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Virginia Projects


Click one of the stars on the map below to read more about the state's featured projects. Or click the names of the color-coded Priority Areas in the key to learn more about GLARO's conservation focus. The blue dots represent one or more conservation projects on which DU has worked. Project information comes from annual state Conservation Reports, available in our Resource Library.

Virginia by the Numbers (as of 01/01/10)

  • Total acres conserved: 39,282
  • Technical assistance acres: 42,527
  • Amount spent on projects: $8,942,288

You can find additional statistics on Virginia's State Fact Sheet.

Virginia projects map  Potomac Lower Chesapeake Upper Chesapeake Pamunkey Farms Porter Restoration

Virginia's Biologist

Ben Lewis
Annapolis Office
34 Defense Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, MD 21401

Chincoteague Project Receives NAWCA and
Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Funding

A North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant and a Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Stamp grant awarded to Ducks Unlimited will be used to restore and enhance approximately 1,161 acres of wetland habitat on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Ducks Unlimited partners that made this project possible include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Altria Group, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, Service Elderhostel, Ducks Unlimited volunteers and refuge volunteers. DU and its partners will replace water control structures that allow the NWR staff to optimize seasonal habitat conditions and control invasive species.

“Improving the ability to efficiently control water levels in these wetlands greatly enhances their value as habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife” said Ducks Unlimited regional biologist Ben Lewis. “Chincoteague NWR is an important wintering area for waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds in the mid-Atlantic region.”

Chincoteague NWR encompasses approximately 14,000 acres on the lower end of Assateague Island in Virginia. The refuge provides critical migratory and over wintering habitat for thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water birds in the Atlantic Flyway. A key component of the refuge is a series of fresh and brackish water impoundments totaling approximately 2,600 acres that were built in the 1950s and 1960s and are managed for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. Refuge managers enhance habitat quality in these impoundments by manipulating water levels throughout the year to benefit different plant and animal species.

Currently, management of two of these refuge impoundments, the 368-acre Old Fields Impoundment and the 793-acre North Wash Flats Impoundment, is limited. The project will replace old water-control structures with state-of-the-art aluminum inline structures, allowing refuge personnel to more effectively manage water levels to provide optimal habitat for waterfowl.
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Pamunkey Farms: Model for habitat conservation

In partnership with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Ducks Unlimited (DU) restored a 15-acre wetland in June 2007, which is providing much-needed shallow-water habitat containing high-energy foods. This wetland will trap excess sediment, as well as nutrients from cattle and agriculture, resulting in improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. David Norris, senior private lands biologist for the VDGIF, designed the wetland and provided on-site construction management. This wetland was dedicated to the memory of Hill Carter Sr., a passionate conservationist from the Hanover area.

A collaboration of nine agencies representing state and federal government and nonprofit organizations turned Hanover County's Pamunkey Farms into a model for conservation. Other partners on the project include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, VDGIF, Walker Family Foundation, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Corrections, Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Pamunkey Farms is a model of how agricultural best management practices (BMPs) can improve and protect water quality while providing important wildlife habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Scientists estimate that the BMPs used at Pamunkey Farms can reduce nitrogen runoff by 12 million pounds if installed on farms throughout the watershed.

Pamunkey Farms dedication
Members of the Hill Carter Sr. family and Walker Family Foundation gather around the memorial display during the Pamunkey Farms dedication.

This project is a critical piece of DU's larger effort to encourage eastern Virginia landowners to consider wetlands, cover crops and other BMPs on their riparian lands, not only because it keeps valuable soil intact, but also because these practices provide important habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife.

Because grazing cattle can damage streams, riverbanks and wetlands, as well as contribute significant pollution to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Pamunkey Farms now rotates cattle between fenced-in 10-acre paddocks with a central water source. This grazing system more evenly distributes cow manure, conserves tillage and cover crops and decreases the dependence on manufactured fertilizers.

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Porter forested wetland

In 2003, Ducks Unlimited partnered with a private landowner in Southampton County to enhance a 50-acre forested wetland. The project was completed in 2007 after several delays caused by weather and permitting.

The wetland was constructed by rehabilitating old logging roads and reshaping them to act as levees. Five water control structures were installed to manipulate water levels in order to promote the growth of understory plants that will benefit wintering waterfowl and songbirds. Examples of these plants include various species of sedges, rushes, smartweeds and millet.

Porter forested wetland
The Porter site in Southampton County, shown above, will provide wintering waterfowl with 50 acres of prime wetland habitat in SE Virginia.

This site is flooded temporarily during the fall and winter months in order to attract ducks, mainly mallards and wood ducks, by providing important feeding and loafing habitat. It is designed to hold water while trees are dormant. The flooding of bottomland hardwoods to a depth of 1 to 18 inches provides ducks with access to fallen acorns and other seeds.

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