The York River & Small Coastal Basin Roundtable is thrilled to announce the launch of the Coastal Wetlands Plan for the York River, Piankatank River, and Mobjack Bay. Developing a document to bolster the region’s wetlands, which cover more than 220,000 acres and support a diverse array of fish, wildlife, and plants, was among the Roundtable’s first priorities. Our writing team has spent the past year hard at work creating the Wetlands Plan to support broad collaboration on wetland conservation, research, and action. Our Plan intends to enhance coordination and collaboration among partner organizations and landowners to respond to the many threats facing coastal wetlands and the communities they support.

The Plan outlines six long-term strategies and fourteen specific, shorter-term goals to support wetland conservation, restoration, creation, and enhancement. The coastal wetlands along the York River, Piankatank River, and Mobjack Bay provide unique habitats in Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including ecologically sensitive areas with freshwater marshes, like Dragon Run and the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers. If wetlands in our region continue to decline, we risk losing threatened and endangered species, including several of the state’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need, like Mabee’s salamander, the spotted turtle, the glossy Ibis, and the American black duck, to name a few. 

We know that a flourishing wetland ecosystem also supports many ecotourism activities, like education, birding, kayaking, hiking, hunting, and fishing, and brings diverse visitors to the region. Wetlands can also reduce shoreline erosion, enhance water quality, and provide long-term carbon storage. However, these benefits are threatened by pressures like land development, land use change, rising sea levels, increasing storm intensity and frequency, and habitat degradation due to invasive species and polluted stormwater runoff. If you have not yet seen the Plan, I encourage you to read it for yourself and share it within your networks.

Do you want to learn more about the details about the Plan, its strategies, and how partners can get involved? Join the next Lunch-and-Learn Series webinar to hear directly from the authors of the Plan and have the opportunity to discuss details and implementation. The webinar will include plenty of time for Q&A! Register for the July 18th webinar here.