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Eelgrass Restoration

Eelgrass is Vital to the San Juan Island Marine Ecosystem


Eelgrass plays a vital role in coastal ecosystems like Puget Sound, acting as a significant nitrogen sink and supporting the overall health of estuarine environments. It enhances the biodiversity of the sea ecosystem and is known for its efficiency in long-term carbon sequestration.

Restoring eelgrass supports commercial fishing. Eelgrass meadows are habitats for commercially valued species such as salmon, herring, and Dungeness crab.

Eelgrass beds improve local marine recreation. Aside from supporting recreational fishing, eelgrass beds keep our beaches and rocky shorelines usable. Eelgrass improves water quality, supports the diversity of marine organisms, and helps retain shoreline structure, thereby improving recreational activities from SCUBA diving to walks on the beach.

Eelgrass faces global threats such as nutrient runoff, contaminants, and climate change-induced sea-level changes. Locally, human activities like construction and vessel activity disrupt eelgrass beds.

Eelgrass faces specific local threats in the San Juan Islands. These threats range from water quality issues, historical activities such as logging, overwater structures and shoreline armoring.

Eelgrass is vital to marine health as we observe eelgrass decline locally, coastally, and globally. We must make efforts to restore eelgrass to historic locations. Eelgrass meadows are a key habitat that supports the health of the marine ecosystem from the local to the global level.






Eelgrass Restoration Efforts in the San Juan Islands


Eelgrass restoration across the U.S. West Coast symbolizes environmental progress and collaboration. Comprehensive efforts among practitioners, managers, and academics contribute to the success of eelgrass restoration. In Puget Sound, organizations are working together to restore eelgrass, ensuring a vibrant ecosystem for generations.


Restoration techniques have been successfully developed and implemented, we have developed and successfully implemented techniques for harvesting new seeds, storing developing seeds, planting theses seeds in our local waters, and monitoring our restorations sites.

Monitoring and research guide our restoration efforts. Detailed studies on eelgrass growth and environmental factors allow informed decisions and optimization of strategies. 

Community engagement is central to our mission. Through educational programs and public awareness campaigns, we foster strong community involvement. 

Collaboration with partners amplifies our impact. Working with partners like Washington's DNR and the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs achieves our common goal. 

We are expanding restoration efforts and exploring new techniques. We are expanding our cultivation system at Friday Harbor Laboratories and improving our direct seeding techniques. We are aiming to contribute to the Puget Sound-wide mission for eelgrass restoration, focusing on seed cultivation and planting. Ongoing research and collaboration with experts will continue to guide our path.

We are making a lasting impact on our marine ecosystem health, preserving its natural beauty for future generations.




How can I contribute?

Thank you for your interest in helping us restore our marine environment. Please contact Mitch McCloskey at if you would like to contribute to eelgrass restoration.


Donate Currently the eelgrass restoration project receives state and federal funding for our efforts. Finical contributions can help take this funding further, allowing more eelgrass to be planted, and ultimately contribute to the health of our local marine environment. 


Volunteer We will sometimes be seeking volunteers to help in our restoration efforts.

Give input We are always looking for ways to improve our project and engage the community. Reach out if you have any questions, insights, or opinions on the eelgrass restoration efforts here in the San Jaun Islands. 

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To learn more about our eelgrass restoration project, contact Mitch McCloskey at

More Information

Forest Plan Fact Sheet
Click here!

What is Technical Assistance?  Click here!

What are the ten ways SJICD can help you?  Click here!

Recommended Reading



Forest Health

Wildfire Resilience

Forest Thinning

Forest Health

Wildfire Resilience

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement PC-01J22301 through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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