- The James River National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide long term protection of nationally significant habitat for the threatened bald eagle. The refuge is identified as the largest summer roosting area for juvenile bald eagles east of the Mississippi River.
The adjacent James River provides excellent foraging habitat for eagles that begin to arrive in early April. As many as 1,000 bald eagles visit the refuge over the course of the summer. The majority of the adult eagles are post-breeding birds are from the southeast, while the juvenile birds come from the entire East coast.
Although bald eagles use the refuge most heavily in the summer, the refuge provides a year round roosting area for both mature and immature bald eagles. The refuge also supports several bald eagle nests.
Powells Creek and James River are important spawning and nursing sites for alewives, American shad, blueback herrings, gizzard shad, hickory shad and striped bass. American shad spawn in shallow water flats and may be a food source that influences the congregation of eagles on the James River National Wildlife Refuge.
The James River National Wildlife Refuge is rich in history. The refuge has been occupied by prehistoric Native Americans, English settlers, colonists, and Civil War troops. James River National Wildlife Refuge is within two river miles of where General Grant's troops crossed the James River in his preparation of the Battle of Petersburg.
Recreation - Petersburg is just north of this refuge offering historical sites, restaurants, culture and entertainment.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The eastern portion of the state has winter temperatures averaging above 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The eastern portion of Virginia generally experiences temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). High humidity along with warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
The James River National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 10 miles south of Hopewell, Virginia in Prince George County.