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Date: March 05, 2007

"Chesapeake Club" water quality campaign hits Hampton Roads airwaves

(Richmond) --- An innovative awareness campaign urging homeowners to dotheir part to help local rivers and streams that flow into the ChesapeakeBay hits Hampton Roads airwaves today.

The “Chesapeake Club” campaign focuses on the connection betweenindividual lawn care and the health of local rivers and streams. It doesso using humor and by engaging the audience through their enjoyment of theChesapeake lifestyle and its seafood. It is also running in the Richmondarea.

“This campaign takes a humorous look at a serious concern,” saidJoseph H. Maroon, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation andRecreation. “While many people are concerned about local water qualityand the Bay, they aren’t aware that their actions – such as howthey fertilize their lawn – can have an impact. This campaign helpsshow that link and offers homeowners one simple way that they can help improveour waters.”

The campaign was developed by the Chesapeake Bay Program and had a successfultwo-year run in the Washington, D.C. market. As a Bay Program partner, DCRhas been involved with Chesapeake Club since its inception. It is comingto Hampton Roads as the result of a partnership with state, federal and localgovernments. HR STORM, a regional environmental education subcommittee withthe

Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, is coordinating the campaign’slocal outreach components in Hampton Roads. Seventeen localities are participating.

“Making the average person aware that their actions can affect localwater quality is a message we have been working to get out there,” saidArthur L. Collins, HRPDC executive director. “Chesapeake Club givesus an opportunity to share resources among neighboring localities and othersto reach a much larger audience with a coordinated message.”

The Richmond and Hampton Roads campaigns are jointly funded by the VirginiaCoastal Zone Management Program through a grant from the National Oceanicand Atmospheric Administration and Chesapeake Bay Program ImplementationGrant funds. DCR is coordinating the effort, which enhances the ongoing effortsof HR STORM.

Television and newspaper advertisements ask homeowners to wait until fallto fertilize their lawns. Local government partners are working with localrestaurants and lawn care services to help spread the same message. The club’swebsite offers additional tips on Bay friendly lawn care while giving usefulinformation on enjoying the area’s rivers, streams and nearby Bay.

Excess nutrients, including those contained in common fertilizer, are theleading cause of water quality problems in local tidal rivers and the ChesapeakeBay, according to Bay Program scientists. Fall is the best time to use lawnfertilizer when grass can better use the nutrients in strengthening theirroot system for long term growth.

For more information about the Chesapeake Club campaign, including sampleads and a list of local restaurants and lawn care providers supporting theeffort, visit.


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