Let’s hear it for Virginia’s seagrass restoration project

Seagrass, for those of us who may not be familiar with the word, is a term used to describe the many different species of flowering plants that flourish in marine environments. With roughly 60 types of marine seagrass in existence, all of which originate from terrestrial plants, I was a little surprised I never really understood what it was, and I would wager a lot of us have a limited understanding of the topic.

On this topic, there is some positive news to share regarding a restoration project happening in Virginia. According to an article from The Good News Network, this project originally began as an experiment though has developed into the most successful seagrass restoration of its kind in Southeast Virginia and is a demonstration of the “resilience of marine ecosystems when they are given a chance to recover.”

“A group of marine scientists and volunteers spread more than 70 million eelgrass seeds across a 200-hectare plot off the southern end of Virginia’s eastern shore. Led by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and with help from The Nature Conservancy, the project has grown to over 3,600 hectares (8,896 acres), making it the largest seagrass restoration in the world.

“For perspective, this landmark seagrass meadow project off the coast of Wales used 750,000 seeds to create a five-acre meadow.

“Over the 20 years it took to create the mega 3,600-hectare ecosystem in Virginia, scientists have gotten to see the process from infancy to adulthood. They’ve been documenting every detail, every step of the way, so as to lay the foundations of knowledge for widespread seagrass restoration across the world. This is important because seagrass isn’t just a good home for fish; it can also help the planet,” says the article.

This project is a source of hope and inspiration for other regions of seagrass, the article explains. “Going forward, the steps that achieved this spectacular success could be replicated, the researchers say, in other areas of the country where lush seagrass ecosystems once flourished, such as Biscayne Bay in Florida.”

While my knowledge of seagrass may be limited, I’ve certainly learned a little bit thanks to this article, and what is occurring in Virginia is a great start when it comes to reviving it.

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