Scene in Edmonds: Welcome to the kelp forest

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The north end of Edmonds’ Underwater Dive Park is the site of large kelp forest made of bull kelp, an annual kelp species that grows to full size in a single season, noted park enthusiast Matt McCallum, who submitted these photos.

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“The kelp growth this year is perhaps the fastest and densest I have seen in recent years,” he said, adding that non-divers may notice the kelp fronds on the surface if they look west while walking on Sunset Avenue.

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“These photos show the habitat as it is underwater,” he said. “During the winter this area is nothing but sand and scattered rock. The kelp begins to grow during spring and seemingly grows at least a foot or more a week. Several species of fish make there way toward shore to live amongst the kelp and eelgrass, such as herring, tubesnouts, rockfish, perch, lingcod, and cabezon. Young salmon are also seen feeding on the young fish. The kelp can only attach to a hard substrate such as small rocks and boulders.”

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Over the past several years, Underwater Park volunteers have focused on the kelp forest and encouraged the kelp to grow further south, McCallum said. They have extended the area by introducing more substrate with the addition of natural rock boulders, creating a 1,000-foot rock “wall” and several rock cairns, each containing several tons of boulders to encourage kelp growth and fish habitat.

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“Most of these photos are of kelp that is growing on human placed substrate,” he said.

McCallum noted that last Saturday, July 11, volunteer Bruce Higgins celebrated his 37th year coordinating volunteer efforts at the Underwater Park. “If you see him parked in the volunteer parking spot at Brackett’s Landing on a Saturday or Sunday, please say hi.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing photos of a part of Edmonds that is a very popular tourist attraction – but something that most of our citizens don’t see because they are not scuba divers! Think our non-diving citizens would be shocked at the world that is just off our shores. Nicely done!

  2. What wonderful pictures! It’s interesting to know more about what the underwater park looks like to the non-diver and the different fish that inhabit the area. Edmonds certainly is fortunate to have so much natural habitats to enjoy!

  3. I keep thinking about these wonderful photos that show a part of Edmonds most of us do not get to see. I hope we get more photos of our dive park and all that is there. Thank you to all who keep the park enriched and wonderful.

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