IEMA's Digital Journalist Tom Pashby discusses Natural England’s largest ever seagrass restoration project in Plymouth Sound and the Solent with representatives from the organisations involved.

70,000 seed bags have been planted in 3.5 hectares of seabed in Plymouth Sound and the Solent, in a project led by Natural England - a non-departmental public body sponsored by IEMA Corporate Partner the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The seagrass planting initiative is part of a £2.5 million project funded by EU LIFE and led by Natural England, called ReMEDIES (Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts Affecting the Seabed), which is focusing on how sensitive seabed habitats are impacted by recreational activities such as anchoring and mooring. The project aims to reduce recreational pressures on sensitive habitats, restore and protect sensitive habitats, and promote awareness of these habitats and their importance.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:

“Seagrasses are a precious part of our marine ecosystem, providing a habitat for a wide variety of species from juvenile fish to our seahorse populations. They are an essential mechanism for carbon capture and a healthy marine environment.

“Seagrasses are vital but they are also very delicate. With their existence threatened by disease, pollution, and human activity, we must all work together to support the recovery of seagrasses – and harness their power to combat climate change and restore our natural environment.”

Mark Parry, Development Officer at the Ocean Conservation Trust, said: “Seagrass meadows are one of the most valuable and biodiverse habitats on the planet. By restoring seagrass, we are ensuring they will continue to provide vital environmental benefits to both people and the planet.

“We are very proud to be the restoration lead in this project and are grateful for communities in both Plymouth and the Solent volunteering their time to help us restore such an important habitat.”

Kate Fortnam AIEMA, Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, a joint environmental programme by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine, said:

“ReMEDIES presents the boating community with a great opportunity to improve our environmental awareness and to make an important contribution to climate action through seagrass conservation.

“A key focus for us is promoting the adoption of Advanced Mooring Systems by mooring owners. Compared to traditional moorings, advanced mooring systems have minimal impact on seagrass on the seabed. They also tend to have much longer lifespans than traditional systems.”

Following recent seagrass planting, a total of 3.5 hectares of seabed has now been planted, comprising 2.5 hectares in Plymouth Sound and 1 hectare in Solent Maritime. It takes about 10,000 seagrass seed bags per half a hectare, and approximately 70,000 seed bags have been packed by volunteers and deployed into the sea overall.


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