MARCH 28, 2022
The idea of ocean-based climate solutions is appealing, but the challenges are formidable.
Marine Technicians Margot Buchbinder and Luis Hernandez unlock a chain-link gate at Point Molate, a natural headland on San Francisco Bay, and drive to the water’s edge along a degraded road, part of what was once a World War II Navy fuel depot. From here, they climb down concrete blocks and boulders in the fading light of dusk.
Wearing full wetsuits and booties, they shuffle through the mud and shallow water of low tide; the shuffling helps warn bat rays to get out of their way. Using a marine GPS finder, they quickly locate and retrieve a couple of remote sensors about the size of nine-volt batteries that measure the water’s temperature and salinity around local eelgrass beds. Slogging back toward shore, they are backlit by the lights of an oil tanker docked at the local Chevron refinery’s “Long Wharf.”
The author in a kelp forest.
The pair’s work is part of research being conducted by San Francisco State University’s Katharyn Boyer on the ecology and restoration of coastal habitats, including San Francisco Bay’s approximately 3,000 acres of eelgrass. Eelgrass, a species of seagrass, along with kelp, coastal salt marshes, mangroves, and other marine plants and animals (including whales) have long been acknowledged as essential for ocean health. They are now also being recognized as “Blue Carbon” sinks—sequesterers of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere generated from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources.
Read more of the Progressive article by David Helvarg here.