Calling all residents living in the Chesapeake Bay’s Middle James and Yellow Breeches watersheds!

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Runoff Busters team is looking for homeowners / renters in the Middle James (Virginia) and Yellow Breeches (Pennsylvania) who want to help protect the Bay by welcoming our team and landscape professional into their yards.

Online applications are now available at to find homeowners willing to welcome a team to their home to redesign and install Chesapeake Bay-friendly garden / patio features in their yard, and film the makeover to use to educate more homeowners how to do the same.

Designs will be customized for each property, and are expected to range from rain gardens in a larger yard to edible gardens in pots on city patios.

The application process will close September 15. There is no application fee and no cost to participate if selected, though homeowners are responsible for any permitting or homeowner association approvals, if required.[one_full class=”blockquote dv-p-text” ]”Think of this as the Chesapeake Bay’s version of the hit show “Yard Crashers” on HGTV,” said Drew Siglin, Program Manager with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “That’s what we’re doing here. We’re showing residents hands on how easy it is to make small, and sometimes large, changes in their yards that will look great and also contribute to the health of local streams, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. And we’re doing it in a fun, approachable way.”The simple application is available at and asks residents to provide their name, address, contact with property owner if they are a renter, the type of yard they have (front or side yard, patio only, backyard less than and more than half and acre), why they would like to make their yard Chesapeake Bay friendly and to provide a photo of their current yard.[one_full class=”blockquote dv-p-text” ]”We’re excited to get residents of all kinds to apply for this and we hope to highlight a diverse set of best management practices and habits that help prevent runoff problems,” Siglin said. “We want to show the community that even when you don’t have a full yard to work with, there are steps you can take. For example, apartment residents could have edible gardens in pots on their balcony and small rain water barrels. When you do have a large yard, you can turn your traditional landscaping into an environmentally sound landscape that still offers all of the same amenities.”If accepted, residents must agree to have their home, gardens, patio and other outdoor spaces videotaped and used for marketing purposes by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Videotaping will take place in mid-October, with videos released to the public through March 2016. Also, if accepted, residents agree to be interviewed on camera by the film crew.

What is runoff and why do we care? Runoff is rain water or melting snow that “runs off” the land instead of seeping into the ground before it enters our waterways. Runoff is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other paved surfaces that don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Slowing runoff reduces sediment, chemicals, animal waste and more from making its way to our rivers and Chesapeake Bay, where they create problems for Bay plants, animals, and people who use our waterways.

The Middle James watershed area includes the following counties/cities: Amherst, Appomatox, Prince Edward, Nottoway, Amelia, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Richmond, Charles City, New Kent, Henrico, Goochland, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Albermarle, Charlottesville, Nelson, Bedford and Greene.

The Yellow Breeches watershed area includes several municipalities in Cumberland, York, and Adams counties: Bendersville, Camp Hill, Carroll, Cooke, Dickinson, Dillsburg, East Pennsboro, Fairview, Franklin, Franklintown, Hampden, Huntington, Latimore, Lemoyne, Lower Allen, Mechanicsburg, Menallen, Monaghan, Monroe, Mount Holly Springs, New Cumberland, Penn, Shiremanstown, South Middleton,  South Newton, Southampton, Tyrone, Upper Allen, Warrington, Wellsville, York Springs.

Runoff Busters is part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s “Reduce Your Stormwater” project, an effort generously funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Applicants who are not selected as “winners” may be eligible for a cost-share program toward rain garden and environmentally-friendly landscaping materials. This cost-share program is expected to launch in early 2016 and will be available to residents in both the Middle James and Yellow Breeches watersheds.