Volunteers Needed to Grow and Restore Bay Grasses

(RICHMOND, VA)—Virginia volunteers are needed to grow underwater grasses in their homes, schools, or businesses as part of CBF's Grasses for the Masses restoration program. These grasses are submerged plants vital to the health of local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, but have been seriously depleted over the years by pollution and cloudy water.

"This is the perfect chance to play a part in bringing back key habitat for local wildlife," said CBF Virginia Grassroots Coordinator Blair Blanchette. "Volunteers will be part of the whole restoration process, starting with seeds and ending months later with planting grasses in established grass beds in the James and Potomac rivers."

Participants will need to attend one of several upcoming workshops that will be held in the Richmond, Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, and Hampton Roads areas. There they will receive a self-contained indoor growing kit, seeds, and instructions. Volunteers 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.

Workshops will be held:

  • In the Richmond area, on Jan. 28 and Jan. 31 at the REI store in Glen Allen; and on Feb. 4 at CBF's downtown Richmond office.
  • In Northern Virginia, on Feb. 8 and Feb. 11 at the Fairlington Community Center in Arlington.
  • In Fredericksburg, on Jan. 17 at the Fredericksburg Library Headquarters.
  • In Hampton Roads, on Jan. 11 at CBF's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach; and on Jan. 21 at the James City County Recreation Center in Williamsburg.

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.

Underwater grasses are among the Chesapeake's most critical natural resources, with numerous benefits for the Bay and its rivers and streams. These plants reduce erosion, increase oxygen levels, and absorb some of the harmful nutrients that enter our waterways. They also provide food and shelter for important Bay species, such as blue crabs, fish, and waterfowl. The grasses planted in Bay tributaries through CBF's Grasses for the Masses program are making a real difference in the health of the Bay.

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

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