Bull Kelp Surveys
Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) forests provide critical habitat and food to a variety of species in Puget Sound. Anecdotal evidence indicates significant declines in kelp abundance in some parts of the Puget Sound, compelling assessment of kelp abundance and distribution for science-based decision-making on how to manage this resource.
The Jefferson MRC has been participating in a regional bull kelp monitoring effort coordinated by the Northwest Straits Commission (NWSC) since 2014. MRC volunteers conduct monthly kayak-based surveys each summer to determine if the size and health of the large bull kelp bed off North Beach County Park is stable, growing or shrinking over time. See the MRC's 2022 bull kelp project summary report here.
Kelp data collected by all seven MRCs across the Northwest Straits region can be viewed on the SoundIQ map. This citizen science project is in partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, which is studying changes in kelp beds throughout the region.
- 2021 Jefferson MRC Bull Kelp Monitoring Project Summary Report
- 2020 Jefferson MRC Bull Kelp Monitoring Project Summary Report
- WA Floating Kelp Indicator - StoryMap, Interactive Map
- Puget Sound Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan (2020 Report)
- Kelp Forest Canopies Vital Sign: a New Health Indicator for Tracking the Health of Puget Sound (StoryMap)
- Kelp Forests Along Washington State's Strait Over a Century (StoryMap by DNR)
- Exploring Puget Sound's Kelp Forests (StoryMap by Puget Sound Restoration Fund)
- The Past, Present, and Future of Kelp in Washington (Presentation by Tom Mumford)
- Mapping Bull Kelp Forest Canopies with Aerial Imagery (StoryMap by DNR)
- The Kelp Highway (Video by Seattle Aquarium)
- Below is a video about the regional Northwest Straits Initiative's regional kayak-based kelp monitoring project. Additional information can be found at the Northwest Straits Commission website.