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Virginia CZM Program: 2014 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:CZM logo



Northern Neck Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Phase 2 Implementation of the Plant NNK (Northern Neck) Natives Campaign 

Project Description as Proposed:

This grant to the Northern Neck Planning District Commission and sole-source subcontracted to the Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will fund Phase II of the Plant NNK Natives, a community-based social marketing campaign.  The campaign was initiated and funded in 2013 (FY10 Task 50) to inspire local residents to incorporate native plants in their gardens and protect native plants found in natural areas. In fact, native plants are an important component of many stormwater control best management practices.  Phase II of the Plant NNK Natives Campaign will expand the campaign strategy to aid local TMDL requirements through design and distribution of educational materials to promote vegetative BMPs on residential and business property.

The Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS-NN) is taking the lead on coordination of the campaign and has established a partnership with key environmental organizations as well as businesses to implement the campaign, including the Northern Neck Master Gardeners, the Northern Neck Master Naturalists, several local garden clubs and environmental organizations and ten local garden centers.  The Northern Neck Planning District Commission (NNPDC) is a campaign partner and will coordinate with the VNPS-NN to generate and submit grant progress and final reports.  NNPDC staff will act as a liaison with local and state government staff on possible sites for vegetative BMP demonstration gardens.  During Phase I of the Plant NNK Natives, Campaigns partners produced a series of multi-media materials which help convey the campaign’s message that Northern Neck native plants are beautiful, easier to maintain, and are a foundation of the unique environment of the Northern Neck).  These materials include: a full color guide to Native Plants of the Northern Neck, sample garden plans, plant ID markers, garden center signage, an exhibit and website (  Feedback to the Campaign has been very encouraging.  Most importantly, the Plant NNK Natives Campaign is beginning to change behavior, as reflected in an increase of native plant sales.  Local garden center partners report that customers come in with plants circled in the guide and ask how they can get them.  During recent “Native Plant Days” at their stores, sales have exceeded expectations.

NNPDC and NNNPS will use this grant to continue implementation of the Plant NNK Natives Campaign strategy, and to conduct a mid-campaign evaluation to gage campaign awareness, strategy effectiveness and changes in gardening behavior and use of native plants.  Partners will maintain existing and produce new campaign materials to further drive demand for native plants, including:     

  • Printed materials to highlight the role that native plants can play in stormwater management.  Campaign partners will reach out to new landowners through realtors and reach out to county staff to provide this material(s) to the goal of helping the region meet new stormwater regulations
  • Printed and web-based information on deer resistant, salt and flood tolerant native plants (in response to direct public inquiries for more guidance).
  • Creation of a Northern Neck Native Plant Library, a printed and web-based guide similar to the Birding and Wildlife Trail concept, to encourage self-guided tours of the region’s native plant demonstration gardens. 

Plant NNK Natives Campaign partners will continue to participate on the Virginia Native Plant Marketing Partnership (VNPMP) Steering Team, coordinated and chaired by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, and assist in meeting the goals of VNPMP including development of a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Program, new state-wide native plant marketing strategies and initiatives to increase the wholesale production and availability of native plants.  These projects will help ensure the Plant NNK Natives Campaign’s success in increasing the use of native plants.  

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Stuart McKenzie, 804.333.1900 x25;

Project Status:

10/15/14 - 9/30/15; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Plant NNK Natives Campaign Phase II (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The goal of the Plant NNK Natives Campaign (Campaign) is to inspire homeowners to use native plants in their gardens and help preserve existing native plants on their properties. The Commission initiated the Campaign in 2013 with the Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and other partners. During Phase I, the Campaign produced promotional and educational materials. Phase II of the Campaign began in 2015 and led to the following:

Revised Guide to Northern Neck Native Plants
The Campaign updated the guide produced in Phase I to highlight the importance of milkweed to Monarch butterflies, include references to new materials published by the Campaign, make corrections and clarifications where needed, and include new demonstration gardens.  Three thousand copies were printed and made available for the fall planting season.

Native Plants for Northern Neck Bay-Friendly Properties—A brochure that outlines ways that homeowners can use native plants to reduce runoff and absorb pollutants to prevent pollutants, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and oil based chemicals from cars from being delivered to local streams and eventually reaching the Chesapeake Bay. Outreach through county staff and other means provides this useful and timely information to help homeowners meet new stormwater regulations.

Deer Resistant Native Plants for the Northern Neck—a listing of deer resistant plants to help homeowners choose native plants to minimize damage from deer.

Salt Tolerant Northern Neck Native Plants—this listing of salt tolerant plants helps homeowners who live along the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay to choose native plants to meet their specific needs.

Northern Neck Native Plants Trail—a map and brochure highlighting 13 demonstration gardens that were designed to showcase the beauty, benefits and variety of native plants.  Each description includes information on the garden objective (e.g., pollinator garden, stormwater management garden), best time to visit and other areas of special interest nearby. It complements detailed information on each garden that is available online.

Mid-Campaign Survey—Finally, the Campaign developed and implemented a mid-campaign public survey to measure awareness of the Campaign, attitudes towards native plants, gardening behavior and reactions to proposed strategies for continuing the Campaign. Results will be used to set future directions for the Campaign. 

The publications produced during Phase II of the Campaign are distributed through partner garden centers and featured at farmers markets, special events and festivals on the Northern Neck. They are also available at

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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