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California’s Disappearing Kelp Forests: What Scientists and Divers can do to Reverse this Trend

Abalone attached to top of kelp stalk underwater.
The view of northern California’s beautiful coastline has historically been pristine and breathtaking. With dense kelp forest canopies blanketing the surface of the nearshore areas and protecting the abundant rockfishes, red abalone, sea stars and red urchins that lived below, it was a healthy, natural ecosystem rich with thriving inhabitants. Unfortunately, the ocean is now changing, and this idyllic scene is no more.

CDFW Kelp Survey

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Beneath the waters off the California coast are vast forests that are home to an astounding variety of plants and animals. Their sunlit canopies can soar 150 feet from the ocean’s floor. But instead of trees, these forests are made of kelp.