The future of the Chesapeake Bay could be in your home, school or business.
That’s where the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is hoping Virginians will grow underwater bay grasses before transplanting them into local waters. The vegetation is an important part of the bay’s ecosystem that has been “seriously depleted over the years by pollution and cloudy water,” according to a release from the foundation.
The grasses reduce erosion, increase oxygen levels and absorb harmful nutrients in the bay, the release said. They also provide important food and shelter for local fauna, including blue crabs, fish and waterfowl, according to the foundation.
To participate, volunteers must attend a workshop this winter and purchase a $40 indoor growing kit, which includes seeds and instructions. Volunteers in the program, called Grasses for the Masses, will nurture sprouts until they’re mature enough to be transplanted to permitted sites in the James and Potomac rivers in late spring.
“Plantings from previous years are on their way to becoming healthy grass beds, which help restore a key ecosystem in our rivers,” said Blair Blanchette, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia grassroots coordinator, in the release. “Grasses for the Masses is a great hands-on opportunity for volunteers to heal our waterways.”