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Netherlands

Griend Island

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Conservation benefit: Seagrass restoration with new seed-planting technique

Date Approved: 08.2022

The Wadden Sea, off the northwestern coasts of the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark, is an ecologically significant part of the North Sea. Its shallow waters contain tidal flats and wetlands that support a large number of plant and animal species. It’s a particularly important area for birds, including the ducks, geese, and other birds that stop here during migration. Seals and porpoises are also found here.

Seagrass, the only flowering plant that grows submerged in the oceans, is the foundation of the marine ecosystem here. Migrating birds feed on seagrass; countless invertebrates live on or around the plants; and juvenile fish hide from predators in the dense seagrass meadows. Seagrass also has effects far beyond the local. Seagrass meadows act as huge carbon traps, keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and helping to slow rapid climate change.

But after centuries of intensive human activity, the seagrass meadows in the Wadden Sea have been severely degraded. To help restore disturbed areas of seagrass, our project partner in the Netherlands has developed a simple and promising technique for planting seagrass seeds. A Seacology grant is supporting the deployment of this technique around Griend Island. 

Our Netherlands partners have worked closely with biologists at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, in Washington in the United States. Seacology is supporting the FHL efforts to restore seagrass in Westcott Bay, which is part of Puget Sound. By sharing advice and results, they hope to further the use of innovative new methods to restore these imperiled ecosystems.

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