VCU's River Campus

The VCU Rice Rivers Center, is part of VCU Life Sciences, supporting scholarship and student instruction across diverse disciplines, including water resources, climate science, wildlife conservation, and wetlands restoration.

Located midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia along the historic James River, our 360 acres of riparian marshes, tidal creeks, and mature forests represent a unique outdoor laboratory for important applied research and innovative, experiential classes. The Center’s modern facilities offer offices, classrooms, laboratories, and overnight lodging for students, faculty, visiting scholars, and community groups. State-of-the-art technologies are deployed onsite to collect information on air and water quality, fish and avian migrations, changing sea levels, and a host of other critical data sources. Our ongoing partnerships with state and federal natural resource and earth science agencies provide significant training opportunities for student scholars.

Science that matters to everyone


U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman and P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation, saw a demonstration of an experimental way to harvest invasive blue catfish at the VCU Rice Rivers Center on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Schumacher, district director for Rep. Wittman.)

Sept. 8, 2022

Rep. Wittman visits VCU’s Rice Rivers Center, observes an experimental way to more efficiently harvest invasive blue catfish

The congressman visited VCU’s “river campus” to hear about research on sturgeon, tidal wetlands restoration and more.

The Chickahominy Indian Tribe's recently re-acquired Mamanahunt ancestral lands is the focus of one of the VCU Rice Rivers Center projects. (Photo courtesy of the Chickahominy Tribe.)

July 18, 2022

VCU Rice Rivers Center provides environmental expertise to Pamunkey, Chickahominy Tribes to help protect their lands

Two new projects will emphasize research, training and emerging technologies to support critical Tribal efforts.

Person on dock speaking to people in kayaks on the water

July 5, 2022

Footprints on the James focus of VCU News Exposure article

Kayaks. Campfires. Microscopes. Students soaked up knowledge of the James River’s natural history and biodiversity over five adventure-filled weeks.