VCU Rice Center Officials Recognize Vulcan Materials Co. for Contributions toward Constructing a Sturgeon Spawning Reef in the James River

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Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Center officials recognized Vulcan Materials Co. for its donation toward constructing a sturgeon spawning reef in the James River during a reception at the center in Charles City last week.

Vulcan Materials Co. has generously donated more than $52,000 of crushed stone used to construct an underwater reef in the James River that will increase the opportunity for spawning success of Atlantic Sturgeon. Vulcan Materials Co. also provided marine transportation resources and placement of the rock at the reef site, a value of $12,000.

The project is part of an ongoing collaborative effort to restore the Atlantic Sturgeon to the James River and the Chesapeake Bay. 

The Atlantic sturgeon is the largest and longest-lived aquatic organism in the Atlantic rivers of North America, historically growing up to 14 feet long. Habitat alteration, over-fishing and pollution, however, have resulted in this species being considered for listing as a federally endangered species. Sturgeon no longer successfully spawn anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay except for a small population in the lower James River.

The spawning reef, comprised of the rock donated by Vulcan Materials Co., covers an area in the river the size of a football field. It provides the hard substrate critical for the successful spawning of this species that is now lacking where sturgeon historically spawned. VCU and its partners are monitoring the reef to document spawning activity.

The donation and logistical support from Vulcan Materials Co., along with additional funding from the Fish America Foundation, made this project possible.