Marin Voice: Funding for Farallones Marine Sanctuary kelp comes just in time

May 12, 2023

I am writing to share amazing news. Thanks to community outreach and the support of Rep. Jared Huffman, $4.9 million in federal funding is coming to local ocean conservation nonprofit, Greater Farallones Association (GFA), to lead the important work of restoring an essential building blocks of our blue backyard: kelp forests off the Sonoma-Marin coast in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS).

For more than 15 years, I have had the good fortune to be a volunteer for the sanctuary and to serve on the board of GFA, an organization dedicated to helping to study, preserve and build community around the sanctuary. Together these two entities have been at the forefront of protecting and conserving our local marine resources for the public.

Since around 2014, bull kelp forests off the north-central coast have declined by more than 90% of historic levels due to a combination of large-scale stressors including a climate change-related marine heatwave.

The effort to begin bringing back this essential coastal habitat in the sanctuary began in 2018 with a kelp restoration working group formed by the sanctuary’s public-based advisory council. I co-chaired this working group, and I’m proud to have been at the very beginning of this community-driven project exploring solutions to shore up our kelp forests.

I’m even more proud of the myriad efforts that have flourished from that seeding of ideas, especially to see the all-female GFA-GFNMS dive team working tirelessly on the science and monitoring of the kelp forests along the Sonoma-Marin coast.

Anything that began pre-pandemic seems like an eternity ago, but to think that in five short years we went from a community-driven working group idea in 2018, to a draft restoration plan, to a fully functioning program, to being recommended in 2023 to receive nearly $5 million in federal funding is nothing short of remarkable.


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Source: Marin Independent Journal