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Lower Elwha Tribe planting eelgrass in PA harbor

October 6th, 2017 - 08:00 am

(Port Angeles) --Decades of industrial use of Port Angeles Harbor have taken a toll on marine life habitat.

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are restoring eelgrass beds in the harbor, and according to Matt Beirne, the tribe’s natural resources director, eelgrass is more important than some might think:



The US Navy is constructing a new pier on Ediz Hook, and the shade from that pier would have killed the eelgrass under and around it. The idea was to transplant that grass to other areas in the harbor where grass beds have been degraded:




That “sand cap” he mentioned was part of a previous restoration project that covers large areas of wood waste generated by decades of harbor use:



Beirne says if the ongoing project goes well, expansive new eelgrass meadows will help buffer the effects of ocean acidification, stabilize the shore, and be used by salmon, marine mammals, and birds.


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