How do you restore 9000 acres of seagrass? One handful at a time. A volunteer with The Nature Conservancy grabs a handful of eelgrass (Zostera marina) flowering shoots, containing seeds. The seeds will be used to contribute to the world's largest seagrass restoration project off Virginia's East Coast.
Seagrass in the area was wiped out by disease, bottom trawling and a hurricane in 1933, killing a major scallop fishery in the process. In the early 2000's Dr. Robert J. Orth started the restoration project with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. To date, the project has restored over 9000 acres of seagrass meadows. The benefits are already showing and a recreational scallop fishery may be in the near future.