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Mariners’ Wildlife

Safe haven for wildlife

Mariners’ Park and Lake is a safe haven for wildlife in urban Newport News. With the help of community partners, The Mariners’ works to preserve the habitat of many species and research and catalog native populations.

Research in the Park

A crucial part of protecting the wildlife in Mariners’ Park and Lake is collecting data that will inform future management of this space, which is home to more than 600 animal species. The Mariners’ team partners with various community organizations on a wide range of research projects in the Park.  

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is a longtime partner of The Mariners’ Park. Since 1980, the Park has participated in VIMS’s juvenile striped bass survey just off the James River shoreline. This research program is the second-longest striped bass survey in the United States, and the data informw the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s management regulations.

College of William & Mary

The College of William & Mary has been a valued partner in Park research since the late 1970s. Through this partnership, the Park participates in an annual bald eagle survey that helps  monitor bald eagle recovery throughout Virginia, document breeding pairs, inform government agencies, and increase our understanding of this amazing creature.

Joint Base Langley-Eustis

In 2021, Mariners’ Park began a partnership with Joint Base Langley-Eustis, along with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the United States Air Force, and the United States Department of Agriculture on bald eagle surveys. This study hopes to gain insight into bald eagle migration patterns. As bald eagle populations increase, their nesting sites expand too, putting them in the direct path of Joint Base Langley-Eustis’s flight line, causing a threat to both the eagles and F-22 pilots. Each year, by banding the new chicks, the team can track their movements and increase knowledge that can be shared across the country.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

For the last 10 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has partnered with Mariners’ Park to promote oyster habitats throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Oysters are fantastic water filters that clean the Chesapeake Bay. Through yearly seminars, the CBF promotes oyster gardening and the growing of baby oysters or spat. Oyster shells are collected in a shell bin in the main parking lot in Mariners’ Park. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation uses these shells to grow more oysters. Keep a lookout for new oyster gardening seminars!

City Nature Challenge

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is a global bioblitz that happens annually in the spring. A bioblitz is a community data-gathering event. This data can assist scientists with research and broaden knowledge of species in the area. The Mariners’ is part of the annual Hampton Roads City Nature Challenge. Download the iNaturalist app to participate and watch for local updates about the challenge. 

hand holding a cellphone with the "City Nature Challege" logo on it.

The Mariners’ Park

Add an outdoor adventure to your Mariners’ visit and enjoy scenic views of Mariners’ Lake, James River, and our famous Lions Bridge.

Get Involved with Community Science


eBird is a dynamic online database for bird observations. The Mariners’ Park has a page on that anyone with an account can contribute to. If you want to learn more about birding in the Park and how to contribute data to our page, the Hampton Roads Bird Club meets on the fourth Sunday of each month between May and October at 7 AM (ET) at Lions Bridge. 


Visitors to our Park who have an iNaturalist account can help contribute to our ever-growing data of known Park species. Simply open the iNaturalist app on your phone and make observations (photos, sounds) within our Park boundaries.  

Thank You to All Our Partners!

Our research and continued progress would not be possible without the community members and partners who help us learn about and protect the wildlife in Mariners’ Park.

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