Whether you live in urban, suburban or rural areas, you can make a positive impact on surrounding fish and wildlife populations. Our web resources are intended to give you the tools to manage your Piedmont lands and waters for greater biodiversity, productivity, and environmental quality.
Places To Start
The more native plants in your landscape, the better it is for wildlife.
Improving aquatic and riparian areas is a great way to achieve beter water quality and create wildlife habitat. Whether you live on a 1/4 acre parcel or a 100 acre property, there is a lot that you can do to help.
Native Plants & Pollinators
Aquatic & Riparian Area Restoration
Find Sources of Funding
Go Native Go Local guide
From the Piedmont View
The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View
PEC teamed up with Mill Run Elementary School to create a naturally landscaped outdoor area for educating students, parents and the community. This past November, the school’s fourth and fifth grades participated in the project by planting 75 native trees and 135 native plants!
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded PEC a $200,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund this past October. With this grant, PEC will collaborate with Loudoun County, the Town of Lovettsville, Loudoun County Master Gardeners and Loudoun homeowners associations to implement projects that involve planting native trees and shrubs, improving stormwater facilities and reducing polluted runoff in Loudoun County communities.
Virginia’s state fish, the eastern brook trout, is in trouble. The Commonwealth’s only native trout has seen a sharp decline in population due to a detrimental combination of rising temperatures, physical barriers to streamflow, pollution, and habitat loss. Many expect the species to be added to VA’s Wildlife Action Plan list in the near future.
In the Eastern U.S., the crop that takes up the largest acreage isn’t corn, hay, or soybeans—it's mowed lawns.Our manicured lawns have a major impact on our surrounding environment, especially since a majority of modern yards sport non-native grasses and plants. Non-natives often require fertilizers to thrive in this region— chemicals that make their way into our nearby watersheds. Then there’s the desire to have perfectly green, clipped grass—meaning today’s lawns can require of a lot of water and gasoline.
For those of us old enough to remember when Looney Tunes ruled the afternoon cartoon television slot, the name Wile E. Coyote holds fond memories of a scrappy canine and his many failed attempts at catching the infamous and speedy Road Runner. To many children this was their first exposure to Canis latrans, who, next to the Gray Wolf, is North America’s other well-known and often misunderstood wild. While Wile E. Coyote is known to prowl about on the flat, long desert highways of the American West, our Eastern coyote here in Virginia inhabits a different kind of backdrop. Coyotes are found in almost every environment in our state: forests, fields, suburbs, and city alleys. They are a notoriously secretive and seldom seen species. If you do happen to see a coyote, it is most likely due to chance, illness (such as rabies, mange, canine distemper, etc.), or because the animal has become desensitized to humans, which is often the result of either intentional or unintentional feeding. Read More
This is my kind of weather! Red maples turn their namesake, broad wing hawks and other raptor migrate south, white-tailed deer enter the rut, and so many more fun things. Speaking of deer, here's a copy of a recent article I wrote on deer abundance and wildlife habitat. This text was taken from an email sent out on September 20th, 2013: Read More
Fall is a busy time for wildlife in the Piedmont, particularly for mammals as they rush to prepare for the coming winter – storing food caches, finding mates, and burrowing den sites. During this time, white-tailed deer enter “the rut”: hormones rage, antlers grow, and males seek out females. Historically, it’s this time of year when you’re most likely to see deer, especially as bucks pursue does and the does play coy. Today, however, you are very likely to encounter deer any time of year -- not just during the rut. Read More
I hope you’re enjoying the delightfully cool spring. Personally, I’ll take all the cool weather I can get before the dog days of summer hit. Any cicadas in your neck of the woods? We'll see if the cool weather means that Brood 2 Cicadas will persist longer than usual. Check out this wonderful video on the life cycle of these fascinating creatures. This text was taken from an email sent out on June 6th, 2013: Read More
In a departure from my normal column on creating habitat, here is some knowledge on ticks ecology and preventative measures from the perspective of an ecologist who spends a lot of time outside. With a little education and forethought, you and your family can better enjoy the outdoors all season long. First – a word of warning: I’m not a health professional by training, so always consult your doctor if you have health concerns. Read More
Just like humans, wildlife species have four primary needs to survive: food, water, shelter and space. These four components form the basis of wildlife habitat, and each species fulfills these needs differently. Yet, for all species, if one of these four components is missing in a given area, it can affect the species’ population. In this article, I’ll be focusing on one of these needs – cover (the wildlife term for “shelter”) -- and what are potential solutions when it’s a limiting factor in an environment. Specifically, how we can use man-made cover to help out wildlife. Read More
Our November 2012 Invasive Plant Symposium was a great success! Over 140 people attended this event in Middleburg, co-sponsored by PEC, Sacharuna Foundation, Virginia Working Landscapes, and United Plants Savers. Read More
(this article appears in the Fall 2012 issue of The Piedmont Virginian )When I work with landowners on how they can better manage their properties for wildlife habitat, many common questions concern invasive plants. These questions include: “What is that weird, abundant vine/shrub/tree/pond muck? And how do I get rid of it?” Other times, it’s: “Do I need to worry about plant X?” or “Why bother?” Read More
In June 2012, PEC received a grant from The Volgenau Foundation to improve wildlife habitat in the northwestern region of Fauquier County. This project area is geographically defined by the lower Thumb Run watershed; all water in the region drains into Thumb Run and eventually the Rappahannock River. Wildlife habitat improvement goals for this project align with state priority wildlife species including: early successional song birds, pollinators, fresh water aquatic species such as mussels, amphibians, and more. Improving the connectivity of habitat “corridors” such as riparian buffers is a key focus of the project. Habitat practices that have other environmental benefits such as improved water quality are also of high priority. Get involved! Read More
Learn about Wildlife Habitat in the Virginia Piedmont -- what it is, why we care, what a landowner can do to improve it. The following PowerPoint presentations were given to members of the Orange County Hunt in March, 2012. Better Wildlife Habitat: Water, Woods and Beyond Early Successional HabitatView more presentations from Piedmont Environmental Council Read More
Check out the Bird Habitat Guide to learn how you can enhance bird habitat in your backyard. The Piedmont is home to over 140 species of birds that breed in the area, but many of these bird populations have declined in recent decades due to loss of habitat and degradation. PEC recently teamed up with the American Bird Conservancy to produce a Bird Habitat Guide that offers tips on how you can enhance bird and wildlife habitat on your property. Whether you have a large farm or small backyard, you can help a variety of birds to thrive through simple changes such as leaving a fence row to grow unkempt or allowing part of your yard to grow up in native grasses rather than mowing. Read More