Rappahannock River Valley is one of three national wildlife refuges that comprise the Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge was established in 1996 to conserve fish and wildlife habitat along this vital tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. We focus primarily on protecting and managing tidal and inland wetlands, and adjacent uplands, to benefit bald eagles, other migratory birds, and resident wildlife. In doing so, we contribute to the natural diversity of the mid-Atlantic region, which includes the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Some areas of the refuge, particularly grasslands, are managed intensively, while on most areas Mother Nature is the primary manager. Where necessary to maintain and improve the health and diversity of habitats, we may used prescribed fire, mowing, and other techniques to achieve desired results.
Many migratory bird species common, and some uncommon, to the Chesapeake Bay region can be seen on the refuge in their native habitats of pond, fields and woodlands. Over 200 species of birds have been observed on the refuge. White-tailed deer are abundant, and bald eagles are present year-round.