Foreign diplomats get their hands dirty restoring Chesapeake Bay seagrasses

As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI), representatives from at least a dozen foreign embassies, the World Bank, the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), the European Union (EU), and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) will work together to grow and plant underwater seagrass in the Potomac River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, in support of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses for the Masses program.

The project, called “Restore the Bay,” launched January 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C., when representatives from the embassies of China, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Malta, Pakistan, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the World Bank, GDI, OFM, EU, and OES attend a training workshop provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Embassy representatives will learn to grow underwater seagrasses, which they will then continue to grow in their chanceries over the next several months.

The project will culminate on June 5, 2017, in celebration of World Environment Day, when participating foreign embassies will join representatives from the Department of State and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Virginia, to plant their underwater grasses in the Potomac River.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation reports that underwater grasses growing in shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay add oxygen to the water, provide wildlife with food and habitat, absorb nutrient pollution, trap sediment and reduce erosion.

The Department of State aims to raise awareness of global water challenges by highlighting local efforts at city and state levels, such as the “Restore the Bay” event. U.S. embassies and consulates overseas routinely participate in local sustainability activities in host countries to showcase America’s support for environmental stewardship.

Working with foreign embassies in Washington, D.C. is an extension of the Department’s global drive to advance ecological protection through eco-diplomacy.

Photos courtesy of the U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Missions

See more information about the “Restore the Bay” project.

See more information about the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM).

See more information about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses for the Masses program.

For any interview requests, contact Aaron Testa at or call 571-345-2504.

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