Yellow bull kelp in green water

Bull kelp forests

Project Metric

167Acres of Bull Kelp Beds Monitored See Our Impact
bull kelp photo of linda rhodes in canoe

Bull Kelp forests serve as an essential habitat and feeding source to a wide variety of species in the marine environment, providing critical support throughout the marine food web. Prompted by documented declines of Bull Kelp in South Puget Sound, the Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) initiated boat-based Bull Kelp surveys in 2015 in coordination with the Northwest Straits Initiative and other MRCs.

bull kelp photo of four people in canoes

Sound Water Stewards work with MRC to monitor several key Bull Kelp beds off Whidbey and Camano shores. We monitor from kayaks, track each bed’s size using GPS units, and record our observations of the condition of the kelp and sea-life that is present. In addition, from points along the edge and the center of each bed, we take readings for depth and salinity and record temperature using handheld thermometers and temperature loggers.

bull kelp photo of volunteer in canoe

We track each kelp bed perimeter and document conditions monthly during the summer months at five sites around Island County: Polnell Point, Ebey’s Landing, Possession Point, Lowell Point, and Hoypus Point.

Possession Point

Using a protocol developed by the Northwest Straits Commission and administered by the Island County Marine Resources Committee, monthly (June-September) surveys tracking bed size, density, water depth, and temperature are conducted from kayaks. Data and observations from these surveys are shared with various government and scientific agencies to help in understanding the health of Bull Kelp populations and the role of Bull Kelp in the Puget Sound ecosystem.

Metric: 8

Stewards team up to measure and monitor Bull Kelp at this site.

Lowell Point

Using a protocol developed by the Northwest Straits Commission and administered by the Island County Marine Resources Committee, monthly (June-September) surveys tracking bed size, density, water depth and temperature are conducted from kayaks. Data and observations from these surveys are shared with various government and scientific agencies to help in understanding the health of Bull Kelp populations and the role of Bull Kelp in the Puget Sound ecosystem.

Metric: 4

Seasons of Bull Kelp monitoring at this site.

Kelp Plan, NW Straits

KELP PLAN Status Update, Oct 2023