Event Title

Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) habitat creation in the Salish Sea.

Session Title

Challenges and opportunities related to habitat enhancement, restoration, and ecosystem productivity in the Salish Sea

Conference Track


Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type


Start Date

2016 12:00 AM

End Date

2016 12:00 AM



Type of Presentation



conference proceedings; presentations (communicative events)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Subjects – Topical (LCSH)

Eelgrass--Habitat--Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Restoration monitoring (Ecology)--Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)


Historical habitat impacts along the coast of the Pacific Northwest have led to a loss of eelgrass habitat and continual development pressures threaten to reduce the amount of remaining eelgrass habitat.

The cascading effects of eelgrass habitat loss on fisheries was recognized and led to the development of methods to restore eelgrass habitat through transplanting. Several methods were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Initial attempts to transplant eelgrass in the Pacific Northwest using these techniques were less than successful.

A transplant method was developed in the mid 1990s in British Columbia that has proven highly successful. The method considers genetic variation between populations of eelgrass, seasonality, and the hydrodynamic regime of transplant area. Additionally, the potential affects of sea level rise and climate change should be considered when selecting new transplant sites.

The method has been used at over 100 sites since 1994. The transplanted areas typically achieve natural density and cover within three years. The first transplant site of 5,400 m2 in 1994, has provided donor stock for several subsequent transplants. The largest project transplanted 2.09 hectares; it also achieved success within three years.

The transplant projects typically involve local community members including; First Nations, Stewardship groups, and/or local citizens. The community members are trained to prepare the eelgrass for transplant and learn about the importance of this species.

The transplant method will be described and the factors that have contributed to successful restoration and compensation discussed. Several case studies will be profiled.


This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.







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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) habitat creation in the Salish Sea.