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City of Fort Bragg on deck for kelpfest

A small crowd on a beach standing around some pop-up tents and folding chairs.
Visitors to an event at Big River Beach on the opening weekend of 2024 kelpfest.

The 2024 kelpfest is in full swing. Anyone visiting the coast between now and the middle of June will be unable to avoid learning about the devastation of the kelp forest, which has been going on for about ten years now.

Sarah McCormick, with the City of Fort Bragg, was on Big River Beach for the Memorial Day kickoff event of the Kelpfest, along with Jamie Miller, the California Sea Grant Coastal Mendocino Extension Fellow. Sea Grant and the Ocean Protection Council also provided funding for an effort by several entities, including Moss Landing Marine Labs, Sonoma State University, and The Nature Conservancy for a pilot project to restore kelp at Portuguese Beach this year.

McCormick and Miller spoke more about the city’s involvement, especially the Noyo Harbor Blue Economy initiative and the four aquaculture sites in the harbor, where

Miller talked about what she’ll be doing in the two years she’s funded to work in Fort Bragg. She arrived in November of last year. Sea Grant will be gathering baseline information about the conditions at Noyo Harbor to plan for the climactic and economic conditions of the future. Technical studies include aquaculture feasibility, sea level rise analysis, assessment of the condition of the harbor, and a parcel inventory, to figure out how to fund potential projects. There is a community meeting about the harbor once a month, at Town Hall in Fort Bragg, on the fourth Saturday from 9:00-11:00 am.

The city has partnered with the Noyo Center for Marine Science on an aquaculture project, for a proof of concept study for one year.

There will be an open house at the urchin ranch at the Noyo Center’s Marine Field Station in Noyo Harbor on June 15 from 11am to 3pm. The next day, Noyo Harbor staff will lead a walking tour of Noyo Harbor from 10 to noon, to talk about the health of the kelp forests, fisheries, and coastal communities.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.