COASTWATCH SEAGRASS SURVEY 2021
Seagrasses are marine plants which have an important role in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Long known as biodiverse marine habitats, seagrass importance for carbon sequestration and storage has only been discovered in recent research.
We have been losing seagrass habitat worldwide with serious loss in Europe and Ireland too. Seagrass has featured in our annual Coastwatch survey for a decade now. A verification and mapping exercise in 2019 support by the Marine Unit of the Department of Housing confirmed several new sites that were not on official maps and extended the known range of the sublittoral seagrass meadows formed by Zostera marina significantly in the southeast to Kilmore Quay, County Wexford.
Seagrass losses arise both from avoidable direct damage like driving or trampling over intertidal seagrass lawn, ploughing, or dredging through both intertidal and the deeper seagrass meadows, but also invasive alien species outcompeting seagrass in space or access to light, excess nutrients choking them and rising mudflat temperatures causing die off in heat waves.
Action is needed! So we are launching a SEAGRASS Campaign On World Environment Day 2021 June 5th Campaign poster highlighting values to spread the word (here).
The campaign steps in a nutshell:
Seagrass Search > Spot > Verify > Health Audit > Action to protect and restore on the ground, with policy and better law.
Backed by information, training, sponsorship, volunteer knowledge and hands on help, as well as political support.
SEAGRASS Searchers are needed to locate more seagrass and check its health.
If you want to join and learn, use the Seagrass identification/ location aid (here) and message us on facebook or mail with any queries. If you know seagrass and a spot where it used to grow, or one we confirmed in 2019 please check it out.
If you find seagrass brilliant!! Photograph it and report back using the form below.
Both seagrass spotted and lack of or loss of seagrass are important. Also, please photograph damage and alert us to it in the form comment box.
First search results and next steps will be announced on World Oceans Day June 8th .