James River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of four refuges that comprise the Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge encompasses 4,200 acres of forest and wetland habitats along the James River, bordered by Powells Creek to the west, and the historic Flowerdew Hundred Plantation to the east. Located in Prince George County, Virginia, the refuge is 8 miles southeast of the City of Hopewell and 30 miles southeast of the City of Richmond.
Comprehensive Conservation Planning
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has just begun the development of a 15-year comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental assessment (EA) for James River National Wildlife Refuge. Provisions of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 require the development of CCPs for all national wildlife refuges. The planning process involves public input, and will consider many elements of refuge management, including habitat and wildlife management, endangered and threatened species management, public use, refuge infrastructure, and proposals for special area designations. The CCP will provide other agencies and the public with a clear understanding of the desired conditions for the refuge, and how the Service will implement management strategies.
In August 2012, the Service announced the opening of the public scoping period for the James River NWR CCP. The Service will be accepting comments on what the public sees as the issues, concerns, and challenges for the refuge over the next 15 years. For more information about the public scoping process, please read the news release or the latest planning newsletter.
Please visit the James River NWR Planning website if you would like more information about the CCP process and current status of the James River CCP.
The Nature Conservancy purchased 3,538 acres of land, which is now James River NWR, in May 1988 to ensure that continued use of the land by bald eagles would not be jeopardized. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the land from the Nature Conservancy in March 1991 under the authority of the Endangered Species Act.
The refuge was established to protect nesting and roosting habitat for the then threatened American bald eagle (the bald eagle was delisted in 2007). A secondary objective was to provide the public with a place to view wildlife in its natural environment, so that the public may better appreciate the refuge's role in conservation of wildlife resources.
A 613 acre parcel known as Maycocks Point was purchased and added to the refuge in 1992 to further protect bald eagle habitat, including a major bald eagle feeding roost. ;
National priorities such as funding military operations overseas, homeland security, and hurricane relief have resulted in declining federal discretionary funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other Department of the Interior agencies. This decline is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, and the Service must make financial and human resource changes to manage effectively in this situation. Due to declining budgets and increased operating costs, the Service has designated numerous refuges as unstaffed satellite refuges. Three refuges of the Eastern Virginia Rivers NWR Complex, James River, Plum Tree Island, and Presquile NWRs, have been designated as unstaffed satellites and are being managed from the Complex headquarters in Warsaw, Virginia.