Passport to Nature

Celebrating Restoration on the James River

“Clean water is essential to our economy, our quality of life and our connection to nature.” —Michael Lipford, Virginia Executive Director

By Daniel White

With swirling clouds and barely a hint of fall in the balmy air, I recently joined several colleagues from The Nature Conservancy along the banks of the James River to celebrate a major wetland and stream restoration project.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Center, VCU’s field station for environmental studies located in Charles City County, hosted the event and the project. In addition to preserving 200 surrounding acres through a conservation easement, the Conservancy and VCU’s partnership involved breaching a 1920s-era dam, restoring 70 acres of wetlands and reconnecting Kimages Creek to the James.

On a hill overlooking the now free-flowing creek, the event kicked off with remarks from Virginia director Michael Lipford, VCU faculty and dignitaries. Virginia Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources Anthony Moore hailed the Kimages Creek project as “a future model for collaborations to restore the Chesapeake Bay.”

“A lot of the mistakes we make in terms of the environment end up in the water,” Michael said during his turn at the podium. “We have to do a better job of restoring our streams and wetlands because clean water is essential to our economy, our quality of life and our connection to nature.”

The Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund—a partnership involving primarily the Conservancy, Army Corps of Engineers and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality—provided key project funding. NOAA and American Rivers are lending additional support and expertise, and at least 15 VCU students are continuing valuable research on the site’s ecology and restoration.

Launch our Kimages Creek slideshow and go behind the scenes at our restoration celebration.

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