Why is bull kelp necessary?

Why is bull kelp necessary?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kelp Pickle Recipe

Gabriola Island poet extraordinaire Naomi Wakan forwarded the following recipe for bull kelp pickles. I'm looking forward to trying them. The recipe is from the following website.

Just a slight caution first... only use bull kelp that has washed ashore, never harvest live ones.

Kelp Pickles

Pickling brine for kelp
2  cups white vinegar  
2/3 cup water  
1  cup granulated sugar  
4  tablespoons  pickling spices  

1    long firm fresh bull kelp  
1  large onion, thinly sliced  
1   garlic clove, minced (1 clove per jar)  
1  teaspoon lemon juice (1 tsp. per jar)  

1 Go beach combing locally (hopefully you’re in an area without lots of water pollution, as I wouldn’t use kelp from a polluted area – check with local authorities to find out, first) and find a freshly-beached bull kelp, making sure it’s firm and fresh. Get 1 or 2 glass jars with lids and make sure they’re well washed.
2 Cut off the hollow portion of the kelp (discarding the bulb) and wash it well in fresh water, making sure to remove any/all sand and detritus.
3 Cut it into 1/2-inch rings and rinse in fresh water again, draining it in a colander.
4 Combine the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute, then remove from heat.
5 Place the kelp rings into glass jars and add slices of onion, a minced clove of garlic, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per jar.
6 Add the hot brine to the jar(s) then refrigerate for at least 48 hours before serving.

Article in the Gabriola Sounder: Log booms harming kelp beds, community group says

An article in today's Gabriola Sounder stated:

"Help The Kelp is concerned about the threats log booms pose to sensitive ecosystems such as bull kelp beds.
In mid-July, while using GPS units to map the existing bull kelp beds around Gabriola Island, volunteers noticed bull kelp was sparse in the waters directly across from the Harmac pulp mill whereas nearby, all through False Narrows, kelp canopies were healthy..."
To read more click here.

Article in The Flying Shingle: Kelp helpers discover ‘dead zones’ around log booms

An article in the July 29 2013 edition of The Flying Shingle states:

"Members of Help the Kelp –  a group of Gabriolans that is hoping to re-establish flourishing bull kelp beds off the coast of Gabriola Island – have discovered “dead zones” around and under log booms moored off the southwestern coast of Gabriola..."

To read more click here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Details on mapping protocol and progress to-date

Help the Kelp on Gabriola Island was fortunate to discover that a group of residents on nearby Mayne Island had developed a mapping protocol for canopy forming kelp.

We have adopted and adapted their approach, and in short use the following when mapping:

Water must not be too rough and no large waves (white caps) in area of interest; daylight hours; plus and minus one hour of low tide; ideally tidal height should be less than 1.2 metres (or 3.94’).

We also use the following approach for categorization.

And, use this approach adapted from work on tree canopies for assessing density. A consensus rating across all kelpers in the boat that day is used to avoid issues around inter-coder reliability.

As of July 25 2013 approximately 75% of Gabriola Island has been mapped. We are noticing unusually warm surface temperatures with a range of 18-22 C. This has prompted us to map earlier in the summer than what Mayne Island did due to concerns that bleaching and bull kelp decline is happening early this growing season. Here's a snapshot of our mapping progress. We have much more detailed maps, and this is just an overview.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fun and learning through Help the Kelp makes life fuller

When I joined 'Help The Kelp' I didn't expect such a bounty of experiences
that would feed my own soul. Abundance in so many forms.
Seeing new wonders of rock formations, and sea life from ocean level.
Learning, learning, learning, whether it is boating skills,
different types of marine ecology, or new technology skills.
Meeting new people, making new friends and doing citizen science.
Engaging with the natural world at an intimate level.
I am left blissed out and grateful.

So today I post fun stuff, as yesterdays kelp mapping was filled with it.

Gabriola's South-West cliffs left us filled with awe and wonder.




We also had the most amazing experience, a baby seal (approx. 2 ft long) came and engaged with us. Coming right up to the boat. Michael and I were tickled pink.

Wonderful kelp beds were found in Descanso Bay

And I had my first lesson ..... yee haa!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Log booms mowing down bull kelp canopies

In an effort to understand why an important canopy-forming kind of kelp is in rapid decline around Gabriola Island and elsewhere, Help the Kelp has been mapping with GPS units all bull kelp around the island. Later in the summer and throughout the fall and winter months the team will be "replanting" with various techniques to see if we can densify existing beds.

While mapping around the south-western side of the island last week, team members Liam, Michele and Michael examined the area around many large log booms. You'll see from this map produced that bull kelp is quite healthy through False Narrows but then declines rapidly near the log booms directly across from the Harmac kraft pulp mill.

Of course there are many possible reasons why bull kelp is in decline including warming waters, predation, etc., but one possible explanation is that log booms seem to be mowing down canopies. We noticed while mapping that log booms create zones of death around them. As someone who has scuba dived underneath them at nearby Valdes Island, I can testify that the normally rich ecosystems below have been decimated. This photo is an example of dead kelp around log booms.

You will note that the log booms are filled with bull kelp as well thus indicating that the practice of towing log booms across sensitive ecosystems is far too prevalent. It is time for action!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Well a fabulous couple of days mapping our kelp beds. Approximately half the island done now.

The kelp are reproducing. These lovely lighter lines are the sori patches. The baby factories ...yaay!

We did have a few visitors, here's one that came to check us out.

A wonderful surprise was finding False Narrows with beds having a population density of approx. 45 - 50%.

Another wonderful surprise was seeing bull kelp surviving above the water line at low tide.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Okay was on the beach today, and found a full bull kelp with holdfast. The artist in me just had to do this.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Mapping Project Begins!

Today five volunteers: Ron, Michele, Nancy, Victor and Michael divided themselves into two crews and began mapping Gabriola's kelp beds. Using GPS units to mark the exact locations of the plants, we worked our way from Silva Bay all the way down to Whalebone Beach. We also noted the density of the beds, time and water temperature. We were pleasantly surprised to find more kelp than we'd expected and it seemed quite healthy. Over the next few weeks, we will continue this work until we've circumnavigated the island.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Outboard dolly

Thanks to the generosity of Mark and Wendy Shaw from Gabriola Island, Help the Kelp now owns a solid little dolly for carrying our outboard motor.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Help the Kelp's new research boat "Kelpie"

Help the Kelp on Gabriola Island BC is undertaking a large and complex bull kelp mapping exercise of the entire island. With research funding made available from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, the team has purchased a used inflatable boat and new motor.

Please welcome "Kelpie." She's a 8.5' Zodiac soft-bottomed inflatable boat that was purchased at a subsidized price from Bill Beedie of Gabriola Automotive. Thanks Bill!

The team also purchased a special environmentally-sound 5 HP outboard motor made by Lehr that runs on propane. This motor was provided at a substantially reduced price by West Marine in Nanaimo, and we wish to thank the manager Charlie (right) and store employee (and fellow project member) Douglas.