November 27, 2007
Long Beach, CA—November 27, 2007 The Aquarium of the Pacific has adopted the Orange County Kelp Restoration Project to restore the kelp forests in Orange County, which has lost nearly 90% of its kelp beds over the last 30 years. The project aims to enlist the help of everyday citizens in the community. Nancy Caruso, marine biologist and project manager, will be taking the Aquarium’s program to local Orange County high schools to teach students about kelp forest ecology and how to actually grow kelp on ceramic, unleaded, unglazed tiles in their classrooms.
Once the kelp is about one-fourth of an inch long, Aquarium scientific divers will plant the kelp on Orange County reefs that once supported thriving kelp forests. The Aquarium’s divers are trained on how to perform scientific surveys on the reef and how to plant the kelp. Caruso and the divers will be out in the water every week working in Newport Beach’s Crystal Cove State Park and in Laguna Beach around the Main Beach area. Twenty-five years ago, this area of Laguna Beach was home to Orange County’s largest kelp bed.
All the students participating in the program are taught what they can do to help the kelp in their everyday lives. At the end of the school year, the students will be taken out by boat to the site where “their” kelp was planted. Via underwater communications and video, they will be able to see the kelp forest that they helped to grow. This creates a sense of stewardship for the coastal ecosystem and demonstrates that individuals can do something to affect change.
To find out more about how to support the Orange County Kelp Restoration Project, please call 562-951-1701.