Please direct inquiries about the campaign and requests for campaign materials to: Virginia Witmer, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, (804) 698-4320. Either Virginia or a campaign partner will repond as soon as possible.
Current Plant ES Natives Campaign Partners
Plant ES Natives Campaign Planning Team
Alli Baird, Department of Conservation and Recreation
Barbara Board, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Jane Corson-Lassiter, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service/Eastern Shore RC&D Council
, Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District
Jack Humphreys, Eastern Shore Master Gardeners/Maplewood Garden Center
Dot Field, Department of Conservation and Recreation
Steve Living, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
Angela Neilan, Department of Environmental Quality
Ann Regn, Office of Enironmental Education/Department of Environmental Quality
- Art Schwarzschild, UVA, Anhueser Busch Coastal Research Center
Laura Vaughn, Barrier Islands Center
Lou Verner, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Virginia Witmer, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
Role of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
The Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program is coordinating the campaign and providing almost 100% of the funding (thanks to our annual federal Coastal Zone Management grants from NOAA). The campaign was initiated as a component of the Virginia Seaside Heritage Program. The 6 year, $2.6 million Seaside Heritage Program built ecotourism infrastructure and restored eelgrass, oyster, marsh and beach-nesting bird habitat in and around the barrier island–lagoon system. The “Plant ES Natives” campaign is designed to protect that investment.
Given the many virtues of native vegetation, the Virginia CZM Program and its partners, have been working for over 20 years to increase native vegetation on the Shore. It began with a songbird study in 1989 which documented the critical importance of the lower Delmarva Peninsula as a major “stopover” or rest stop for neo-tropical migratory songbirds.
In 1991, the Virginia CZM began working with Northampton County on the Northampton Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). One goal of this SAMP was to protect bird and fish habitats by maintaining maximum native vegetative cover. In 1993, as part of the educational component of this SAMP, the Virginia CZM Program created and funded the annual Eastern Shore of Virginia Birding and Wildlife Festival to demonstrate that there could be economic benefits from ecotourism, if the native vegetation so critical to birds were protected. Through the SAMP, a Sensitive Natural Resource Area Overlay was introduced and nearly adopted in Northampton County in 2003 which would have restricted the amount of existing native vegetation that a property owner could remove in order to protect water quality and quantity for humans, shellfish and birds.
Even though the SNRA Overlay District was not adopted, interested landowners were given a guide to what they could do on their land to provide better water quality and bird habitat. One educational guide produced through the Northampton SAMP and still used today, Migratory Birds of the Lower Delmarva: A Habitat Management Guide for Landowners, contains landscape design ideas and a list of native plants beneficial to migratory songbirds.
The Seaside Heritage Program has been very successful but human activities on the land could jeopardize this investment that supports sustainable industries such as shellfish farming and ecotourism. We hope the “Plant ES Natives” campaign will help ensure not only the continued success of seaside restoration efforts but also an excellent quality of life for Virginia’s Eastern Shore residents and visitors.
Campaign coordination and materials funded by the Virginia CZM Program through grants from NOAA to the Department of Environmental Quality under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Financial assistance also provided by Virginia Naturally through a grant from EPA to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and by the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District through a grant from EPA to the Virginia Department of Conservation (Tributary Strategies).
For comments or questions concerning this program's web pages, contact Virginia Witmer
This website is provided by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program through a federal Coastal Zone Management Act grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.