Amazing Life in the Lafayette's Waters!

Blue Crab in Lafayette River

A healthy blue crab caught and released in the Lafayette River during the September 2017 survey.

Kenny Fletcher.

Amazing critters are thriving in the Lafayette River, an urban waterway entirely within Norfolk city limits. The great variety of life found on a recent biological survey of the Lafayette River is one more sign that this once-polluted river is getting better.

In mid-September scientists from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Elizabeth River Project (ERP) observed both common species such blue crabs, oysters, speckled trout, and spot, as well as a host of more unusual creatures including squid, sea robins, mantis shrimp, brown shrimp, and a southern stingray. These were all caught in an otter trawl net used to survey life at 10 different sites along the Lafayette River and Wayne's Creek.
Long on Virginia's impaired waters list, a watershed-wide restoration effort is helping bring back the Lafayette. In the past, the river supported fewer species in less numbers, but it is now on course to becoming a healthy river that is home to more abundant wildlife in both species and numbers.

The revitalization of this waterway has included restoring dozens of acres oyster reefs that provide important habitat for a variety of species, construction of rain gardens and living shorelines throughout the watershed, and public education efforts aimed at spurring citizen actions that improve habitat in and around the river.

The biological surveys have been ongoing twice a year for about eight years as part of an effort to gauge river's response to these actions. Information collected by scientists include the location, size, and number of each species collected along with information on water quality.  

The improvements on the Lafayette are thanks to generous grant funding and a collaborative effort among CBF and ERP, the City of Norfolk, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Restore America's Estuaries, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Check out our Facebook Photo Album of our Lafayette River survey below!

Kenny Fletcher 90x110

Kenny Fletcher

Virginia Media & Communications Coordinator, CBF

Issues in this Post

Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint   Blue Crabs   Eastern Oysters   Fisheries   Fishing   Water Quality  



The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles or comments on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Web, or any link contained in a linked Web site, or any changes or updates to such Web sites. The inclusion of any link or comment is provided only for information purposes. CBF reserves the right to edit or remove any comments and material posted to this website and to ban users from the site without notice. Partisan, pornographic or other inappropriate content, product or service promotion, foul language or bad behavior is expressly forbidden and will be removed.

Share Your Clean Water Story

What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

Share Your Story


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close