Oceans

Pacific West Coast Kelp Forests Vanishing

Veteran diver Steve Lackey, an instructor at Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop in Fort Bragg, said, “I try not to be an alarmist, but it is pretty unprecedented, in my opinion.”

This time of year, he’s accustomed to seeing small sprouts of kelp begin to appear on the ocean floor, a harbinger of the spring and summer growing season. This year, there are none, he said.

“I don’t remember quite this clean, this kind of scoured rock, with hungry invertebrates,” he said.

Balloons that Fall to Earth and Sea

Of the 40 balloons Russ reported, 31 were made of Mylar. This is discouraging, as despite their one-time use, Mylar balloons take a long time to degrade. These balloons were more likely than other balloon types to be found individually and still partially inflated. Rubber balloons, another prevalent balloon type, were more likely to be found deflated or shredded, and often tied together in groups. Many of the reported balloons also had a plastic string attached, creating yet another hazard for marine life.

Global CO2 Emissions Impacting Pacific West Coast

“Communities around the country are increasingly vulnerable to ocean acidification and long-term environmental changes,” said Richard Spinrad, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and former OSU vice president for research. “It is crucial that we comprehend how ocean chemistry is changing in different places…”