As we come to the end of 2021 and a year of seagrass restoration, we’ve finished up with another round of seed bag packing and deployment as part of the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES partnership.
Our team were joined by fantastic volunteers, from the city, University, colleges and more, to help with the packing of 10,000 bags of seagrass seeds that we then planted underwater in Plymouth Sound, the UK’s first National Marine Park.
Research shows at least 44 per cent of the UK’s seagrass has been lost since 1936, so that’s why we’re proud to be part of this partnership as the restoration lead. The planting of half a hectare at Jennycliff Bay is in the area where we’d planted one hectare of seagrass earlier this year.
For this round of planting, we decided to trial an alternative method of growing seagrass seeds to seedlings using hessian ‘pillows’. These biodegradable pillows were stuffed with seeds and grown in the special cultivation lab at our Aquarium (National Marine Aquarium) before being transferred to the seabed. Like the bags, the pillows break down naturally over time, leaving only the plant behind.
We’ve been working hard to trial new methods of seagrass restoration for the project. The advantage of using these pillows is that we can see the shoots come up and control light levels in the lab accordingly. Then we can transfer multiple seedlings – pillow and all – onto the seabed once the seedlings are strong, healthy, and their roots have begun to mesh. It gives them a great start and we’re excited to see the results.
For the four-year ReMEDIES project (July 2019 to October 2023) we aim to plant a total of eight hectares of seagrass meadows – four hectares in Plymouth Sound and four hectares in the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation.
In spring 2022, there are plans for another half hectare of planting in Plymouth Sound, which will include transferring the hessian seedling pillows to the seabed, as well as two hectares of seed bag planting in the Solent.
A collaboration of seagrass restoration
For more information on the project, or to support our work, head here.
LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES (LIFE18 NAT/UK/000039) is financially supported by LIFE, a financial instrument of the European Commission