2004, 08:00 AM
When I was growing up in Three Arch Bay (So. Laguna) the kelp forests were everywhere. So were the WSB and Calico's. Then they started harvesting the kelp commercially. I think the origin of its demise was at least two fold; commercial harvesting of the kelp and the killing of most of the sea otters that kept the sea urchin population in check.
I have no idea if water pollution and/or a rise in the average water temp. have anything to do with it at this point.
06-12-2004, 01:11 PM
everytime you go out how about kill your daily limit of sea urchins :)
this will 1) help keep it down and possibly bring back kelp
2) feed the fish
3) or if you like eating sea urchin"roe" then its perfect for you.
i believe the daily limit is 35 urchins. Roe at a sushi restaurant will avg $16/urchin
06-13-2004, 12:06 AM
They actually have a daily limit on those pesky little urchins out there?????? They should pay you to kill them.
There is one main organization doing kelp reforrestation in Orange County. It's called the OrangeCounty Coastkeeper. They use volunteer divers to collect, grow, and plant kelp. If you're interested try looking up the website on Google or something. The main reforrestation efforts are located off of Reef Point in Crystal Cove SP. They (OC Coastkeeper) named the spot Wheeler reef, after the late scientist Wheeler North (I think that's right) who died last year. I believe he was one of the first to try and grow and replant kelp.
His theory was that kelp forrests were cyclical in nature, and that large ones would come and go depending on the water temps. and el nino cycles.
Urchin populations are insane in Laguna and are probably hurting the chances of reforestation because there is little predation occuring on them,
Other issues that might apply are sedimentation of reefs from erosion on land (kelp needs to attach to rock or reef, not sand), poor water quality, and unusually large swells that tear out the holdfasts that kelp the kelp attached to the bottom.
Laying off sheepshead might help, how may large adult males do you see crusing around our waters these days?
I know in Santa Cruz, the kelp harvesters are only allowed to take the top portion of the kelp forrest, with the idea being that the kelp will gorw back quickly (grows really fast, sometimes >3ft. per day). They don't take the whole organism.
I always smash some of those dam urchins every time I go out!:D
06-14-2004, 03:41 PM
help reduce erosion on land, one of the big problems they have in santa monica bay, is that all of the rocky substrate needed for kelp holdfasts is being covered up by sediment. There is a project in near dana point, through UCSB, that is working on doing a major kelp planting project, they are in the preliminary stages, when the reef is finished, they expect 150 to 200 acres of kelp coverage. The project is a funded by mitigation from a Edison power plant project done there.
What you really need down there are some sea otters to eat all the urchins. Sheephead aldo eat a lot of other things.
here is a link about a study i helped work on in Santa monica bay.
Also check out their main page for some good bathymetry maps and sidescan sonar
I used to work for this group
06-15-2004, 02:34 AM
I had to chime in seeing as both my brothers have posted on this thread (dpc and mbhalihunter). I think that laying off the sheepshead is a start as are reforestation and killing lots of urchins.
06-15-2004, 08:13 AM
I heard somewhere that smashing Urchins doesn't really help because the eggs just get spread around when you do that. Anyone have any info/insight?
Definitely agree with laying off the Sheephead though...
Where is the proof that laying off the Sheepheads will help anything? I agree in not killing the little ones, but what will you do when you see a 20+ pounder cruising the reef? I think each one of you would go for the shot, I know I would. The local cattle boats here in Dana pull out at least 50 SH per boat per day.
You're right, there's no proof, but sheephead do eat the urchins. So maybe that would help a little? My feeling is it's more of a cyclical thing than anything else. One weird thing that's occuring is that the kelp of Salt Creek is going nuts, and there has been a lot of developement going on in that watershed in the last few years. Also, I test the water at several locations along Salt Creek and the pesticide levels are pretty high. Compared to n laguna, where there's not a whole lot of kelp, it's been pretty stable developement wise for years, and the urban runoff there is some of the cleanest in the whole county. f**k if i know, just hypothesizing.
It would be a tough shot to pass up, though.
I have also noticed the south part of Salt Creek is really growing. It has been a few years since I have seen the Kelp Harvesters in that area. Where did they go? Is that kelp protected? I'm sure the red tide isn't helping either.
Let's go make a huge artificial reef out there and transfer some kelp.
06-16-2004, 01:28 PM
I have been helping with a phycologist here in moss landing on a kelp project, Spore production by giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera in Monterey Bay, USA,
If you want to plant kelp, look for drifting kelp, if they have a holdfast, then take it inshore and plant it, The majority of drifting kelp have good sporophylls, the short bushy blades just above the holdfast, which will help produce new kelp plants.
In regard to urchins, you cant just kill all the urchins, and plant kelp, you are missing a lot of the ecosystem services provided by many of the benthic invertebrates. Start with an area that is in good shape, with kelp and lots of fish and benthic inverts, and then work around it to protect it and let it expand. This is the best way to repopulate the surrounding areas, that is why there was a push for marine protected areas in 10% of the states water.
06-16-2004, 01:43 PM
"I agree in not killing the little ones, but what will you do when you see a 20+ pounder cruising the reef? I think each one of you would go for the shot, I know I would. "
Honestly, I wouldn't. I've had plenty of chances to shoot some monster Sheephead in the past, and have never pulled the trigger.
Kyle, I'm honestly not trying to start a flame war, so please don't take it that way. I think the reason some people are proponents of laying off the sheephead is that they are the only (at least to my knowledge) remaining predator of urchins in So. Cal waters, and relieving the pressure on sheephead may help reduce the number of urchins and subsequently the number of urchin barrens. Do I have the scientific proof to back any of this up? Nope. Just going on "tribal knowledge" passed on from people I've talked to.
I definitely agree that the sport fishing fleet clobbers the sheephead population much more that all spearos combined. Heck, that holds true for all species. I also agree that there's more to blame than lack of SH for local "dekelpification". It's just my personal choice, for various reasons, not to shoot sheephead. One of those reasons is that, in a small way, it may help kelp reforestation.
Then again, I could be wrong...
06-18-2004, 02:29 AM
didn't know sheepshead kill urchins. i will continue to kill them ;) yeah oceaned, stupid limit!
I will lay off the sheepshead, even though they taste damned good steamed :)
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