Spring Cleaning (Clearing) in the Palos Verdes Kelp Forests

Urchin fisherman getting ready to clear urchin barrens and restore kelp forests at White Point, Palos Verdes, California.

Spring is in the air – the ocean too. As large winter surf fades and the water begins to warm, giant kelp forests wake up and get ready for peak growing season.

Spring is also the perfect time to for kelp restoration, with our two SeaTrees kelp restoration projects in the water and focused on core operations. Last week, our project partner, The Bay Foundation, visited White Point to kick off the new season of kelp restoration.  

Results from Palos Verdes Kelp Restoration 2020

The kelp forest restoration in 2020 occurred during Fall 2020. We set up a transect through the 50,000 sq-ft patch, which can be filmed with video as the kelp regrows.

The video shows that algae is returning and kelp is primed to grow. Life is returning too. With a horn shark making an appearance and lots of other fish.

This area was clean rock and urchins before restoration. See this transect swam in July 2020, before the urchin barrens were cleared.

Stay tuned for more of these video transects as the kelp grows this Spring and Summer.

 Palos Verdes Kelp Restoration Setup for 2021

The Bay Foundation are now back in the water prepping the restoration of another 150,000 sq-ft of kelp forest at White Point during the spring and summer of 2021 – enough to clear all remaining urchin barrens at White Point. Check out the interactive map on this page to get orientated with the project area.

Rilee and Ben mapping their dive to clear sea urchin barrens and map the SeaTrees kelp restoration project

Riley and Ben map out the dive plan for the day, including the urchin barrens to be cleared.  

The urchin barrens are in full force:

Purple sea urchin barrens are in full force, and need to be cleared at the SeaTrees kelp restoration project.

Urchin barrens are cleared in blocks of 300 sq-meters. Which can be done in one day.

Terry hard at work setting up the block to be cleared with his rock hammer
Terry hard at work setting up the block to be cleared with his rock hammer.

The tools for clearing urchin barrens: A standard-issue geological rock hammer and electrical extension cords. The cords are heavy enough to not get moved around by swells, and brightly colored for visibility to mark the areas to be cleared of urchin barrens.  The rock hammer is perfectly shaped to get urchins hiding in cracks and crevices. 

Tools needed for clearing sea urchin barrens. A rock hammer and heavy and highly visible electric cords.