Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) beds are an important ecological component of the nearshore, providing food and shelter for many animals such as fishes, crabs, marine mammals, and birds. Kelp is also an important fixer of carbon as a primary producer. Kelp beds may change depending on water quality, sedimentation, water temperature, and grazing by herbivores.
See the protocol for monitoring bull kelp from a kayak that the Northwest Straits Commission has recently completed, which details measuring area and density of kelp beds (note: this protocol was added after the Decision Tree was completed, and is not currently included in that section).
Additional information on kelp and monitoring in Puget Sound can be found at the DNR website and their Marine Vegetation Atlas, and and at the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.