Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Reggie Hall/The Conservation Fund
The Rappahannock has been recognized as a river of national significance, providing freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay as well as habitat for globally rare plant species, regionally important fish populations, neotropical birds species and raptors. The Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a relatively new refuge, founded in 1996, and has the goal of protecting 20,000 acres. The refuge lies along the Atlantic Flyway, the migratory route for millions of birds. It is home to the largest population of wintering bald eagles in the state as well as shorebirds, raptors and marsh birds. Currently, the refuge has nearly 8,000 acres and continues growing.
We’re helping with that effort.
In 2008, as part of the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program(ACUB), we helped secure nearly 700 acres of conservation easements that will protect this area’s natural and archaeological resources, while forming a buffer zone that limits development around one of the East Coast’s largest military training installations. The ACUB program identifies priority land around installations and allows them to partner with agencies and non-governmental organizations to share the cost of acquiring conservation easements from willing landowners. Our success along the Rappahannock stems from a public-private partnership with the U.S. Army, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others.
Prior to 2008, we joined forces with Bass Pro Shops, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a generous landowner to protect and restore 460 acres as an addition to the Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge. Located along Farnham Creek, a tributary of the Rappahannock, the land features wetlands and forests that are ideal habitat for migrating waterfowl and songbirds.