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  • 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 23 million seeds, accelerating the natural spread of eelgrass across more than 2,400 acres in four bays — the largest, most successful seagrass restoration project in the world. © 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 such as clams, crabs and other shellfish, including these bay scallops. © Scott Marion/VIMS
  • The Conservancy recently assisted the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in releasing 5,500 juvenile bay scallops off the Eastern Shore — the first of multiple test batches to determine the best method for large-scale restoration. © Scott Marion/VIMS
  • Through next year, NOAA is funding 24 new oyster reefs in addition to the eelgrass and scallop projects, and a separate living-shoreline project also incorporates oysters. 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. Oysters play an important role in marine systems as food for people and wildlife, and they also help to clean water by filtering it as they feed. © Daniel White/TNC
  • In Oyster, Virginia, community members are working with the Conservancy to fortify 450 feet of shoreline and crumbling bulkhead against erosion and rising seas. Instead of a traditional armored bulkhead, volunteers are building up natural protections, like rock sills. Next, a tidal marsh will be added behind the rock sill. © Joe Scalf/TNC
  • The team lined this excavation next to the rock sill with sand to form a base for the new tidal marsh. In November, community volunteers will install a variety of wetland plants to create a green demonstration site. © Joe Scalf/TNC
Virginia Restoration Slideshow

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