08 • 02 • 2021

Congressman Huffman Introduces “Keeping Ecosystems Living and Productive (KELP) Act”

By Delia Bense-Kang

Did you know, more than 95% of kelp forests have been lost on the Northern California coast? These important ecosystems provide food and habitat for many species, support sustainable fisheries, and protect coastlines. On a larger scale, kelp plays a role in combating climate change as they are 20 times more efficient than their terrestrial counterparts at sequestering carbon. Unfortunately, their long-term recovery is uncertain.

That is why Congressman Huffman recently introduced The Keeping Ecosystems Living and Productive (KELP) Act. This bill will establish a new NOAA grant program to fund conservation, restoration, and management projects for kelp forest ecosystems. 

“Healthy kelp forests play an important role in marine ecosystems, sustainable fisheries, and coastal communities. But the extensive kelp loss on the North Coast has had serious impacts on our ocean and everyone who depends on it,” said Rep. Huffman in a press release.  “Local communities are working hard to restore these vital ecosystems, and the KELP Act will direct the necessary federal resources to support these important recovery efforts.” 

“Our chapter has been working diligently in partnership with other local agencies to raise awareness about kelp forest loss over the last four years,” says Nicole Paisley Martensen, chairperson of the Surfrider Foundation Mendocino County Chapter. “We see the Kelp Act as a beacon of light that can fulfill profound ecosystem restoration.”

As healthy kelp forests can sequester carbon and are crucial for resilient oceans in the face of the climate crisis, the KELP Act has also been added as an amendment to the Oceans Based Climate Solutions Act. This innovative bill takes a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change through advancing ocean-based solutions. Surfrider is a strong supporter of both the KELP Act and the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act. 

We are asking Congress to join Congressman Huffman to restore kelp forests before we lose them for good.