Rivers of Grass
Hutchinson Tract, Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge
These rare habitats, dominated by native warn-season grasses such as little bluestem, Indian grass, and eastern gamma grass, provide food and cove for wildlife year around—even standing up to snow and ice.
Warm-season grasses serve as excellent habitat for wildlife such as bobolinks, bobwhite quail, and grasshopper sparrows. White-tailed deer use the grass for bedding and wild turkeys build their nests in them. These grasses tend to grow in bunches, making it easy for small birds and mammals to scoot along the ground with a protective visual canopy overhead.
Native warm-season grasslands thrived in North America for thousands of years. European colonists replaced native grasses with cool-season pasture grasses such as fescue and bluegrass, which provided forage for livestock. Today, native grasslands continue to be developed into residential and commercial areas. Ironically, suppression of natural grass fires hurts grasslands. Without periodic fires, wood plants take over and the grassland turns back into a forest.
Managing Native Grasslands
To ensure that grassland-dependent wildlife will find the habitat they need, the Service must prevent this valuable habitat from turning into something else. Succession naturally changes grassland into
*Controlled, prescribed burning
*Mowing and disking
*Applying herbicides to control invasives
*Planting warm-season grasses.
Erected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge System.
Location. 37° 56.653′ N, 76° 53.017′ W. Marker is in Tappahannock, Virginia, in Essex County. Marker is on Tidewater Trail. Touch for map. This marker is on the gravel road of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19180 Tidewater Trail, Tappahannock VA 22560, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hutchinson Tract (approx. 0.2 miles away); National Wildlife System (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pollinators (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bountiful Marshes (approx. half a mile away); Toppahanock Indian Village (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rappahannock Indian Migration (approx. 1½ miles away); William Moore Tidewater Musician (approx. 1½ miles away); Ritchie's Birthplace (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tappahannock.
Categories. • Environment •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 111 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 23, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.