Watershed Stewardship and Wetlands

What individual property owners do on their land has a lot to do with the health of our wetlands and in cleaning up our water.  This is especially true in areas that are built-out or already well-developed, with little open space left undisturbed.

Unlike conservation measures on large tracts of open land, watershed and habitat protection/restoration in built-out areas involves many more individual land-owners.  The challenge is getting to all of these landowners and tracking all that they are doing on their property.

Many watershed groups are engaged in outreach to property owners to get them to "green up" their land - minimizing paved surfaces, lowering fertilizer use, putting in rain gardens and rain barrels, replacing lawns with plants and trees, and dozens of other approaches or "best management practices."  With efforts underway to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, this work takes on new urgency - especially if these actions can be documented and counted toward this cleanup effort.

Wetlands Watch is engaged in an effort to bring these projects together in a way that they can be counted.  We are documenting these stewardship efforts to date and working with the Chesapeake Bay program, state agencies, local governments, and private landscapers and nursery owners.   We will begin providing resources on this topic as we move forward.

We completed a major study on conservation landscaping for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission that was funded by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program - for more information you can go to the blog post on this.

Resources

Wetlands Watch Study on Conservation Landscaping - Virginia
Watershed Stewards Academy - Maryland
National Capitol Region Watershed Stewards Academy - Metro District of Columbia
GreenUpDC - District of Columbia
Master Naturalist Program - Virginia
Master Gardener Program - Virginia
Virginia Native Plant Society - Virginia
Guides to Wetlands Plants - Center for Coastal Resources Management - Virginia
Department of Conservation and Recreation - Native Plants - Virginia
Plant More Plants - Chesapeake Bay Region
Bay Scapes - Fish and Wildlife Service - Chesapeake Bay Region
"Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping" - US Fish and Wildlife Service - Chesapeake Bay Region
Conservation Landscaping - General
GreenScapes - US EPA - General
"Garden for Wildlife" - National Wildlife Federation - General

Watershed Groups Working on Property Stewardship in Virginia

Elizabeth River Project - River Stars Homes
Lynnhaven Now - Pearl Home (.pdf); River-Friendly Home (.pdf)
Lafayette Wetlands  Partnership
Nansemond River Preservation Alliance
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
James City County PRIDE Program
Friends of Powhatan Creek

News Articles

Watershed Survey - WVEC - 2/15/2012
Watershed Stewards - Bay Journal - December 2011
Virginian Pilot Article on Bay Problems - December 12, 2010