Blair’s Wharf: Completing The James River National Wildlife Refuge
Bald eagles are back in a big way on the James River. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr
For more than 25 years, the Fund has worked with partners to fulfill their conservation goals. In 2010, we transferred 125 acres and nearly a mile of shoreline along the James River in Prince George County to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). “The Blair’s Wharf tract is a key acquisition for the refuge,” said Refuge Manager Joe McCauley.
The USFWS requested the Fund purchase and hold the property until funding became available. Members of the Virginia congressional delegation worked to ensure a series of appropriations for the USFWS to purchase the land from the Fund.
Blair’s Wharf is completely surrounded by the James River National Wildlife Refuge but remained in private ownership until 2008. The property boasts one of the highest concentrations of bald eagles east of the Mississippi River and includes miles of natural shoreline that protect the river’s ecology and retains the landscape that gives the region its identity. “As a result of this work, modern adventurers on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail will see a view much like the one Virginia Indians and Capt. Smith saw here in 1607. The Blair’s Wharf acquisition is one of the first along the National Historic Trail and we were pleased to support this effort,” David O’Neill, president of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is the first all-water National Historic Trail. It traces Smith’s monumental 1607-1609 voyages of exploration in the Chesapeake Bay region, including his travels up the James River along what is now the James River National Wildlife Refuge.