Wetland research and restoration
Wetlands are more than just a natural habitat — their ecosystems are constantly working to maintain the health of the planet, and ourselves.
A major wetland and stream restoration effort is underway at the VCU Rice Rivers Center. Kimages Creek runs through the heart of the center.
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.
New environmental technologies, like this three-dimensional LiDAR model of Rice Rivers Center, allow for precision monitoring of wetland ecosystems.
Time-lapse video of the dam removal
In 2010, a section of the dam was removed, reuniting the creek, its wetlands and the tidal waters of the James River. Center researchers collaborated with natural resource agencies and organizations to restore the area to its natural hydrology and ecology. Faculty and student projects now are monitoring the restoration of native plants in the wetland, which is making a significant increase in this critical habitat along the lower James.
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: American Rivers, The Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, The Army Corps of Engineers, and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.