Grasses for the Masses

Native underwater grasses grown by volunteers are planted in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.

Volunteers are needed to restore native underwater grasses by growing them at home, school or work through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Grasses for the Masses program.

Wild celery grasses are submerged plants that play an important role in local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. They have been seriously depleted over the years by pollution and cloudy water.

“Underwater grasses are essential to a healthy, vibrant Chesapeake Bay. Grasses provide habitat for our beloved fish and crabs, absorb excess nutrients, stabilize shorelines, and improve water clarity,” said CBF Virginia Grassroots Coordinator Gabby Troutman in a news release.

They also provide food and shelter for important Bay species, such as blue crabs, fish and waterfowl.

“We need your help to ensure these grasses thrive,” Troutman said. “The Grasses for the Masses program is a fun way for people of all ages to take a hands-on approach to protecting Virginia’s rivers and the Bay.”

Volunteers grow the grasses from seed in trays submerged in tubs. They nurture the grass sprouts until late spring, when they are mature enough to be transplanted to permitted sites in the James, Rappahannock, Chickahominy, and Potomac rivers.

To participate, volunteers must attend a workshop. The closest will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the V. Earl Dickinson Building at Germanna Community College’s campus at 10000 Germanna Point Drive in Spotsylvania County. Other workshops will be held in Arlington, Alexandria, Richmond and Williamsburg.

Advance registration is required. Participants will receive a self-contained indoor growing kit, seeds, and instructions at any of the workshops.

There is a $40 fee per grass growing kit. Volunteers can find more information, register and pay the program fee online at

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

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