Grasses for Masses

You can help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's rivers by participating in CBF's Grasses for the Masses program. Volunteers in the program grow wild celery, a type of underwater grass, in small tubs in their homes for 10 weeks, then help plant the grasses in local rivers to boost the population of this critical Bay resource.

It is a fun and easy way to improve water quality! CBF provides the equipment, instructions and support needed for growing the grasses.

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Why Grasses?

Underwater grasses, also known as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), help the Bay in a number of ways:

  • They provide food and shelter for young crabs, rockfish, speckled trout, shellfish, and many more aquatic creatures.
  • They provide food for ducks, geese and swans.
  • They help clear the water and stabilize the sediments that are already on the bottom of the Bay.
  • They filter pollution that runs into the Bay.
  • They slow wave action and reduce shoreline erosion.
  • They produce oxygen necessary for aquatic life.
  • They take up nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that can cause fish kills, algal blooms, and dead zones in the Bay.

Underwater Grasses

Scientists estimate there once were hundreds of thousands of acres of underwater grasses growing in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, helping to make the Bay one of the world's most productive estuaries. However, grasses have declined dramatically over the past several decades, primarily because of poor water clarity caused by pollution. Excessive nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution has clouded the Bay's water, blocking the sunlight vital for the grasses' growth. In 2006, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science mapped only 59,160 acres of underwater grasses Bay wide, a decline of 25% from the year before. Grass abundance didn't improve during 2007.

Sign Up

Sign up today, space in upcoming workshops is limited.

Workshop Schedule

Gloucester Grasses Workshop - Grasses informational presentation, take the program fee and pass out materials.

  • Whitcomb Lodge at Beaverdam Park
    8687 Roaring Springs Road
    Gloucester, VA 23061
  • February 1, 2014
     9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Program Fee

There is a $40 / grass unit program fee which helps us to continue the program and to provide equipment for grass growers across the state.


Space in upcoming workshops is limited! To reserve your spot or for more information please email Bill Walker or call 804-693-6540. View CBF and the Grasses program for more information.

Additional Information

Grass participants will plant their grasses at designated restoration spots along the James River with CBF staff. The planting of underwater bay grasses is done by permit only.