Tidal freshwater wetlands: among the most biodiverse of Virginia's ecosystems

Wetlands provide critically important ecosystem services. Located between upland terrestrial habitats and deep-water aquatic habitats, and at the head of coastal estuaries, tidal freshwater wetlands act as:

  • nature's kidneys for their ability to clean surface and groundwater
  • nature's supermarkets for the role they play in supporting terrestrial and aquatic food webs
  • nature's bird bath, attracting an abundance of bird species that use these ecosystems for protection, food and breeding habitat
  • nature's speed bumps, protecting coastal regions from Nor'easters and hurricanes, as well as mitigating downstream river flooding
  • a large role in Earth's climate cycle, storing large quantities of carbon, an providing critical nursery habitat to migratory bird and fish species

Research and Restoration

Kimages Creek Wetland Restoration

A major wetland and stream restoration effort is underway at the VCU Rice Rivers Center. Kimages Creek runs through the heart of the center.

a meandering waterway flanked by verdant woodlands

Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative

Rice Rivers Center is a part of ecosystem-based study sites across the Chesapeake Bay to measure the impacts of sea level rise in the Bay and help communities prepare for coastal flooding and other effects of changing climate conditions.

ron lopez working outdoors with biological field equipment

Emerging Technologies

New environmental technologies, like this three-dimensional LiDAR model of Rice Rivers Center, allow for precision monitoring of wetland ecosystems.

three dimensional model of the rice rivers center and surrounding land

Partner Organizations

The restored wetlands and stream are protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement held by The Nature Conservancy. Additional organizations whose partnership helped make the restored wetlands possible include: