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Satellite images show kelp forest off Northern California almost gone

The kelp forest that formed a leafy canopy along the Northern California coast has almost disappeared from Mendocino and Sonoma region.

Posted: Mar 6, 2021 6:52 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2021 7:59 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - An analysis of satellite imagery has found that the kelp forest that only eight years ago formed a leafy canopy along the Northern California coast has almost disappeared.

In looking at satellite images of the Sonoma and Mendocino coast going back to 1985, researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz found the kelp forest declined by an average of 95% since 2013.

Their study shows the destruction was related to an explosion in the population of purple sea urchin, which eats it, and two warm-water events that lasted from 2014 to 2016.

Researchers say they are worried the forest won't recover anytime soon.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press)

CLICK THIS LINK to find out about the State of California Natural Resources Agency Kelp Forest Restoration Project in Mendocino County.

CLICK THIS LINK to find out about the Noyo Center for Marine Science Bull Kelp Recovery Program in Fort Bragg. The floating canopy of the Bull kelp brown algae gives shelter to young fish, and the kelp itself provides food for valuable species, such as red abalone and red sea urchin.

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