Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Virginialast updated: December 2015

Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) is a voluntary program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was established nationally in 1987 to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat on their property. Partnerships are a key component of the program and can be with various entities including, but not limited to, other federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profit organiztions, educational institutions, and private landowners. The program was initiated in Virginia in 1989.


Since 1989, the PFW program in Virginia has completed activites on over 24,817 acres and 275 miles including:

  • Wetlands - 9,322 acres have been restored, 2,692 acres enhanced, 1,251 acres established, and 7,475 acres protected;
  • Uplands - 1,312 acres have been restored, 242 acres enhanced, 1,293 acres established, and an additional 1,230 acres protected; and
  • Riparian - 264 miles have been restored, 1 mile enhanced, and an additional 10 miles protected.


Migratory Birds

The Eastern Shore of Virginia/Maryland/Delaware is a critical area for migratory waterbirds and songbirds. The PFW program has focused on establishment of vegetative corridors to link blocks of high quality habitats in this coastal zone, providing safe passage for migrating birds.

Forested Wetlands

Virginia has lost 42% of its original wetlands since the 1780s. Substantial wetland losses have continued in recent decades. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the largest loss of forested wetlands in the 1980's was in Virginia. It is estimated that Virginia lost more than 17,800 acres of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed between 1982 and 1989, primarily due to conversion for agriculture and urban related development. Sixty-four percent of Virginia's remaining freshwater wetlands, predominantly forested wetlands, are located in the coastal plain. Of these, a large number have been ditched, impairing many of their natural functions.

Endangered Species

Virginia harbors 66 enadangered, threatened, and candidate species, the highest concentration on the Atlantic Coast. The Upper Tennessee River Basin of southwest Virginia is a globally rare ecosystem with an unusually high diversity of aquatic freshwater species, 27 species of federally listed fishes and mussels.


Many of the threats to healthy ecosystems in Virginia are the same threats found in other geographic areas.  Agriculture has historically been the primary cause of wetland losses.  Inconsistent use of best management practices on farms adds to concerns for water quality and wildlife habitat.  In the Coastal Plain, development pressure is great.  Rapid, large-scale development in northern and southeast Virginia have resulted in large wetland losses, stream channel erosion, and serious impacts to water quality in our streams, rivers, and bays.  Increased sedimentation rates have wiped out large areas of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake and Back Bay watersheds, reducing their value for fish and wildlife.  In the mountains of Virginia, coal mining activities and the lack of wide-spread use of best management practices in silvicultural and agricultural operations threatens water quality and ecosystem stability.  Invasive species are an added concern in many habitats. 


Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Virginia

Bridgett Costanzo
State Coordinator
6669 Short Lane
Gloucester, Virginia  23061
Phone: 804-824-2416


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Virginia

Office Locaters

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