BC-WA Kelp Node

BC-WA Kelp Node

Building on other international initiatives, a cross-boundary (US – Canada) network of kelp practitioners (First Nations stewards, researchers, managers, policy makers, educators, and citizen scientists) is emerging in the Pacific Northwest. Our network aims to: 

  1. advance kelp conservation, management, and recovery in the transboundary waters of British Columbia (Canada) and Washington (USA) through implementing and expanding collective actions for kelp; and 
  2. serve as a forum for communicating about and organizing relevant research activities. Working groups are structured as clusters of actions that will form a basis for knowledge exchange, data collation, and novel research.

Kelps are integral components of nearshore benthic communities in temperate regions, providing complex biogenic habitat, resources that support biodiversity, and ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling. The health and distribution of kelps are threatened by anthropogenic (e.g., pollution), environmental (e.g., temperature), and biological (e.g., overgrazing by sea urchins) stressors across their range, and variation in the intensity of and interactions among these factors can result in a wide array of ecological impacts. 

Understanding, protecting and restoring kelp ecosystems requires collaboration and a common framework. Our emerging network will aim to build a roadmap for expanding kelp ecosystem planning and conservation in the Pacific Northwest, starting with the establishment of working groups that are organized to address specific actions linking data standards, methodologies and participative science to policy and management for kelp ecosystems. 

Kelp Node Transboundary Working Groups (WGs)

Working group meetings will be twice monthly, cycling between the following working group topics. Each working group will be led by joint representatives from the USA and Canada (wherever possible) to foster the crossboundary network. Specific deliverables will be chosen collectively by WG participants to address the actions described below (based on the Puget Sound Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan)

Communications between the working groups will be fostered through report-outs by WGs and discussions amongst WG leadership. Further, cross-cutting topics (data integration to start, reporting and planning to come) will bridge WGs. Future network-wide meetings will focus on big picture syntheses and outputs that span WGs.