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51 Sherbrooke W., Montreal, QC. Canada, H5Z 4T9.

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Funding Area: Environment

The Greater Farallones Association (GFA) is the non-profit partner of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Its mission is to ensure the Sanctuary remains an ecologically diverse and globally significant ocean environment. GFA’s vision is to sustain a healthy and resilient ocean through education, science, and community involvement for the benefit of present and future generations. Its work helps to protect the wildlife and habitats of the Sanctuary through the development of a diverse community of informed and active ocean stewards.

Our involvement: The Marty Tomberg Charitable Fund has financially supported this organization.


Projects We Support


Kelp Recovery and Management Project – Phase 1
Bull kelp forms dense underwater forests that many marine organisms depend on for shelter and food along the northern California coastline. Since 2012, bull kelp forests in this region have been almost completely decimated due to a combination of unusual climate and ocean conditions, leaving the near shore ecosystem in crisis. The Kelp Recovery project will work to identify the management, restoration, and research needed to facilitate recovery and increase climate resilience of bull kelp forests and the associated nearshore fisheries that rely on them. Through collaboration with scientific agencies, management bodies, universities, tribal nations, and fishing communities, this project will produce actionable outcomes and key recommendations for the recovery of this critically important nearshore marine ecosystem.

Support Dates: April, 2018 – March, 2019 

Kelp Recovery and Management Project – Phase 2
In Phase 2, the establishment of the Kelp Recovery Program, GFA will work closely with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) to implement the recommendations of the Kelp Recovery Working Group (Working Group). The recommendations include citizen science coordination, addressing data gaps and monitoring efforts, conducting targeted restoration efforts and engaging coastal communities and tribal nations with effective messaging and citizen science opportunities. These recommendations are currently being incorporated into a comprehensive Bull Kelp Recovery Plan which will outline specific pathways and strategies for implementation.

Support Dates: March, 2019 – March, 2020 

Kelp Recovery Program – Phase 3
Following the Kelp Recovery Plan, the Kelp Recovery Network, a partnership of over 30 individuals and representatives from nonprofits, businesses, research institutions and coastal communities, intends to restore kelp forests along the coastlines of Sonoma and Mendocino counties over the next three years. GFA is responsible for three critical aspects of this effort: a) coordination of the Network, b) aerial monitoring, and c) an effective long-term citizen science program.

Collaboration and coordination with a multitude of partners is critical to the success of restoration, research, and monitoring efforts associated with kelp recovery. To effectively implement the Recovery Plan, stakeholder actions will be coordinated, interventions will be monitored to ensure unintended consequences are avoided and successful action is documented, and accurate information will be communicated to all interested parties.

Our project seeks to assess new technologies to determine the most cost effective and efficient protocols, methods, and techniques to assess kelp forest loss and recovery along the U.S. West Coast, including: plane- based aerial imagery, several satellite platforms, and UAV surveys. Plane-based surveys and procurement of satellite imagery are being funded by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Ocean Protection Council, who are both close partners in the implementation of this project. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) historically used plane-based surveys to produce spatial maps with aerial photography, but this was discontinued because of its cost-prohibitive nature, and will most likely not be a viable long-term monitoring solution. Opportunities for satellite imagery via Landsat, Planet Labs RapidEye and Sentinel-2 are being investigated by our partners at the Universities of Los Angeles and Santa Cruz to map large-scale changes in kelp forest canopy. However, satellite imagery is ineffective in cloudy conditions, and its low resolution will likely not be able to capture finer-scale dynamics critical to kelp forest recovery assessment, especially for bull kelp- dominant ecosystems.

Support Dates: March, 2020 – March, 2021

Advancing Blue Carbon Understanding and Management in Marine Protected Areas

The Greater Farallones Climate Team is conducting a preliminary assessment of blue carbon in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, with the goal of assessing how much carbon is sequestered through natural processes in seagrass, salt marshes, and other Sanctuary habitats and organisms. This information will inform important resource protection and conservation decisions for the Sanctuary.

Led by the Greater Farallones Association (GFA), in partnership with the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), this pilot project will be the first assessment of multiple blue carbon sequestration habitats and processes in a federal marine protected area, with the primary purpose of informing one of the nation’s largest MPAs in its management decision-making. The project will also serve as a case study for temperate MPAs around the world by sharing methodology, lessons learned, and recommendations to advance the fields of blue carbon science and management. As follows, Phase 1 of the two-part project includes assessment, product development, and outreach and engagement.

Support Dates: March, 2021 – Ongoing


Organization and Project Photos

Kelp Recovery Project Photos

Photo 1-Photo Credit Matt McIntosh ONMS

Photo 1-Photo Credit Matt McIntosh ONMS

Photo 2-Photo Credit Chad King NOAA MBNMS-Bull Kelp-Pebble Beach Fire Rock

Photo 2-Photo Credit Chad King NOAA MBNMS-Bull Kelp-Pebble Beach Fire Rock

Photo 3-Photo Credit-Andrew Weltz-Urchin scrawling-kelp loss

Photo 3-Photo Credit-Andrew Weltz-Urchin scrawling-kelp loss

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