Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project

Marine heat waves caused the pristine kelp forests of Monterey Bay to be overrun by millions of purple and red urchins that devoured the kelp and created urchin barrens where few species can survive.  As the urchins thrived, the iconic giant kelp receded to a fraction of its former range.  A five alarm forest fire is raging below the waves.

The Fish and Game Commission amended sportfishing rules to allow recreational divers to cull urchins with hammers in Monterey at Tanker’s Reef and in Mendocino county at Caspar Cove for 3 years.  The two projects will help the State determine if recreational divers can work in an organized way to suppress urchins and allow giant kelp to naturally return to the urchin barrens.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the California Department of Wildlife, The Ocean Protection Council and Reef Check California partnered with the Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project in establishing scientific monitoring and reporting protocols to determine the project performance.  Reef Check California performed benthic surveys of fish, algae, invertebrates, and substrate to determine the response of the ecosystem to urchin removal.  The Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project created and managed the Monterey recreational diver training and a diver registration and data portal.  It is our priority that diver efforts are safe while reducing urchin densitieson 2.5 acres to less than 2 urchins per square meter.

UPDATE:  First year results:  1.07 urchins/m2

Certified Kelp Restoration Specialist Divers and divers in training are welcome to participate in the grassroots funded diving community project.  Divers can register for the diver training program at G2KR .com.  The training program teaches divers how to cull urchins safely, without damage to other species, and how to report their efforts in a public facing data portal.  Everyone is welcome to share in funding the effort, analyzing the results, and spreading the word of what citizen science divers in Monterey are doing to protect biodiversity and threatened southern sea otters.

Hammers are cheap but there are some larger expenses needed for the project.  To remain independent, the diver effort for the project is not funded by grants.  The project is looking to the diving community to provide the diving and for all ocean lovers to fund the project.  This is the opportunity for the recreational diving community in Monterey and the Bay Area to step up, show up, and help save the kelp.  We are seriously getting it done with a quarter million urchins culled!  There are 356 registered divers and we have a 81% backlog in training.

The G2KR  GoFundMe is for people to support the kelp restoration project and contribute to diver efforts directly.  The project is scalable in size depending on how many divers are trained and certified in the program.  In the first year we purchased buoys, cables, anchor bolts, permits, a web portal, and hammers.  As more funds are received we will use them to defray diver costs for training, fishing licenses, etc.  If anyone needs a tax deduction for a non-profit donation, please contact me for directions.  Thank you for your support,  Keith Rootsaert 

For more information please visit and share our website, G2KR .com and Facebook  page.

Photo by Kate Vylet .
  • Christa Hill 
    • $100 
    • 14 d
  • Eric Breitbard 
    • $100 
    • 20 d
  • Roger Burleigh 
    • $100 
    • 23 d
  • Allie Sherman 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Donald fendler 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
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Keith Rootsaert 
Aromas, CA