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£1 million boost for seagrass meadow restoration project off Welsh coast

14 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Volunteer divers gathering seagrass – eelgrass off Porthdinllaen coast. Photo WWF

A project to improve seawater quality and encourage marine life to flourish and combat global warming is getting a £1 million National Lottery grant.

Seagrass Ocean Rescue will plant five million seagrass seeds in 10 hectares of sea off Pwllheli, Abersoch and Anglesey – the size of 18 football pitches.

Part funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Seagrass Ocean Rescue is managed by WWF in partnership with Project Seagrass, Swansea University, North Wales Wildlife Trust and Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC.

The project is working with local communities to design and deliver the seagrass restoration project.

Climate change

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “The need to tackle and reverse the effects of climate change has never been greater and funding important nature projects such as this is a key priority for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.

“This important seagrass restoration project in north Wales will help revitalise and restore seagrass meadows and train local residents in marine conservation skills so that they can get actively involved in combatting global warming.”

Seagrass meadows improve water quality by filtering pollution and provide spawning, nursery and feeding grounds for marine species, including fish.

Seagrass also helps provide coastal protection by trapping sediment to the seabed, holding it fast by its thick network of roots

It is also highly efficient at trapping carbon yet the UK has lost up to 92 per cent of its seagrass habitats over the last 100 years.

And according to research, there remains only an estimated 45.8km2 of seagrass habitat along the entire Welsh coast and most of it is in a “perilous state”.

Wonder plant

Ricardo Zanre, Ocean Restoration Programme Manager at WWF said: “Seagrass is a wonder plant which provides incredible benefits for people, nature and climate.

Sadly, it has all but disappeared from Welsh waters, so we are delighted to receive this funding which will help us restore vital seagrass meadow to the north Wales coastline.

“Seagrass supports a variety of marine species from seals to anemones, provides nursery ground for the fish we eat, and absorbs carbon to help tackle global warming.

“By restoring seagrass, we are building a powerful ally that will help us adapt to and mitigate against climate change and reverse the loss of nature.”

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