The PCF team involved in the local stakeholder work have had a chance to help out at the latest Dale Seagrass survey.

The Swansea University team made use of the spring low tide on a beautiful September day to survey the seeds that were planted in February.  The survey team even found some small patches of seagrass on the beach that were already established and so believed to be native to the area.

This restoration project is part of the Sky Ocean Rescue aim to plant one million seeds in the UK’s biggest seagrass restoration project. Sky Ocean Rescue, leading conservation organisation WWF and Swansea University are launching the biggest seagrass restoration project ever undertaken in the UK, to help this important habitat to thrive once again.

Last summer, one million seeds were collected from existing meadows around the British Isles by a group of volunteers led by Swansea University. The seagrass, which is found in shallow, sheltered areas along the coast, was reached by snorkelling, diving and wading. The blades containing the seeds were snapped off – causing no harm to the plant – and then taken to laboratories where they are currently being sorted and prepared, following a method pioneered by Swansea University.

The seeds were put in hessian bags to secure them when planted on the seabed in Dale Bay, Pembrokeshire. Historically this area has lost seagrass, but has the right features for it to survive in terms of water depth and sufficient light levels.

Seagrass is a flowering marine plant that captures carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests, making it a key weapon in the battle against climate change. It often grows in large underwater meadows, which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. It also offers sanctuary to many marine wildlife and provides a nursery for 20% of fish species used by world fisheries. It protects coasts from erosion by absorbing wave energy, produces oxygen and helps clean the sea by absorbing polluting nutrients washed off the land.