Tuesday June 25, 2024

Santa Barbara Independent

The Santa Barbara Channel harbors some of the most brilliant and diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. The towering kelp forests that line our coast and surround the Channel Islands provide habitat for over a thousand different species of marine plants, animals and algae, help soften wave action to reduce the threat of erosion to our coastlines, and store carbon to counteract the impacts of climate change.

As a Santa Barbara resident and frequent local diver of these magnificent ecosystems, I have experienced firsthand the innate beauty and importance of our underwater kelp cathedrals.

However, over the last decade, California has been experiencing an ecological crisis cascading down our coastal oceans that is already disrupting these vital ecosystems close to home. Vast swaths of these sequoias of the sea have been razed, with nothing but miles of barren rock left behind.

What is causing this unparalleled ocean deforestation along our coasts? 

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