You can help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia‘s rivers by participating in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses for the Masses ecological restoration program.
Participants in the program grow wild celery (Vallisneria americana), a type of underwater grass, in a simple grow-out system in their homes for 10-12 weeks. After 10-12 weeks of grow-out, participants will gather to plant their grasses in select local rivers to bolster grass populations and help restore the Bay.
Underwater grasses are essential habitat for bay species such as Chesapeake blue crabs but were depleted by decades of pollutants and the sediment runoff that clouds the water and prevents sunlight from reaching the plants.
“This is the perfect chance to play a part in bringing back key habitat for local wildlife,” CBF coordinator Blair Blanchette said in a statement.
Participants will grow an underwater grass known as wild celery. After 10-12 weeks of grow-out, the grasses will be transplanted to the James and Potomac rivers in late spring.
Volunteers must attend a workshop, where they’ll receive an indoor growing kit, seeds and instructions. Each kit costs $40, which includes a one-year CBF membership.