Bull Kelp Surveys

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. 

Bull Kelp Surveys