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Virginia Restoration Slideshow

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Inside the largest, most successful seagrass restoration project in the world

A Nature Conservancy volunteer collects eelgrass in the shallow coastal waters off Virginia’s Eastern Shore. © Mark Godfrey/TNC

In a massive effort to restore eelgrass beds in the bays of the Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve, volunteers gathered reproductive shoots containing ripe seeds from the underwater plants. © Daniel White/TNC

The eelgrass shoots are measured into water tanks, and the seeds are cured, separated and prepared for planting in the fall. © Daniel White/TNC

The Virginia Institute Marine Science and the Conservancy have broadcast upwards of 30 million seeds, accelerating the natural spread of eelgrass across more than 4,700 acres in four bays. © Jay Odell/TNC

Eelgrass plays an important role in helping keep water clean, trapping sediment and absorbing excess nutrients. Eelgrass also serves as a nursery for marine life like these bay scallops. © Scott Marion/VIMS

The Conservancy recently assisted VIMS in releasing 5,500 juvenile bay scallops off the Eastern Shore, a first test to determine the best method for large-scale restoration. © Scott Marion/VIMS

New oyster reefs, eelgrass and scallop restoration, and living-shoreline projects - each effort expands critical habitat and ecological diversity at the Virginia Coast Reserve. © Daniel White/TNC

'The best chance of survival for the most species is healthy, whole natural systems,' explains Barry Truitt, who leads the reserve’s science programs and partnerships. © Daniel White/TNC Return to story

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