Virginia Field Office
Northeast Region
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Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Goals

Restore the habitats of federal trust species on private lands, including tribal, county and municipal lands

Restore wetlands, riparian, in-stream and native upland habitats

Remove barriers to fish passage

Leverage funds and resources through efficient state, federal and private partnerships

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Connect with Us

Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) is a voluntary program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was established nationally in 1987 to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat on their property. Partnerships are a key component of the program and can be with various entities including, but not limited to, other federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and private landowners. The program was initiated in Virginia in 1989.


Since 1989, the PFW Program in Virginia has completed activities on over 30,883 acres and 512 miles including:

  • Wetlands - 9,737 acres restored, 674 acres enhanced, 1,251 acres established, and 10,137 acres protected;
  • Uplands - 5,058 acres restored, 2,566 acres enhanced, and an additional 1,460 acres protected;
  • Riparian and Instream - 160 miles restored, 24 miles enhanced, and an additional 12 miles protected; and
  • Miles of River Reconnected - 316 miles.


Forested Wetlands
Virginia has lost approximately 50% of its original wetlands since the 1780s. Substantial wetland losses have continued in recent decades. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the largest loss of forested wetlands in the 1980s 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.

Endangered Species
Virginia harbors more than 70 federally listed endangered and threatened species. The Upper Tennessee River Basin of southwest Virginia is a globally rare ecosystem with an unusually high diversity of aquatic freshwater species, 29 species of federally listed fishes and mussels and one crayfish.


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 agricultural best management practices adds to concerns for water quality and wildlife habitat.  In the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, development pressure is great.  Rapid, large-scale development in northern and southeast Virginia resulted in large wetland losses, stream channel erosion, and impacts to water quality in our streams, rivers, and bays.  In the mountains of Virginia, energy extraction 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. 



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Last updated: August 24, 2018