SEP Team (L to R) Jeff Schmidt, Diane Smith, and Steve Mosier evaluating a property
SEP Team (L to R) Jeff Schmidt, Diane Smith, and Steve Mosier evaluating a property

The SEP team took most of 2020 to assess and upgrade the program. “We restructured our evaluation process and increased attention to stormwater management and climate change issues such as sea-level rise. We also trained a number of new team members to enable us to expand our activities,” stated Mary Turville, SEP Chairperson.

Runoff, with high levels of sediment and nutrients, continues to be one of the major issues affecting the health of the Bay. Since 2012, SEP has assisted hundreds of waterfront homeowners protect their property from erosion and protect the Bay’s waters from runoff.

A team of two or three SEP members visits the property and conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the site’s problems. The team then provides the homeowner with a detailed written report identifying issues and strategies to address the issues.

The homeowner also receives a copy of the SEP “Homeowner’s Guide to Shoreline Management.” The newly expanded Guide is a great reference resource on shoreline property management with sections on shoreline protection, upland stormwater management, and ways to develop an interesting and pleasing protective shoreline buffer. The Guide also includes a new plant list with native plant recommendations for upland, buffer, and shoreline areas.

Local creek loaded with sediment after a heavy rain
Local creek loaded with sediment after a heavy rain

“Homeowners looking for assistance with shoreline problems or ideas on how they can make their property more ‘Bay friendly’ are encouraged to apply now for an evaluation,” said Turville. “Our annual capacity is limited and available spots are usually taken by late spring or early summer.”

To apply, go to the Northern Neck Master Gardeners Shoreline Evaluation Program webpage at and download the “Shoreline Evaluation Registration and Questionnaire” form. Complete the registration form and return it, along with a check for $60, to the Lancaster Virginia Cooperative Extension office at the address shown on the form.

During the evaluation, SEP team members will observe all current Virginia Covid-19 requirements.

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