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Port of Seattle collaborates with Seattle Aquarium to map kelp forests

April 26, 2022

The Port of Seattle has partnered with the Seattle Aquarium, a Green Marine supporter, to study and map the presence of kelp forests along Elliott Bay’s urban waterfront. The port commission approved the project as part of the 2022 budget in support of kelp forest restoration.

Located in Elliott Bay as well as the West and East Waterways of Seattle’s harbourfront, the large marine algae serve a vital role in the Salish Sea’s ecosystem. Kelp beds provide food, habitat and refuge for many species of fish, birds and marine mammals. Additionally, kelp absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, reducing ocean acidification impacts.

Set to begin this summer, the study will aim to increase the understanding of the conditions in which bull kelp exists in urban areas to better inform effective conservation and restoration efforts occurring throughout Puget Sound.

The port is providing access to the area identified for study. The Seattle Aquarium's staff will use the latest research technology, including a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and artificial intelligence, to gather data and translate results.

Results will be shared with the public early next year.