Ecomoorings at Studland Bay in Dorset

The Seahorse Trust working with its partners at Boatfolk have put in 10 Ecomoorings into Studland Bay and this is just the start

In August 2021, The Seahorse Trust with its partners at BOATFOLK boating and marina services, installed 10 Ecomoorings as the start of an ambitious project to take pressure off this highly sensitive site, which is home to seagrass and seahorses.

Studland Bay was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone in 2019 after 11 years of studying, surveying and campaigning by the trust and its partners at Southampton University. The site is very important for its seagrass meadow and its population of Spiny Seahorses both of which have been affected by an increase in the number of boats visiting the site.

These Ecomoorings will take the pressure off the site and allow it to recover to favourable conditions, which was the intention of the Marine Conservation Zone.

Studland Bay Marine Partnership

We formed a partnership in 2020 to oversee all the work in Studland Bay called the Studland Bay Marine Partnership.

This partnership is made up of The Seahorse Trust, Boatfolk, National Trust, RYA, Southampton University and a host of other conservation and boating organisations.

The partnership has a number of sub-groups all working on various aspects of the project from the core group made up of founder and key members to the science and media groups. There will be more as time moves on and we need to expand our work further.

Click on the image above to go to the SBMP webpage.

Studland’s Ocean Meadow

Studland has a secret underwater forest, the seagrass meadows which are home to seahorses, undulate rays, cuttlefish and so many more rare and endangered species.

In this video you can see how so many individuals and organisations have come together through the Studland Bay Marine Partnership to try and save the special habitat and precious species that live there.

Click on the image above to see the video

This film was kindly put together by Sue Weston and thanks to Boatfolk, National Trust, The Knight Family, Dorset Coastal Forum, The Seahorse Trust and Studland Bay Marine Partnership for taking part.

So how do they work ?

The Ecomoorings are very simple in design as the image to the right shows.

There is a 2-metre helical screw that is sunk (screwed) into the seabed, attached to this is a 2 metre, elasticated riser, that goes up to the mooring buoy on the surface.

As the tide rises the elasticated rode stretches, as it ebbs the riser retracts. This way the riser does not drag or run on the seabed and so the seagrass does not get cut down or eroded.

By having a very small footprint on the seabed (about 16 cm) it allows the seagrass to grow right up to it, giving a greater coverage of seagrass in the area, which increases the quality and area of seagrass for the diverse range of species, such as seahorses that live in it.

Our Partners

Without partners like BOATFOLK this project would not be possible, they have kindly funded this whole project and working with them we hope to go forward and install more.

We had one of the moorings kindly funded by ROCKFISH restaurants and one from a private individual, who did it in memory of a family member. Thank you to everyone and if you want to help this project, please email us and let us know.

Why is seagrass so important?

Seagrass is our rainforest of the sea; it absorbs carbon dioxide in the fight against global warming and crucially it protects our coasts from erosion and helps our beaches to build up.

As the waves come into shore, they get diffused by the seagrass meadows that are in the shallow waters. The seagrass takes the energy out of the waves and slows it down, so by the time it ends up on the beach it is much calmer. This calm water is less destructive to the beach and cliffs and stops them washing and eroding away.

When seagrass naturally sheds its leaves in the late summer and autumn, the leaves are washed up onto the beach and get mixed in with the sand. This gives structure to the sand and helps to build up and stabilise the beach, stopping it and the cliffs from washing away.