Pearls of Wisdom
Michael Schmitt - Pleasure House Point
Mary Paul Callis's Pearl Home
Pearl Homes NewsletterMay 2013
Dear Pearl Homeowner,

Guess what...we are 43 homes away from our goal of 1,000 Pearl Homes in Virginia Beach!  Tell your friends why you signed up and maybe they will want to too.  And if peer pressure isn't enough, let them know that our 1000th Pearl Home will receive a special bonus prize.

This spring we are excited to debut a new publication and offering just to our Pearl Homes.  Our Wetlands Committee has been working hard to put together information to help you figure out if you could accidentally be mowing wetlands in your backyard.  After reading this letter, if you think you might be mowing your wetlands, give us a call and we will send someone out to advise you.  If you start letting them grow, you will be supporting new habitat, helping clean the water, and potentially reducing erosion along your shoreline!

Spring is an exciting time of new growth and beautification.  Help the Lynnhaven by planting wetland grasses, growing oysters, buying a few new native plants for your yard, or building a fruit and vegetable garden.
All together, we will make a difference! 

Kris McKinnon, Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Lynnhaven River NOW


Are You Mowing In The Wetlands Zone?
Coastal wetlands provide many benefits to citizens including:
  • shoreline erosion control - by rooting deep in the salty soil
  • pollution control - by absorbing excess nutrients in runoff
  • improved water quality - by trapping and removing sediment in the water
  • habitat for wildlife - including recreationally important fish and shellfish 
Wetlands deliniation
In Virginia, the Wetlands Jurisdiction is defined as the zone between Mean Low Water and the
elevation equal to 1.5 X Mean Tide Range.



Since the high marsh zone floods less frequently, many people do not recognize it as part of the wetland ecosystem.  Some have simply continued the practices of former landowners mowing wetland grasses and trimming wetland shrubs as if they were part of a manicured lawn.  


Mowed Wetlands 1


Mowing wetland grasses and removing wetland shrubs diminishes their ability to provide benefits to citizens and may even trigger bank erosion from lack of vegetation or introduction of non-wetlands plants in those areas.


Some clues that a wetland may be mowed or altered are...


Mowed Wetlands 2


Mowed Wetlands 3


Mowed Wetlands 4

  • wetlands vegetation on adjoining property in line with your mowed area
  • areas within the mowed area where typical turf grasses will not grow 
  • wetland shrub seedlings growing along the edge of the mowed area 
  • crayfish "chimneys" in the mowed grass area

If you are concerned that you may be mowing wetlands on your property and would like us to help you identify the wetland boundary at no cost, please email LRNow or call 962-5398.

Pearl Homes Backyard Habitat Workshop
RecapRobert Brown - squirrel

Remember that we hosted a Backyard Habitat Workshop exclusively for Pearl Homes earlier this year?
Well it went great!  The workshop was well attended by 18 registrants.  Presentations covered topics such as native plants vs. non-natives, buffers and wetlands as habitat, backyard habitat ideas, and the selection & care of trees.  We toured the VT Agricultural Research and Extension Center grounds to look at buffer plantings, rain gardens, and native plantings.  Participants brought photos of their property and received suggestions from others.  We received very positive feedback and hope to plan similar future workshops.

Stephan's living shoreline

Save the Date!  

Pearl Homes Backyard Tour

Sunday, September 22nd, 1 pm


Get the inside scoop on actions your neighboring Pearl Homes have taken to restore the river, such as planting buffers, initiating living shorelines, and creating oyster habitat. 
$10 for the first registration. Bring a friend along for just $1 extra!


If you've done a restoration project in your backyard or have a natural "Pearl Backyard" and would like to share your expertise and ideas with other homeowners eager to learn good practices for the river, we will be taking applications for tour stops shortly.   

FREE Terrapin By-catch Reduction Devices Available
Caught Terrapins

We have Terrapin By-catch Reduction Devices to give away.  If you or a friend hang crab pots in the Lynnhaven, stop by our office to pick up an orange rectangular device that clips onto the funnels where crabs enter to make sure curious diamondback terrapins don't accidentally get stuck in the pots.  No one wants to eat diamondback terrapin for supper!

River Cleanup Plastic Bag

Recycle Your Plastic


As Pearl Homeowners, most of you already know that it's best to use reusable bags and not to use plastic bags at all. But if you end up with plastic bags at home, or really most any type of plastic, visit to find the closest location for you to recycle the plastic.  Let's put it to good use so it doesn't accidentally end up inside of one of our shorebirds' stomachs.  

Pearl Home Count
Soil Testers: 194
194 of you have gotten a Soil Test.  Help us add to that number by picking up a soil test at the LRNow office and sending a sample of your soil to Virginia Tech.  They will tell you what nutrients your lawn is already full of and what it is lacking.  And if you need help interpreting the data, the scientists here at LRNow are happy to help.  If you are set on fertilizing, its necessary to know what nutrients your soil already has, but remember, its best not to fertilize at all!


May 11 - International Migratory Bird Day Walk


May 14 - Spat Catcher Workshop


May 18 - Bayside History Bike Tour


June 1 - Clean The Bay Day


June 8 - Paddle the Lynnhaven Eco-Tour


June 14 - Bird Watching Walk


June 15 - Discovering Wetlands


June 25 - Exploring Children's Nature Books


See our website event calendar and VB's 50 Days of Fun website for more of LRNow's summer events. 


For more information about any of these events, visit the LRNow website, call our office at 757-962-5398, or email