Life Recreation ReMEDIES receives boost from Valeport

06 September 2022

The largest seagrass restoration, education and innovation project in England, LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES, will receive support from environmental sensor manufacturer, Valeport, for the project’s final two years.

Joining forces with the conservation project is a natural fit for the designer and manufacturer of high quality hydrographic and oceanographic instruments, Guy Frankland, Valeport’s head of marketing said: “The precision marine instruments we make are used for many purposes, including environmental monitoring and we’re proud to announce our sponsorship of such a crucial conservation project.  We’re delighted to be on board to support this project until its conclusion in October 2024.  Alongside assisting ReMEDIES’ Save Our Seabed programme with funding, Valeport is looking forward to getting involved in various activities as the partnership grows.”

For a number of years Valeport has been involved in supporting seagrass conservation, previously sponsoring a two-year seagrass protection and restoration project in Tor Bay and more recently Valeport has collaborated on a new, non-invasive method to monitor seagrass biomass on the seabed around England’s South West coast.  The new technique, developed in partnership with Natural England, HydroSurv and the University of Plymouth is set to change the way seagrass meadows are monitored in the future; as the cost-effective platform allows surveys to cover much larger areas and enables rapid re-survey work as required.

Seagrass meadows are increasingly being recognised for their essential carbon capture abilities – seagrass can be as effective at absorbing and storing carbon as woodlands. It also provides a vital nursery bed for juvenile fish and protected creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish, cleans surrounding seawater and helps stabilise the seabed which can help to reduce coastal erosion.

However, seagrass meadows are a globally threatened ecosystem – with estimates suggesting the planet loses an area of seagrass the same size as two football pitches every hour.  At least 44% of the UK’s seagrass has been lost since 1936.  The delicate and endangered seagrass meadows in the UK are vulnerable to factors including wasting disease, pollution and physical disturbance such as anchoring, mooring and launching of leisure boats, as well as other shore- and water-based activities.  In addition to planting new seagrass meadows, ReMEDIES is working to protect existing meadows by helping recreational users to minimise impacts on these sensitive habitats. The project is trialling Advanced Mooring Systems that help reduce impacts from recreational boating on the seabed, producing best practice guidance for boaters, seagrass location maps and conducting seagrass monitoring.

A female spiny seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) shelters is a meadow of common eelgrass (Zostera marina). Photographed in summer (August) in Studland Bay, Dorset, England. British Isles. English Channel.

Commenting on the announcement of Valeport as a sponsor and the extension to the project timeline, ReMEDIES Project Manager, Fiona Crouch said: “We are delighted that Valeport has recognisied the valuable work the partnership is undertaking to restore and conserve our seabed through their sponsorship of the project. It’s going to be a busy two years, we still have much to do, so it’s great to have Valeport supporting our efforts, thank you’.

 

Information and key learnings from ReMEDIES will be shared with other marine conservation projects to help benefit seabed habitats across the UK and Europe.