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Earlier this month, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife discovered a rare seahorse near an eelgrass restoration site in Upper Newport Bay. That’s pretty much the equivalent of spotting a celebrity at your favorite local coffee shop.

Photo Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

We’re excited about this news because it means our habitat restoration efforts are working.

What’s cool about Pacific Seahorses?

  • This is only the tenth reported sighting of this species north of Baja since the 1800’s, as its typical range is from Baja, California to Peru and the Galapagos.
  • It’s one of the largest species of seahorse in the world and it can grow up to 12 inches.
  • It’s rare. The Pacific Seahorse was classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2012, and its population has been steadily decreasing since the early 2000s. This is happening because of capture and a decline in seagrass beds and coral reefs – habitats the Pacific Seahorse depends on for survival.

The bigger picture: Our restoration efforts are working

The Pacific Seahorse thrives in eelgrass habitats, and that’s exactly what we’ve been working to cultivate in this area. Last summer, we successfully reached our goal of planting over 1,000 square meters of eelgrass in Upper Newport Bay.

With our Eelgrass Restoration Project now in its fifth year, we’re now expanding our efforts to restore Newport Bay with more restoration dates.

We recently launched our Living Shorelines Project to naturally buffer against sea level rise and we partner with the City of Newport Beach to assist dock owners with eelgrass mitigation.

Click here to learn more about Coastkeeper’s eelgrass restorations or volunteer this summer.