Critical kelp conservation measure passes Washington state Legislature

If you've ever been to the beach in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve come in contact with kelp or eelgrass. But did you know that they do a lot more than just cling to your feet? 

If you've ever been to the beach in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve come in contact with kelp or eelgrass. But did you know that they do a lot more than just cling to your feet? 

On March 2, an Environment Washington-backed bill aimed at conserving and restoring 10,000 acres of kelp forests and eelgrass meadows by 2040 passed in the state Legislature. Kelp forests and eelgrass meadows not only provide critical food and habitat for marine wildlife, but they are also imperative to combating climate change, storing 11% of the organic carbon buried in oceans.

"Since the 1970s, kelp and eelgrass in the Puget Sound have rapidly disappeared," said Environment Washington Associate Mandy Apa. "This bill is an ambitious step to conserve these special ecosystems. Let’s not waste it." 

The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk, and we're urging him to sign it into law.

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Photo: Kelp forests and seagrass meadows can sequester up to four times as much carbon by area as land forests. Credit: Andrew b Stowe Via Shutterstock