Working in conjunction with the James River Park System Invasive Plant Task Force (JRPS), the James River Association (JRA) has been leading invasive plant removals on Chapel Island since 2014.  We lead monthly volunteer days to assist the park system in their efforts to remove invasive plants and restore habitat for native plants and animals. 

In 2021 JRA received funding from the Virginia Department of Forestry to remove 4 acres of invasive shrubs and replant the area with over 400 native trees and shrubs, but maintaining this area has been challenging. In 2022 JRA received Virginia Department of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service’s support through a 2022 Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Grant which enabled the treatment and removal of new invasive plants that are still growing in the area. A local group, Future Habitats LLC, completed a second round of invasive plant management in November, helping JRA and JRPS ensure the 4 acres of native trees planted in 2021 do not resort back to a mass of Chinese Privet.

Additionally through the 2023 Coastal Resilience and Trees Fund Grant, made possible by Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Wetlands Watch, JRA expanded our efforts on Chapel Island into parts of the park we have been unable to get to before. Virginia Forestry and Wildlife Group was able to treat a full 2 acres of Chinese Privet, Amur Honeysuckle, Tree of Heaven, and Callery Pear. Their efforts on-site were completed just prior to Thanksgiving. This newly treated area removed dense invasive vegetation between the main walking trail at the park and the James River which opens new views and paths for parkgoers.

With a combined 6 acres of invasive plant management now completed, James River Association and the James River Park System would like to give a huge thanks to the opportunities provided to us by our different funders as well as the many community volunteers who have lent a hand for the effort. JRA is well on our way to restoring Chapel Island to its native habitat!

You can find more information about our efforts on Chapel Island, and our other volunteer opportunities by clicking here.