Tuesday September 6, 2022

Oregon Public Broadcasting

An environmental group is seeking Endangered Species Act protections for underwater forests of bull kelp along the West Coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday submitted a petition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to grant endangered status to the long stalks of kelp that are critical to Oregon coastal ecosystems.

“Bull kelp face threats from climate change, sea urchin predation and coastal development,” said Mukta Kelkar, science intern with the Center for Biological Diversity who co-authored the petition. “And so we’re asking that the federal government step in and protect them under the Endangered Species Act.”

Bull kelp create balance in Pacific Coast communities of sea otters, urchins and sunflower sea stars. The towering brown algae also store carbon and support a vast array of marine life like salmon and abalone.

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