LIFE ReMEDIES marine conservation partnership began England’s largest seagrass planting programme in April 2021. Around 16,000 seagrass seed bags and 2,200 seedling bags were deployed across almost a hectare of seabed in Plymouth Sound. The partnership is now looking to conduct similar planting work here in the Solent. A series of dives took place in June to assess the health of Solent seagrass beds and the density of flowering shoots. This data will be used to support the baseline echosounder and drop down video surveys conducted last autumn. Seed collection dives will follow in late summer, with seeds being cared for at the bespoke ReMEDIES cultivation facility in the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth before planting takes place during winter 2021/22. The ambition is to plant a total of four hectares in the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation, although the exact location of the planting site is still to be determined. ReMEDIES is working with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, World Wildlife Fund, Isle of Wight Estuaries Officer and Project Seagrass to ensure seagrass restoration efforts in the Solent are coordinated.
ReMEDIES is working to protect existing seagrass habitat by reducing pressures from recreational activities such as boating. Through its partners the Royal Yachting Association and their environmental programme with British Marine, The Green Blue, the project team are working with recreational boaters to highlight the importance of sensitive seabed habitats and advise how their boating methods, particularly anchoring and mooring, can play a role in protecting them. Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) were installed at Yarmouth last winter, designed to have less impact on the seabed. There are plans for more to be installed in Yarmouth this year and Cowes Harbour Commissioners are currently looking at suitable AMS locations within their jurisdiction.
In December 2021, Natural England published a report that shares findings on understanding the behaviours of recreational boaters in selected sites on the south coast of England. This evidence is intended to inform the project's approaches to working with local communities, including recreational boaters, to restore the sensitive seabed habitats at these sites and reduce recreational impacts on them.
Find the latest news and updates on this restoration work on the ReMEDIES website at: Restoration - Save Our Seabed. ReMEDIES is funded by the EU LIFE programme and led by Natural England in partnership with The Royal Yachting Assocation, Marine Conservation Society, Ocean Conservation Trust and Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.