Brian Allen, a PSRF kelp & oyster restoration program director,
lifts a section of kelp line.

Originally Published in 1889 Washington’s Magazine, June/July, 2017 Issue. Reprinted here by permission Photo by Stephen Schreck

Could kelp be the key to battling climate change in our oceans? That’s what the research team at Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF) is betting. In 2015, Paul Allen ponied up $1.5 million to investigate kelp cultivation as a potential strategy for mitigating ocean acidification. Dr. Joth Davis, senior scientist for PSRF, said 25 percent of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere are absorbed into the ocean. “The resulting change in seawater chemistry is known as ocean acidification because it increases the acidity of seawater over time and makes calcium carbonate less available to marine species,” Davis said.

Betsy Peabody, founder of PSRF, culled a team of world-class researchers from the University of Washington, NOAA and the state Department of Natural Resources to study whether kelp could be an ally in combating carbon emissions. “Kelp is very similar to trees on land in the sense that both are drawing CO2 either out of the atmosphere in the case of trees or out of the seawater in the case of kelp,” Peabody said.

Leveraging decades of research supporting the environmental benefits of planting trees, PSRF planted kelp sporophytes in Puget Sound’s Hood Canal. The microscopic kelp plants were attached to kite string and wound onto growlines that were installed at the demonstration site in December 2016. Peabody described the process as flying blind. “You put the seeded line out there and hope that it takes, you hope that those little kelp sporophytes can run the gauntlet of whatever is going on in the marine system,” she said.

The team anxiously waited. They had followed proven methods used around the world for propagating and cultivating sugar kelp, but there was no guarantee because local species are different. Four months later, the microscopic kelp that entered the Puget Sound has grown, in some areas, to 2 meters tall. Eight-thousand feet of line has since been installed at the site within a 2.5-acre area. The scientific assessment team deployed mooring buoys with sensors to collect data on the kelp. “Our scientists will measure chemistry and biology at the site to see if kelp can measurably reduce CO2 and make a difference on a local scale,” Peabody said. Another team of NOAA divers, she said, is conducting underwater surveys to see if the kelp provides habitat for marine life.

This experiment is part of a five-year project. The team will repeat the process in 2018 doing another full-scale year of cultivation and research. In 2019, crews will finalize analysis and reporting.

PSRF isn’t the only team growing and studying kelp. In Maine, kelp farmers are harvesting on an even bigger scale. “There has been some assessment of the water quality benefits there,” Peabody said. Early assessments done by the Island Institute in Maine have shown improvements in pH and carbon chemistry within kelp
cultivation areas.

These early kelp farms offer insight into what the future of kelp cultivation could look like. Peabody said it grows very quickly and can be used in many ways after being harvested. It can be grown as a sea vegetable or used as an alternative to petroleum based fertilizers.

“It’s a pretty extraordinary resource,” Peabody noted. “This is a potential solution that could pay for itself with the sale of various products.”

Acknowledging the current political climate and its potential impact on funding, Peabody said she and her colleagues have to be more aggressive in finding ways to support their research and projects. “I think people are experiencing some anxieties and questions, but regardless of the political situation, we need to be driving forward with solutions that are going to help us hold onto water quality in the future,” she said.

Meet the Modern Farmers:
Jessika Tantisook and Jared Oakes

Originally Published in Modern Farmer By Miranda Crowell in the Fall issue, 2017. Photograph by Anna Mia Davidson. Reprinted here by permission

Starvation Alley, Long Beach, WA — In 2009, when Jessika Tantisook and Jared Oakes began weaning their 10-acre cranberry bog off chemicals, the couple’s efforts were hardly applauded. “People said it couldn’t be done,” she remembers. “I called Rutgers University for advice, and they laughed at me. The culture around the crop was set in stone.”
Even today, less than 1 percent of the cranberries grown in the United States are certified organic. And Tantisook admits that the transition proved incredibly arduous. At one point, the bog’s name, Starvation Alley—a nod to the area’s Depression-era moniker—seemed all too prescient: “Our yield dipped so low that we thought it was over,” the 31-year-old explains.


Last fall, she and Oakes, 37, harvested 80,000 pounds of fruit, still a third less than the bog had yielded using conventional methods, but with much higher margins. Instead of earning 45 cents per pound from Ocean Spray, the organic cranberries, in the form of cold-pressed juice and three tart sauces—sold online, at local farmers markets, and at 29 grocery stores in the Northwest—command the equivalent of $8 per pound. Tantisook and Oakes now share advice and equipment with other transitioning bogs in the region. “I don’t hear as much laughing,” she says. “We’ve totally shifted the paradigm.”



The Port Madison Community Shellfish Farm, operated by Puget Sound Restoration Fund since 2010, is located on the pristine Bloedel Reserve tidelands on Bainbridge Island. As a small, volunteer-supported farm, the PMCSF connects locals to the benefits of a healthy watershed. This is achieved by community members growing, tending, harvesting and eating oysters right from our own beaches.

Oysters are a tasty and festive way to eat healthy — loaded with zinc, calcium, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. More important, growing these bivalves has environmental benefits too, including improved water quality, increased species diversity and eelgrass growth. Feeding on microalgae, a single oyster can filter 20 gallons of seawater a day removing nitrogen and improving clarity and light penetration. Oysters provide benthic stabilization for seagrasses. They create habitat structure for refuge and a place to feed for juvenile fish, crabs and other invertebrates. Growing and harvesting shellfish locally keeps us invested in healthy marine waters.

Join with those building a connection between healthy shorelines and their dinner plates. Participate in our CSA program, volunteer on the farm, support PSRF and slurp local oysters at the Harbour Pub. Be a part of ensuring Puget Sound waters always feed us. Visit for more information.



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est. 1991

est. 1982

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The Harbour Public House opened on December 27th, 1991 as the first non-smoking tavern in the Seattle area.

Ambrose F. Grow

Ambrose Grow and his wife, Amanda, and their family came to Eagle Harbor in 1881. He was a Civil War veteran and came be- cause of the descriptive letters he had read in the New York and Kan- sas papers telling of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. Selling his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, he homesteaded 160 acres here along the waterfront. In addition to be- ing a charter member of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church and the Madrone Schools, he was a pro- lific correspondent to the happen- ings in Eagle Harbor and environs.

Grow Family Homestead

Still stands today as home to Harbour Public House

Parfitt Way Management • 231 Parfitt Way S.W. • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 • Phone: 206- 842- 0969 • Email: click here