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Sea Otters Stopping Erosion

Sea otters are becoming an unexpected resource in combating coastal erosion. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters were hunted to near extinction as their pelts were used for clothing. Conservation efforts have been in place for decades to restore the species in California, and the entire ecosystem has benefited from the growing population. Crabs are an enemy of the sea marshes along the central California coast as they eat through sea grass and destabilize the soil. Sea otters feed on these crabs, and fewer burrowing crabs means less erosion. Though there are other threats to California’s coasts from pollution and rising sea levels, the reintroduction of sea otters in the area has brought coastal erosion to a near halt for the time being. 

Image via ABC News


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