Kelp Conservation

Kelp is a vital habitat for rockfish and numerous additional species including forage fish, invertebrates, birds and salmon. There are over 20 species of kelp in the Salish Sea, and canopy-forming bull kelp is of particular importance as rearing habitat for ESA-listed Young-of-Year and juvenile rockfish.

Declines of bull kelp have been observed in many areas of Puget Sound. NOAA supports a number of monitoring, research and conservation initiatives to support kelp conservation:

We are partnering with the Northwest Straits Initiative to develop a Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan. Stakeholders, managers, and researchers are working together to form the plan to identify scientific data gaps, research priorities, and restoration and management approaches.

We support the Puget Sound Restoration Fund’s research on bull kelp life-history, and assist their scientific dive-monitoring at several candidate restoration sites in Puget Sound.

We are hosting a National Science Foundation Fellow who is assessing the relationship between watershed development and the loss of bull kelp in Puget Sound.

For more information contact Dan Tonnes at or James Selleck at, or the NW Straits Marine Program Manager, Dana Oster at

For more information, visit our partner websites:

Northwest Straits Initiative

Puget Sound Restoration Fund

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Marine Vegetation Atlas

Yellow bull kelp floating just under the surface of the ocean.