Our mission is to create and strengthen programs that create long term economic and environmental value for protecting fragile wetlands ecosystems.
The Northern Neck needs wetlands. Tidal (salt or brackish water) and non-tidal (fresh water) wetlands deliver eco-services, or benefits to humans, along more than 1400 miles of shoreline and tributaries of the mighty Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. These valuable wetlands filter water, protect our shorelines from erosion, provide habitat for wildlife, and shelter the nurseries that sustain our seafood industry.
But wetlands are under stress from human activities and natural events. Without voluntary participation by the general public, our wetlands will be lost or degraded and we will lose the eco-services so badly needed to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and protect our low-lying coastal areas from sea level rise.
The Wetlands Project incorporated in June 2013 and was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status in May 2014. In a very short period of time, we have developed an efficient and stream-lined infrastructure, initiated a campaign to bring our message to the public and gained a reputation as an organization that gets things done.
The Wetlands Adventure Trail is an interpretive guide that develops and nurtures the important local connections between community heritage, wetlands preservation and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Focusing on local natural attractions creates a unique opportunity to deliver a targeted environmental message to raise awareness for wetlands preservation.The guide is an on-line information document organized by topic that is accessed on-site by visitors with smartphone or tablet capability. Similar to a tourism brochure, the information includes photos, specific site references, activities for children and details that will enhance the visitor experience.The Wetlands Adventure Trail informs the local community about the environmental and economic importance of highly productive wetlands ecosystems, and delivers the consistent message that wetlands preservation is an option to always consider before making land use choices.
Virginia’s General Assembly has directed that “living shorelines” are now the preferred method of treating shoreline erosion. It is more important than ever that our contractors in the field know the importance of recommending this technique that will preserve our vital tidal wetland ecosystems.
The October 7, 2015 workshop was developed at the request of contractors and “regulators” alike. Partners include Friends of the Rappahannock and Lancaster County, Virginia .
As property owners become better informed and take a keener interest in pursuing voluntary shoreline management concepts, it is important that everyone involved in the project development communicate in an effective and consistent manner. In particular, contractors who work up and down the shoreline of the Northern Neck need to be up-to-date on the latest wetlands requirements and available resources.
1. Improve general wetlands ecology and ecosystem knowledge of contractors.
The Wetlands Project is developing a coalition of Northern Neck business and community leaders to raise public awareness for issues and adaptation strategies that may be required as sea levels rise. The role of wetlands in coastal resiliency is a key point related to protecting low-lying areas that experience regular flooding. Long-term economic effects of sea level rise on the community will most likely be property damage, declining property values resulting from erosion, and diminishing returns from the seafood industry
Northern Neck counties comprehensive planning and local organizations are addressing some aspects of this looming problem, but there is very little engagement by the general public. Although there is a vast amount of information available, it is in some ways “inaccessible” to the public due to the complex nature of data and technology. A “Coastal Resiliency” Project Group would help filter and communicate the relevant wetlands conservation issues.
1. Conserve and preserve existing wetlands ~ Wetland assets for the Northern Neck are clearly identified. Use existing publically available mapping technology, data and research to inform the general public of the importance of these natural areas in coastal resiliency planning.
2. Inform the general public of shoreline areas most vulnerable to storm surge ~ Use publically available mapping technology, studies, historical data and future projections
3. Restore degraded wetlands and create new wetlands for education and recreation ~ Investigate potential for public-private partnerships to engage the public and retrofit “stagnant” assets into other uses:
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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