Friday, December 1, 2023

Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for West Coast’s Bull Kelp

The following is a press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity:

Bull Kelp [Picture by Steve Lonhart of the NOAA MBNMS]

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned NOAA Fisheries today to grant Endangered Species Act protection to bull kelp, which faces grave threats from climate change and coastal development. The range of these underwater forests extends along the western coast of the United States.

“Extreme heat events over the past eight years have caused immense damage to bull kelp populations, so NOAA Fisheries needs to act quickly,” said Mukta Kelkar, a science intern at the Center. “Bull kelp is an iconic West Coast species and important habitat for fish and sea otters. Endangered Species Act protection will give our kelp forests a safety net.”

After the 2014 marine heatwave, bull kelp populations decreased by 90% along the coasts of Mendocino and Sonoma counties. That marine heat wave was followed by one of the most extreme El Niño events in recorded history, and bull kelp has yet to fully recover.

Kelp forests are a crucial foundation of coastal habitats, providing a barrier to coastal erosion and offering a high rate of primary productivity. Animals like sea otters, salmon, and abalone depend on them for shelter.

But climate change pressure is hastening these forests’ transformation into urchin barrens — after kelp dies off from heat stress, purple sea urchins take over the remnant areas and graze destructively on what’s left.

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“Bull kelp urgently needs Endangered Species Act protection to shield it from threats to its survival,” said Kelkar.

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  1. “Bull kelp urgently needs Endangered Species Act protection to shield it from threats to its survival,” said Kelkar.

    I love bull keip, remember when I first saw it as a young child. It’s disappearance really fouled up the food chain.

    But what is Kelker planning to do?
    Make El Niño events illegal?
    Ban all fishing in the area?
    Ban fossil fuels within 50 miles of the coast?

    What actions are planned after it is declared endangered?

    Will he stop Joe Biden from selling wind power leases all up and down our scenic coast?

    • You already know the answers to your questions. It’s not about saving the kelp, it’s about taking away the rights of the working class.

      The center for biological diversity never takes up a cause that elitist one-percenters disapprove of

  2. Has it ever been hot in California and has the kelp ever died back? This article lacks vital questions and indulges a certain narrative. At which temperature exactly does bull kelp die? 72? Dip your toe in the pacific. Is that 72? The urchin is the culprit. As respectfully as possible, the intern blabbering on is out of their depth- in a bathtub.

    • That’s exactly right! Many people are panicking and I get it but the world does it’s thing… in 2014 it was discovered that the purple urchins had taken over the bull kelp leaving it for death.. killing many things and endangering many other species with its death along side poachers doing their thing. The thing is.. simple make it so the invasive purple urchin can be harvested or squished with no limits.. it won’t be long till they are gone if it happens leaving everything behind them to flourish.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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