Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) 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.
Vulcan 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 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 ft. long, according to the university. 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 the project possible, according to the University.
Vulcan also announced that C. Wes Burton, Jr. was elected company treasurer. Burton is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and recently served as management consultant with the Enterprise Performance Management Strategy practice group of Accenture LLP. Prior to that he was senior vice president and treasurer with Saks Inc.
Donald M. James, chairman and CEO of Vulcan, commented, "We are pleased to have Wes join the Vulcan organization. His education and experience make him well qualified to fill this important role at Vulcan."