James River National Wildlife Refuge Expansion
Located southeast of Richmond, the 4,200-acre James River National Wildlife Refuge is in Prince George County, Virginia. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) established the James River National Wildlife Refuge in 1991 to protect nationally significant habitat for bald eagles. The Chesapeake Conservancy helped accomplish the addition of Blair’s Wharf, a 125-acre property, into the James River National Widllife Refuge. Blair’s Wharf brings an additional 3,300′ of shoreline to the Refuge and over 15 acres of wetlands as identified by the National Wetland Inventory.
Together, Blair’s Wharf property and the Refuge are fully contained within the Audubon Lower James River Important Bird Area (IBA), a site which covers approximately 20 river miles of the James. The Lower James River IBA is recognized as one of the largest bald eagle roosting areas east of the Mississippi. Also found in the abundance of wooded habitat on the Blair’s Wharf property is the Prothonotary Warbler (a species on the Audubon watchlist), whose current distribution is a mere 10% of its historical distribution.