Posted on September 13, 2022
The largest seagrass restoration, education and innovation project in England, LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES, will receive support from environmental sensor manufacturer, Valeport, for the project’s final two years.
The marine conservation project which is led by Natural England, focuses on five Special Areas of Conservation along England’s south coast and Valeport’s sponsorship announcement coincides with an extension to the project which will now run until October 2024. The newly extended five-year ReMEDIES project seeks to protect and restore sensitive seabed habitats which are at risk and aims to plant a total of eight hectares of seagrass meadows – four hectares in Plymouth Sound and four hectares in the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation.
Seagrass meadows are increasingly being recognised for their essential carbon capture abilities – seagrass can be as effective at absorbing and storing carbon as woodlands. It also provides a vital nursery bed for juvenile fish and protected creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish, cleans surrounding seawater and helps stabilise the seabed which can help to reduce coastal erosion.
However, seagrass meadows are a globally threatened ecosystem – with estimates suggesting the planet loses an area of seagrass the same size as two football pitches every hour. At least 44% of the UK’s seagrass has been lost since 1936. The delicate and endangered seagrass meadows in the UK are vulnerable to factors including wasting disease, pollution and physical disturbance such as anchoring, mooring and launching of leisure boats, as well as other shore and water-based activities. In addition to planting new seagrass meadows, ReMEDIES is working to protect existing meadows by helping recreational users to minimise impacts on these sensitive habitats. The project is trialling Advanced Mooring Systems that help reduce impacts from recreational boating on the seabed, producing best practice guidance for boaters, seagrass location maps and conducting seagrass monitoring.