Ocean Rescue
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Project: Seagrass Grow

Location

Puerto Rico, USA

Summary

Growing seagrass is one of the best ways we can tackle climate change. The Ocean Foundation’s large-scale seagrass and mangrove restoration project at the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is being developed in close partnership with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.

Who is behind it?

The Ocean Foundation - whose mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world.

Why did we choose this project?

Seagrass is a wonder plant. It takes carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. Sadly, seagrass, which is found in shallow waters of coastal regions, has been declining globally at a rate of about 7% a year since 1990 – we must reverse this trend. Planting and protecting seagrass meadows is one of the most effective ways we can tackle climate change.

What do we most love about it?

The incredible carbon removal power of seagrass.

How does it work?

By capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in their biomass, seagrass, salt marsh and mangrove species can reduce the amount of excess carbon in the air, thereby lessening the greenhouse gas’ contribution to climate change. The Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve project is working to restore the seagrass and mangrove habitats, having done a comprehensive needs assessment and restoration-related recommendations for improving the health of the ecosystem.

What broader benefits does it bring?

Not only is seagrass crucial for removing carbon dioxide, but it is also an important part of thriving coastal habitats. It protects coasts from coastal erosion, it is a habitat for many types of fish, it produces oxygen, and it cleans the ocean by absorbing polluting nutrients. The Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve provides sanctuary to endangered species including the brown pelican, peregrine falcon, hawksbill sea turtle, green sea turtle, several species of shark, and the West Indian manatee. The reserve also helps to defend coastal communities, protecting against storm surges and hurricanes by reducing wave energy and can help reduce flooding and harm to coastal infrastructure.

How will we know it's working?

The Ocean Foundation is undertaking detailed research at the reserve, measuring the impact of their work and drawing vital lessons for coastal protection work around the world. 

By the way... 

A single acre of seagrass may support as many as 40,000 fish, and 50 million small invertebrates like crabs, oysters, and mussels!

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