Map of Partners project location in Virginia
(PDF- click on map for full size version)
Since 1989, the Partners Program in Virginia has carried out restoration activites on over 24,817 acres and 275 miles of riparian habitat including:
- 9,322 acres of wetlands have been restored, 2,692 acres have been enhanced, 1,251 acres have been etsablished, and 7,475 acres have been protected
- 1,312 acres of uplands have been restored, 242 acres have been enhanced, 1,293 acres have been established, and 1,230 acres have been protected
- 264 miles of riparian habitat have been restored, 1 mile enhanced, and 10 miles protected
- Restore historic habitat conditions, targeting wetlands and streams
- Recovery of habitat for threatened and endangered species
- Consideration of landscape setting to maximize benefits
- Creation of large blocks of habitat to link refugia and offset development pressure, especially in coastal areas
- Work with landowners for “win-win” partnerships that foster pride in good stewardship of the land
HABITATS OF SPECIAL CONCERN
The Eastern Shore of Virginia/Maryland/Delaware is a critical area for migratory waterbirds and songbirds. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program has focused on establishment of vegetative corridors to link blocks of high quality habitats in this coastal zone, providing safe passage for migrating birds.
Virginia has lost 42% of its original wetlands since the 1780s. Substantial wetland losses have continued, even into recent decades. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the heaviest loss of forested wetlands in the 1980's was in Virginia. It is estimated that Virginia lost more than 17,800 acres of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed between 1982 and 1989, primarily due to conversion for agriculture and urban related development. Sixty-four percent of Virginia's remaining freshwater wetlands, predominantly forested wetlands, are located in the coastal plain. Of these, a large number have been ditched, impairing many of their natural functions.
Virginia harbors 66 enadangered, threatened, and candidate species, the highest concentration on the Atlantic Coast. The Upper Tennessee River Basin of southwest Virginia is a globally rare ecosystem with an unusually high diversity of all species, and 27 species of federally listed fish and mussels. Bald eagle (federally threatened) summer concentration areas in Virginia contain more birds than any other sites east of the Mississippi.
Many of the threats to healthy ecosystems in Virginia are the same threats found in other geographic areas. Agriculture has historically been the primary cause of wetland losses. Inconsistent use of best management practices on farms adds to concerns for water quality and wildlife habitat. In the Coastal Plain, development pressure is great. Rapid, large-scale development in northern and southeast Virginia have resulted in large wetland losses, stream channel erosion, and serious impacts to water quality in our streams, rivers, and bays. Increased sedimentation rates have wiped out large areas of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake and Back Bay watersheds, reducing their value for fish and wildlife. In the mountains of Virginia, coal mining activities and the lack of wide-spread use of best management practices in silvicultural and agricultural operations threatens water quality and ecosystem stability. Invasive species are an added concern in many habitats. Phragmites australis (common reed) dominates thousands of acres of coastal marsh. The threat of a potential zebra mussel invasion is a looming concern for freshwater mussel fauna.
State Program Fact Sheet- PDF