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Posted In: Environment

Volunteers sought to restore Bay grasses

Andy Thompson

January 23, 2015 8:59pm

Here’s a cool opportunity from at friends at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The CBF is seeking volunteers to grow underwater Bay grasses in their homes, schools, or businesses as part of CBF’s Grasses for the Masses restoration program. The program enlists volunteers to help restore underwater grasses, submerged plants vital to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem but seriously depleted over the years.

Volunteers will attend one of several upcoming workshops in the Richmond, Northern Virginia, and Hampton Roads areas to receive a self-contained kit, seeds, and instruction. They then will nurture their grass sprouts until they are mature enough to be transplanted to permitted sites in the James and Potomac rivers in late spring.

Grow some grass. Help the Bay.

Workshops will be held:

·       In the Richmond area, on Jan. 31 at the REI store in Glen Allen; and on Feb. 7 at CBF’s downtown Richmond office.

·       In Northern Virginia, on Jan. 21 and 24 at the FairlingtonCommunity Center in Arlington; on Jan. 26 at the Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas; on Feb. 7 at the Central Community Library in Manassas; on Jan. 31 at the Patriot Scuba Club in Occoquan; and on Feb. 7 at Burke Center Library in Burke.

·       In Hampton Roads, on Feb. 22 at CBF’s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach.

 There is a $40 fee per grass growing kit, which includes a one-year CBF membership. Volunteers can find more information, register, and pay the program fee online at www.cbf.org/grasses.

 “Recent improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay demonstrate what can be done when governments, businesses, and individuals work together,” said Blair Blanchette, CBF Virginia grassroots coordinator. “Grasses for the Masses is a great opportunity for volunteers to help make a difference.”

Underwater grasses are among the most critical natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Just as people rely on their immune system to help fight off illness, the Bay relies on a system of underwater grasses to help fight the harmful effects of pollution washed into the Bay’s tributaries. The grasses also provide food and shelter for important Bay species, such as blue crabs, fish, and waterfowl.

Unfortunately the Bay’s underwater grasses have been severely depleted by pollution and cloudy water. Volunteers can help restore and heal the Bay by participating in CBF’s Grasses for the Masses program, growing the grasses from seed and later planting them in tributaries of the Bay.

 For more information, contact Blair Blanchette at 804-780-1392 or bblanchette@cbf.org.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?