Honda backs 5 living-shoreline projects ranging from coastal Caliornia dunes to kelp farms

The Nature Conservancy’s Kelp Initiative aims to establish the first-of-its-kind regenerative ocean farm on the North Coast of California. (Honda)

Honda and its Marine Science Foundation announced June 4 that it will support five U.S. research groups in their missions to preserve coastal areas threatened by climate change. The research projects, including an association with San Diego-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography, strive to promote harmonious interaction between humans and the ocean.

The Honda Marine Science Foundation annually awards up to $400,000 in grant funds to conservation organizations. The recipients for 2020 are California Sea Grant, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, Orange County Coastkeeper and the Nature Conservancy.

Living shorelines also improve water quality, provide habitat for marine species and help to protect against erosion, Honda Marine Science Foundation board member Raminta Jautokas said in a statement.

“Our 2020 grant recipients are pioneering coastal preservation techniques that are showing great promise in efforts to restore our most vulnerable marine habitats,” said Jautokas.

About the grant recipients

Dune restoration guidebook for Pillar Point living shoreline: California Sea Grant is launching a project to help communities in the state implement dune restoration to increase coastal resilience. Led by Sea Grant extension specialists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the project will develop a best-practice guidebook for monitoring and maintenance of the upcoming Pillar Point West Trail Living Shoreline Project in San Mateo County. Many of the coastal dunes along California shorelines have been degraded by development and beach modifications. By restoring or enhancing these dune systems, coastal communities can reestablish natural habitat and increase protection from storm erosion and flooding — likely to be intensified with climate change.

Wanchese Village living shorelines demonstration lab: The Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park is a 53-acre hub of commercial activity for the community. To limit erosion and support the marsh complex, North Carolina Coastal Federation will build a series of five living shoreline sills — low-profile barriers made from stone or shells — to provide shoreline stabilization and protection opportunities. The 500-foot-long project is designed to combat erosion, improve water quality and provide a living laboratory experience for visitors.

Enhancement of coastal habitat at Año Nuevo Island: Año Nuevo Island near Monterey Bay, Calif., once home to an 1800s-era lighthouse station, is now habitat for an astonishing diversity of wildlife and is a critical breeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals. To protect the island’s habitat and biodiversity, Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge will apply natural approaches to stabilize the soil, promote native plant cover, and provide safe ceramic homes for nesting seabirds.

Regional living shoreline strategies: To address the loss of nearshore wetland habitats along the California coast and explore the best restoration methods, Orange County Coastkeeper is restoring eelgrass and native Olympia oyster beds in a unique living shoreline design in Newport Beach, Calif. Utilizing ecological data and costs-to-date information, the coastkeeper and partners will determine how restoration can scale up from research projects within a bay to regional-scale restoration projects in Southern California.

The Orange County Coastkeeper is restoring eelgrass and native Olympia oyster beds in what it calls a unique living shoreline design in Newport Beach, Calif. (Honda)

Regenerative kelp farms: The Kelp Initiative by the Nature Conservancy works to establish the first-of-its-kind regenerative ocean farm along the northern coast of California. Healthy kelp forests support nearly a thousand marine species. Due to climate-driven changes, the northern coast region has lost more than 93 percent of its kelp forests in the last decade. This project will restore multiple acres of kelp forests, validate the potential of regenerative ocean farming and bring back the productivity and biodiversity of the ecosystem while providing economic opportunities for coastal communities.

To learn more about Honda Marine Science Foundation and how to apply for grant funding, visit

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