HAMPTON ROADS UPDATE

From the Desk of Christy Everett Fall 2016
 

Legislators Head Out on the Water with CBF  

This September, key Virginia legislators spent time on the water with CBF ahead of the important decisions they'll be making when the General Assembly convenes in January. We were honored to host nearly 30 state senators and delegates from the agriculture and natural resources committees at the Brock Environmental Center during their annual retreat. They gathered to learn about topics that affect the Bay, including polluted runoff and managing fisheries.

Virginia legislators joined us on the water September 2016 to learn about the Bay.

Hampton oyster volunteers.

Hampton volunteers planting a rain garden.
Photos (top to bottom):  Virginia legislators joined us on the water in September to learn about the Bay and water quality issues; Hampton University volunteers studying oysters; Hampton volunteers planting a rain garden to reduce polluted runoff. Photos by CBF Staff. 

At the retreat, local officials from Norfolk, Lynchburg, and Ashland talked about the importance of the state funding they've received to install projects that help keep polluted runoff from fouling our waterways. They also urged further funding to help localities meet their Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint goals. 

After the presentations, CBF took the legislators on a tour of the Brock Center and then boarded two CBF vessels on the Lynnhaven River to learn more about oyster leasing and fisheries. While out on the water, legislators checked crab pots designed to protect turtles, trawled for aquatic life, and discussed issues surrounding Virginia's growing oyster aquaculture industry. CBF is hopeful that the experience will assist legislators as they consider critical funding for programs that help keep Virginia on track under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. 

Meanwhile, CBF's holistic restoration project in the city of Hampton is well underway. Last year, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a grant to CBF and local partners for projects that will restore the native oyster population, reduce pollution entering Hampton waterways, and educate local residents.

This summer, CBF worked with Hampton University students and volunteers to survey the existing oyster population in the Hampton River. We're excited that property owners along the river have allowed us to use their docks to complete surveying work, including Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward.

CBF also held an oyster gardening workshop for Hampton residents in June. The program trains waterfront homeowners to grow oysters from their docks for restoration projects. 

We also recently installed the first two of five rain gardens at public spaces throughout the city. At Bluebird Gap Farm, our partners are also building a living shoreline and new tidal marsh. 

CBF is also engaging Hampton residents in a variety of other ways. In September, we took community leaders out on local waterways in our education boat to discuss water quality issues. This fall, we also launched our Hampton adult education program, Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards, or VoiCeS

All of these efforts come together to make a real long-term difference in improving water quality in the city of Hampton and the Bay.  

—Christy Everett
Hampton Roads Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
 

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