Blue Meadows focuses on seagrass protection, regeneration and restoration. Our goal is to protect the seagrass meadows we already have, and restore the ones we have lost.
Blue Meadows is a holistic approach to seagrass protection, regeneration and restoration at scale. Over the next 10 years, we are aiming to protect 30% of all UK seagrass meadows and restore 50 hectares of seagrass. We will also work to further build capacity, so that each year we can restore more than 50 hectares of seagrass.
Our Blue Meadows platform will be used as a valuable tool to engage with communities and stakeholders, so we can collaboratively develop a holistic process to restore seagrass at scale, in the southwest and beyond.
Protect 30% of all UK seagrass meadows
Restore 50+ hectares of seagrass annually
Protection, Regeneration & Restoration
Blue Meadows is a holistic approach to seagrass protection, regeneration and restoration at scale. The goal is to protect what we have, and over the longer-term restore what we have lost.
A vital first step in our approach is our protection and regeneration programme.
We identify seagrass meadows where human activity is a major reason for their poor condition or decline. Then, partnering with Harbour Authorities, we define areas for protection and mark them with our Blue Meadows buoys, to clearly define the area to water users.
We also install low impact eco-moorings, which are used as an alternative to boats anchoring, removing a major cause of seagrass damage. Working with local stakeholders and communities we aim to create a platform to engage with the marine environment, raising awareness of the importance of seagrass and what we can do together to look after it.
Protection is just the first step. By marking seagrass meadows with marker buoys, we are showing where they are located, so human disturbance to them can be minimised. This will allow the seagrass meadows to recover and naturally regenerate.
The impact of our protection and regeneration programme must be measured and evaluated. Each Blue Meadows site will be monitored over a minimum of 3 years, by our very own dive team made up of professional biologists, and our scientific partners. We will measure the impact and benefits of our work by reviewing the condition of the meadow and monitoring the biodiversity found. Find out more about our monitoring work below.
Whilst protecting and allowing existing meadows to regenerate, we are also working on refining a holistic process to enable large-scale seagrass restoration. To do this we have constructed a 400 square metre purpose-built facility for plant aquaculture. It’s the largest seagrass nursery site in England, where we are researching different restoration techniques! Scaled restoration of seagrass meadows is hampered by multiple factors, including lack of seeds, poor germination rates, plants only flowering once a year and the high cost of seed collection. Our research and development programme aims to tackle these problems and enable large scale restoration of this important habitat.
Protecting our seagrass meadows is just the first step and allows seagrass to recover and regenerate. To ensure our work is impactful, each of our Blue Meadows sites are monitored over a minimum of 3 years by our very own dive team made up of professional biologists, scientific partners and communities. We measure:
The condition of the meadow
We monitor the impact and benefits of our work by reviewing the protection and regeneration progress through measuring meadow health and growth.
We aim to establish key species present in the meadows and the development of that biodiversity over time.
Carbon cores are taken at each of our Blue Meadows sites to provide estimates of stored carbon and support research into sequestration rates.
Management & Policy
Seagrass meadows around the UK are protected features of Marine Protected Areas; this designation exists to reverse degrading habitats and aims to allow these fragile habitats to recover. This level of protection is still not sufficient in many areas.
Blue Meadows is working with local management authorities to provide solutions to declining MPA’s. The Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 aims to improve our marine environment, with 70% of designated features in the Marine Protected Area network to be in favourable condition by 2042, with the remainder in recovering condition.
The Blue Meadows Protection and Restoration objectives directly supports this policy. The policy sits at the heart of the Environment Act and is a legally binding target. Together the targets will drive forward action to tackle climate change, restore our natural capital and protect our much-loved landscapes and green & blue spaces.
About us and our team
Blue Meadows is an initiative run by the Ocean Conservation Trust; a charity which centres its work around people and positive action to protect and restore the Ocean.
Help us create Blue Meadows
If you’d like to find out more about our seagrass protection, regeneration and restoration work, then we would love to hear from you.