Why is bull kelp necessary?

Why is bull kelp necessary?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mapping and Results

Help The Kelp volunteers have just finished mapping the entire island's bull kelp canopy. It was a wonderful experience with a team composed of new and old volunteers, and the results are promising. We now have two consecutive years of whole island mapping on file and most importantly are able to do two things next.

First, to identify areas on the island that could benefit from replanting.

Second, to compare maps from the Summer of 2013 and 2014 on our replanted zone on the north end of the island.

Below is the map for that region from August 3 2013.

And here's the map from July 29 2014. Things are looking quite promising!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Rookie's Perspective - Helping the Kelp

Michael with the tools of the trade...a GPS
and rubber ducky thermometer. 
I'm very fortunate to have had some amazing experiences in my life, and today was no exception. I've recently moved to Gabriola Island, and was looking for ways to contribute to my new community...and Help the Kelp caught my eye. When I saw they were looking for volunteers to go out and map the bull kelp beds, I jumped at the chance, and am I ever glad I did.

Today Michael, Nancy and I mapped a chunk of the north end of Gabriola, which leaves one section to be completed tomorrow. My job was to take GPS waypoints and temperature readings, as Nancy took detailed notes. She noted everything from the temperature of the water, whether we were mapping single kelp, lines of kelp, or full beds, the density of the kelp beds, health of the kelp, and more. Not only that, but she swam out to get our 'sweet ride' and towed it back into shore...Michael figures she's about a half horsepower!

Michael was our able Captain as we navigated shallow waters amongst kelp...of course...avoiding rocks and other hazards on a bit of a rough day. Rough enough to be fun, but rough weather also makes it more difficult to spot the kelp, and more dangerous as we had to get close to shore and over reefs where the kelp beds are found.

Not only did I have a fantastic time today, as pretty much any day on the water is a good day for me, but I learned a ton about kelp, and got to meet some really great people too. As if that wasn't enough, I got to drive the boat...and so did Nancy!

Me driving the boat!
But most importantly, this is citizen science at its best. There was no baseline data on kelp beds around Gabriola Island before this mighty and determined little group of folks came along. And baseline data is critical since HTK not only monitors the kelp around Gabriola, but advocates for its protection from threats (such as climate change, reckless boaters, and log booms), and plants kelp too.

So this is it...what we know about bull kelp around here, and a chance for its recovery, is thanks to a group started by Ken Capon, who sadly passed away in 2012. What an amazing legacy he leaves behind...I only wish I got to meet him.
Nancy got to be Captain too.
We found some 'cut' kelp today, so I thought I would try out the
kelp pickle recipe I found on the blog.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Innovative ‘help the kelp’ program seeds success

An article in the Flying Shingle newspaper states:

Efforts to help regrow the kelp beds off Gabriola’s coast have paid off, according to kelp helper Michael Mehta.

And the technique used to seed new kelp beds is internationally recognised for its innovation, Mehta said in a July 2 interview at his home off Orlebar Point.

Mehta said the reseeding efforts are clearly working, as bull kelp heads are peeking up above the water’s surface “all the way down to Clark Bay” from Orlebar Point.

“We planted in Clark Bay – right in front of Camp Miriam – to the end of Seagirt, and all the way down to just beside the Surf Lodge,” Mehta said. “That’s filling in, and what’s happening is, because the currents run both directions throughout the year, it seems that a lot of the spores have worked their way down and are now filling in the gap between the Surf, and Orlebar Point.”
To read the full article click here.