Hog Island WMA – A Shoreline Success Story

Hog Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is one of Virginia’s coastal wildlife treasures.  Located in in Surry County, Hog Island WMA is well known to hunters, birders and fishermen because of its unique location on the James River which attracts a variety of waterfowl and other wildlife.

Hog Island is actually a peninsula jutting out into the James—which made it ideal for the early colonial settlers to raise hogs, and is how the “island” it got its name.  But the narrow western shoreline– including the main access road–had been battered repeatedly by high waves from hurricanes and tropical storms, severely eroding the bank and causing a hazard to drivers.  The freshwater impoundments were also in danger of being breeched by brackish water from the James. The access road was washing away!

In October, 2010 the Department took action.  In cooperation with Hurt and Proffitt, the Center for Coastal Resources Management from Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Beach Consultants, Inc., a plan was developed.

hog-island01The Department would develop a “living shoreline,” a strategic placement of plants, stone and sand fill that serve the natural processes and connections between upland and aquatic areas.

Concerns were raised by the US Fish and Wildlife Services as to the effect that the removal of a narrow band of trees on would affect the eagle population from using the shoreline for forging.  In January, 2012, work began after all concerns were addressed and all permits were in hand.

Now five years after the completion of the project, the ‘living shoreline’ is undoubtedly a success.  The Department has a new living and growing shoreline that attracts wildlife–including the eagles–and has established a protective barrier for the main access road and the freshwater ponds.   The investment of the sportsmen’s funds entrusted to the Department will continue to protect and provide quality public access to the WMA!

  • November 30th, 2016