Marine plants are becoming recognized as valuable allies in the fight to keep our marine environment clean and healthy. They can act as phytoaccumulators by concentrating heavy metals, PAHs (Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons), PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenols), and other toxins and pollutants from the water (1). Rhizome systems of eelgrass have been found to remove some of these substances from sediments and degrade them into less harmful compounds(2.).
Our role in phytoremediation is to annually provide contaminated sites with healthy plants for outplanting, monitoring their growth and uptake of contaminants to determine the appropriate method of disposal or use. While some of the plants have the ability to degrade various toxins it may be more appropriate to treat some as toxic waste and remove them from the marine environment. In all cases the addition of of our cultivated plants will help mitigate the effects of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Salish Sea from anthropogenic sources and create opportunities for clean, sustainable products and jobs.