Department of State and Foreign Diplomats Help Restore Underwater Seagrass

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 2, 2017


On June 5, 2017, in celebration of World Environment Day, representatives from fifteen foreign embassies and international organizations will join the Department to plant underwater seagrass in the Potomac River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. “Restore the Bay,” is an extension of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) “Grasses for the Masses” program.

Representatives from the embassies of China, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Malta, Pakistan, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the European Union and the World Bank, have been growing seagrasses in their chanceries since January 2017, which they will plant together in the Potomac River.

The foreign missions will join representatives from the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI), and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), as well as CBF, at Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Virginia, to plant their underwater grasses in the Potomac River.

CBF reports that underwater grasses growing in shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay add oxygen to the water, provide wildlife with food and habitat, absorb nutrient pollution, trap sediment, and reduce erosion.

By helping restore seagrass in the Chesapeake Bay, the Department of State aims to raise awareness of the challenge of clean water, both in the Washington, DC-metropolitan area and around the world. This is an opportunity for the Department to work together with the foreign diplomatic community to address an environmental challenge we face globally.

For more information about the “Restore the Bay” project, visit the OFM website at http://www.state.gov/ofm/greeningdiplomacy/restorethebay/.

For information about OFM, visit OFM’s website at http://www.state.gov/ofm/.

For information about the CBF’s Grasses for the Masses program, please visit: http://www.cbf.org/grasses.

For information about GDI, please visit: http://state.gov/ecodiplomacy.

To learn about embassies’ sustainability work in the District of Columbia, visit http://bit.ly/ecocapitalsforum.

For information about OES, visit its website at https://www.state.gov/e/oes/index.htm.

If you are interested in attending the planting event on June 5, 2017, or for any interview requests, please contact: Aaron Testa at TestaAM@state.gov or call 571-345-2504.