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Virginia CZM Program: 2016 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



George Washington Regional Commission

Project Title:

Plant GW (Greater Rappahannock) Natives Campaign

Project Description:

This grant to the George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) will fund the launch and implementation of the Plant GW (Greater Rappahannock) Natives campaign. This campaign focuses on expanding awareness and encouraging residents to take action to acquire and plant species native to the GW (Greater Rappahannock) region.  With previous funding from Virginia CZM (FY 2015 Task 47), GWRC brought together partners to collaborate and develop a strategy that will increase use of native plants on private properties and help preserve existing native vegetation in the Greater Rappahannock region. This strategy was informed the research of regional partners to identify native plant attitudes and perceptions, awareness, and barriers to use. Additionally, the regional partners conducted an assessment of the current availability of native plants within the region. The Plant GW (Greater Rappahannock) Natives campaign is part of a coast-wide effort by the Virginia CZM Program and its partners to increase the demand and supply of Virginia native plants through public-private collaboration. Regional marketing campaigns focused on the consumer, as well as local native plant providers, will help drive the demand needed to increase the supply of Virginia grown native plant stock which will benefit both Virginia’s environment and economy.

This campaign focuses on increasing the use of Virginia and regional native plants given their numerous environmental benefits. Native plants have adapted to the local environment, requiring little irrigation beyond normal rainfall, and little to no fertilizer and pesticide use. Native plants absorb stormwater runoff and nutrients which helps to protect water quality and preserve wildlife habitats. Many species of Virginia wildlife rely exclusively upon native flora to provide food and shelter. Using native plants maintains local ecological balance through water quality conservation and habitat preservation.

Although there are pockets of valuable habitats protected as natural areas, and strides have been made to acquire key habitats, a large portion of the region is in private ownership.  Therefore, encouraging homeowners to increase and maintain native vegetation for its ecological and economic benefits is essential to protect the ecological integrity of the GW (Greater Rappahannock) region.  In addition to focusing on homeowners, the campaign has successfully pursued partnerships with garden centers, landscape designers, growers and realtors to increase the availability of and encourage the use of native plants.
The Plant GW (Greater Rappahannock) Natives partnership continues to grow since its establishment under the FY15 grant from Virginia CZM. Currently, the partners make up a GWRC Native Plants Steering Committee which meets regularly to collaborate on native plant campaign strategies and available resources. This partnership includes representatives from Caroline County Planning, Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC), Hanover-Caroline SWCD, Master Gardener Association of Center Rappahannock Area (MGACRA), Natural Heritage Coastal Zone Locality Liaison (DCR), Tri-County/City SWCD, University of Mary Washington, Virginia Master Naturalist Central Rappahannock Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society, and Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Tim Ware, 540.373.2890,

Project Status:

10/1/16 - 9/30/17; Project Completed

Final Product:

Plant Central Rappahannock Natives Campaign Final Report (PDF)  

Project Summary:

Plant Central Rapp Natives is a marketing campaign to promote the use of native plants throughout the Central Rappahannock region, including the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. The campaign is part of a coast-wide effort by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program and its partners to increase the demand and supply of Virginia native plants through public-private collaboration.

This initiative began with the formation of a regional, multi-partner Steering Committee, made up of local government, non-profit, and business representatives in December 2015. The Steering Committee assisted with research and strategy development for the campaign. The Plant Central Rappahannock Natives (“Plant Central Rapp Natives”) Campaign officially launched in April 2017 at the City of Fredericksburg Earth Day Festival. Through regular Steering Committee meetings, the team has developed a set of community-based social marketing tools designed to help homeowners learn more about the benefits of using native plants.

The campaign has produced the following materials:

Native Plant Guide

Native Plants for Central Rappahannock Virginia is a full-color guide to the native plants of the region. The guide is distributed at garden centers, libraries, farmers’ markets and other events within the region, and is available digitally on the campaign website at

Campaign Promotional Materials

Promotional materials include plant tags, which are provided to local nurseries to identify natives for sale; “calling cards”, which customers can leave with retailers to encourage them to supply a particular native plant species; aluminum signs, which were provided to campaign partners and participating retailers; corrugated plastic signs, which are given away at community events; and a full-color, tri-fold exhibit, which can be taken to community events to promote the campaign.

Campaign Website

The campaign website is 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 or


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

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