birds
May 18, 2020

McGuireWoods Consulting Fights for Habitat for Displaced Waterbird Colony in Hampton Roads

When construction began on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel’s South Island, hundreds of waterbirds were displaced from their natural habitat. The migrating birds were left without a habitat to return to, and no place to start a successful breeding season, until the American Bird Conservancy and McGuireWoods Consulting stepped in.

McGuireWoods Consulting chairman, Mark Bowles, senior vice president, Preston Bryant, and assistant vice president, Travis Blankenship, worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide a new habitat for the waterbirds on Rip Raps Island, an island adjacent to South Island.

A May 15 article from the American Bird Conservancy noted that the Commonwealth has positioned barges near the island and covered them in sand-gravel substrate to make the surface attractive for the nesting birds.

“The completion of this habitat project is a significant victory for our migratory birds and wildlife efforts in the Commonwealth,” said Ryan Brown, Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “The Department is grateful for Governor Northam's support, as well as the assistance of our partner agencies and organizations, and proud of what we have collectively achieved.”

Looking forward, Virginia is expected to expand and create additional habitat for the waterbirds.

“Governor Ralph Northam made ambitious commitments to ensure that the birds – the region's largest waterbird colony – would be accommodated while also keeping the much-needed Hampton Roads construction project moving. He has kept those commitments, and I believe what we're seeing is a lasting bird conservation legacy in the making,” said American Bird Conservancy president, Mike Parr.