New project to restore seagrass and tackle climate change launches

Today Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust launched an exciting new partnership with Boskalis Westminster Ltd to undertake a seagrass restoration project within the Solent, starting with an important research and development phase.

The Solent Seagrass Restoration Project, which will be led by the Trust’s Senior Marine Biologist Dr Tim Ferrero, aims to identify the best methodology for restoring this hugely important marine species within the Solent, whilst also monitoring the habitat as a provider of carbon sequestration.

Seagrass is an amazing native marine plant that provides an impressive number of environmental services – creating a vital habitat for wildlife, supporting fisheries, protecting our shores from erosion, and storing carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. Sadly, this natural wonder has suffered significant declines over the past century.

Dr Fererro said “By regenerating seagrass habitats, we will create a Wilder Solent, supporting increased biodiversity and sustainable fisheries, promoting greater ecosystem services, cleaner water and creating a natural blue carbon solution to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Boskalis Westminster brings global insights, innovation and expertise to our partnership that will be fundamental to its success. They also share knowledge gained from working with other global conservation organisations such as Wetlands International, along with their own in-house experts in marine and environmental engineering.”

In October 2019, the Trust launched its Wilder 2030 strategy, which calls for a wilder future and 30% of land and sea restored for nature’s recovery by 2030.  The Solent Seagrass Restoration Project is a vital piece of the puzzle in working towards the Trust’s vision and in partnership with Boskalis Westminster, the Trust aims to restore seagrass habitats in the Solent to their historical levels and in all locations that could support it.

This project contributes to the Boskalis ambition to further develop nature-based infrastructure solutions to protect and enhance coastal ecosystems. In addition to beginning work on the research and development phase of the project, the Trust will also be working to increase awareness of seagrass and its vital role in tackling the climate and ecological emergencies.

To find out more about the Solent Seagrass Restoration Project visit: www.hiwwt.org.uk/seagrass-restoration

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