On April 24, 2018 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired 51 acres as an addition to the James River National Wildlife Refuge in Prince George County, Virginia. Known as “Osprey Nest,” the purchase was made possible through the Rivers of the Chesapeake Land and Water Conservation Fund Collaborative, an initiative of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership.
With a quarter mile of frontage on the historic James River, the property permanently protects habitat used by its namesake species, the osprey, and numerous other migratory birds. The refuge lies in the heart of the Lower James River Important Bird Area, designated by the National Audubon Society as “globally important” for its value to migratory birds, especially the American bald eagle. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail passes directly in front of the property along the James River, giving boaters and paddlers another quarter mile of natural habitat and wildlife to view.
Since fiscal year 2015, the Rivers of the Chesapeake collaborative received over $27 million in appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund directed to four federal land management agencies: National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. To date, nine properties totaling over 7,000 acres have been conserved with more in progress. These properties include Werowocomoco, a nationally significant cultural and historic site, as well as thousands of acres of habitat important for wildlife, water quality, and future public access to the Bay, its tributaries, and its watershed.