The Nature Conservancy is Mobilizing the World’s Largest Seagrass Restoration Project Along Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Eelgrass is important habitat for scallops, crabs and other life in our ocean and bays

Oyster, VA | May 19, 2011

Over 100 volunteers will help The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and several partners in the Seaside Heritage Seagrass Community Restoration Program collect 10 million eelgrass seeds for cultivation and replanting along the eastern shore of Virginia. 

Over the past three years, 250 volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours collecting reproductive shoots containing ripe seeds from the underwater plants. The seeds are cured and prepared for planting in the fall restoring important habitat for scallops and other depleted marine life. Collectively we have broadcast upwards of 23 million seeds across more than 200 acres. These efforts have accelerated the natural spread of eelgrass, which now covers more than 2,400 acres in South, Spider Crab, Hog Island and Cobb Island bays.
Who/What: Over 100 volunteers during a three-four week period collecting seed-bearing eelgrass shoots snorkeling in waist deep waters just south of Oyster, VA. Volunteers will take a short boat ride to the collection site.
Where/When: Beginning May 25th with volunteer opportunities through early June. Times and dates are weather and tide dependant, for details please visit: and volunteers must register with Jen Dalke
Eelgrass is a seagrass that once thrived in the coastal bays of Virginia. In 1933, an outbreak of disease and a major hurricane virtually wiped it out. The Seaside Seagrass Community Restoration Program has been conducting highly successful efforts to restore eelgrass in the nearby coastal bays since 1999.

  • Volunteers can check the status of the day's collection by calling 757-350-1896, the latest we would cancel is 4 hours before collection.
  • Trips will last five to six hours and volunteers should bring a towel, lunch, drinking water and sun block.
  • Please bring your own gear if you have it, some face masks, snorkels, wetsuits are available but sizes and availability are limited.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Tom McCann

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