“Community organizations around the globe recognize the economic benefits that healthy wetlands contribute to their livelihoods and are exploring a range of opportunities to raise awareness for wetland conservation at the local level. The Wetlands Project is proud to be a partner in wetlands conservation projects  developed at the community level by local stakeholders.”

– Kate Daniel, Executive Director

Our Mission

The Wetlands Project funds and promotes community-based projects and programs that strengthen economic motivation for wetlands conservation.

About The Wetlands Project

Background: The Wetlands Project evolved from research investigating investment opportunities related to waterfront zoning and permit consulting services, wetlands preservation and shoreline restoration. Upon review of the regulatory environment, the capital investment costs of shoreline restoration methods and the rapid pace of wetlands decline,  a non-profit corporation was formed to deliver direct benefits to small communities.

What makes us different: Our vision is to help communities strengthen programs that create long-term economic value for protecting fragile wetland ecosystems.

  • We know that local stakeholders are most knowledgeable of how to encourage stewardship of fragile wetland ecosystems in their own communities.
  • Our small, targeted projects resonate with local communities because the projects have realistic and attainable goals that are achievable within a specific time period.
  • This approach allows us to focus on strategic planning for short-term project delivery, rather than long-term funding requirements.

Why Wetlands are Important

The following information is taken from the website of Wetlands International, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands.:

  • Wetlands are highly variable and dynamic: they are water bodies but also include land. They are freshwater, brackish or saline, inland or coastal, seasonal or permanent, natural or man-made. Wetlands include mangroves, (peat) swamps and marshes, rivers, lakes, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs.
  • Wetlands are one of the world’s most important environmental assets, containing a disproportionately high number of plant and animal species compared to other areas of the world. Throughout history they have been integral to human survival and development.
  • Wetlands are vulnerable to over-exploitation due to their abundance of fish, fuel and water.
  • The rate of loss and deterioration of wetlands is accelerating in all regions of the world. The pressure on wetlands is likely to intensify in the coming decades due to increased global demand for land and water, as well as climate change.

A new study, “Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States”, presents evidence that the rate of wetland decline in the US in recent years has increased in some areas by as much as 25%. This decline can be attributed to many factors including storms, seal-level rise and extensive coastal development. (T.E. Dahl and S.M. Stedman. 2013. Status and trends of wetlands in the coastal watersheds
of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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News and Media

Wetlands Summit – May 2014

Co-sponsored by The Wetlands Project, the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Northern Neck Planning District Commission, The Wetlands Summit will be a  meeting of Virginia’s Northern Neck leaders, community groups and environmental educators.  In celebration of American Wetlands Month in May, this will be an opportunity for  participants to learn basic wetlands characteristics, identify challenges to wetlands conservation in the Northern Neck, view demonstrations of  resources available to conservation groups, and identify “key” players in local wetlands conservation.

“This will be an opportunity for  participants to become informed about the goals of different organizations,, how they operate, the strengths of their organizations and the constraints within their operations. Ideally, volunteer groups will leave the summit with a new understanding of how to reach beyond their existing audience and to work together in support of programs that provide economic benefits to their community within the broader context of wetlands and shoreline conservation.” –

– Kate Daniel, Executive Director, The Wetlands Project

~  Summit details are still under development.  Check back soon for more information.

Port Royal King Street Project – Spring 2014

Working in collaboration with Friends of the Rappahannock, the town of Port Royal and other agencies and groups, the Wetlands Project will provide funding for interpretive signage and a project coordinator.
“The Wetlands Project will provide funding for the design and installation of interpretative signage related to the shoreline restoration and historical significance of the site.  In addition, we will fund the short-term appointment of a paid  project coordinator who will lead the community volunteer team tasked with ensuring that all aspects of the project are properly communicated and accomplished in a timely and efficient manner.”
~ Kate Daniel, Executive Director, The Wetlands Project

Waterman Eco-Tourism Training Program – November 2013

The Wetlands Project provided funding for the on-water (chartered boat) portion of a training program to introduce Virginia’s working watermen to ecotourism opportunities.
“Employment opportunities for watermen and others who work in and around the Chesapeake Bay are influenced by poor water quality. Wetlands play a vital role in decreasing the amount of harmful substances that flow from the land into our waterways. The watermen in this ecotourism program are now in a unique position to personally communicate a ‘healthy bay, healthy economy’ message to visitors and residents alike.”
~ Kate Daniel, Executive Director, The Wetlands Project

The Wetlands Project has also established two permanent programs:

Wetlands Scholar: An annual  $5000 scholarship is awarded based on academic merit and demonstrated financial need. This scholarship will encourage students in their final year of study in a wetlands science field to complete their education with less financial debt.

Wetlands Emergency Reserve:  The Emergency Reserve was established to provide  small communities with immediate financial assistance to assess damage and when possible, remove debris and repair access to sensitive wetlands following a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.  This rapid response will help mitigate some of the long-term negative effects on migratory species that depend on a healthy habitat and plentiful food supply for their long journeys.