VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Jan. 30, 2018 – In the latest of four Virginia projects supported by Dominion Energy through its charitable arm, Ducks Unlimited will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore wetland habitat on Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation’s latest $25,000 contribution brings their total conservation support through DU to more than $115,000.
“The Back Bay NWR project will improve 600 acres of wetland habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds, as well as numerous state-listed endangered or threatened species,” DU Director of Conservation Programs Craig LeSchack said. “Dominion Energy’s support enabled us to secure the rest of the project funding through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.”
Deteriorating infrastructure and changes in coastal land use, tides and salinity levels have made it difficult for USFWS staff to manage the area. This situation contributed to nutrient discharges into the estuary and Atlantic Ocean and minimized habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
Ducks Unlimited will oversee design and construction of water-control infrastructure to vary water levels and improve food and habitat for waterfowl and wading birds. The work will also facilitate holding water on the wetlands, giving these natural sponges time to filter out pollutants and improve water quality in Back Bay.
“We are very pleased to support Ducks Unlimited in its ongoing mission to restore wetlands and protect essential habitats for waterfowl and other creatures on public lands in Virginia,” said C. Max Bartholomew Jr., regional director for Dominion Energy’s eastern region. “Helping to restore shrinking wetlands is one way we can help improve communities and preserve these pristine natural treasures for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Dominion Energy has supported DU projects on Mason Neck State Park, Princess Anne and Hog Island wildlife management areas and now on Back Bay NWR.
“Thanks to their continued investments, DU has improved several of Virginia’s public lands for waterfowl, other wetland-dependent wildlife and those who enjoy them. These same projects improve water quality and community resilience for area residents,” said DU Director of Development Chip Heaps.
Back Bay NWR is in southeastern Virginia along the Atlantic Ocean and in the city limits of Virginia Beach. The public has access to the area for boating, hunting, fishing, bicycling and hiking on eight miles of scenic trails.
“Wetlands provide many functions and values needed for sustaining wildlife and fishery resources, local communities and estuarine ecosystems, including ecological, recreational and economic benefits. Unfortunately, Virginia has lost more than 42 percent of its historic wetlands,” LeSchack said. “Projects like this one improve wetland functions, wildlife habitat and water quality in surrounding rivers and estuaries, as well as enhancing the resiliency of coastal communities.”
About the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation
Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy. The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion Energy. The Foundation supports nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.dominionenergy.com.