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Environment

February 6, 2013

Volunteers Sought to Grow Bay Grasses

grasses

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is seeking volunteers to raise underwater Bay grasses in their homes, schools, or businesses as part of CBF’s Grasses for the Masses program.

Volunteers in the program grow wild celery (Vallisneria Americana), a type of underwater grass, in small tubs in their homes for 10 weeks. They will then plant their grasses with other volunteers, coordinated by CBF staff, in local rivers to bolster submerged aquatic vegetation populations and help restore the Chesapeake Bay.

CBF will conduct a workshop Sunday, February 10, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. A $40 fee covers: a simple aquaculture system, instructions and support, seeds, and access to an on-line support network. Participants will need to provide: sand and soil for planting grass seeds, two light bulbs, and a 4’x4′ space to set-up the growth system (near electrical outlet with a steady temperature).

Underwater grasses are among the most critical natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Just as people rely on their immune system to help fight illness, the Bay relies on a system of underwater grasses to help fight the harmful effects of pollution that are washed into the Bay’s tributaries. Grasses also provide food and shelter for important Bay species, such as blue crabs, fish, and waterfowl. Unfortunately the Bay’s underwater grasses have been severely depleted by pollution and sediment in the water.

“Recent improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay demonstrate what can be done when governments, businesses, and individuals work together,” said Aimee Bushman, CBF Virginia grassroots coordinator. “Grasses for the Masses is a great opportunity for individuals to help make a difference.”

Participants can register and pay online at www.cbf.org/grasses. For more information, contact Aimee Bushman, abushman@cbf.org or call 804/780-1392.

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