About DCR
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Dam Safety and

Virginia Natural Heritage Karst Program
Cave and Karst Protection

ALERT! Bat Populations at Extreme Risk!

White Nose Syndrome Now in Virginia

myotis bat w/ white nose white nose killed pipistrelle
LEFT: Myotis with white nose syndrome.
RIGHT: white nose killed pipistrelle.

NEW! Updated Karst Geology and Sinkhole Density Maps for Virginia

Click the images to view larger.
map of karst in Virginia  map of karst with sinkholes
Karst Map - Weary and Doctor, 2014
Karst with Sinkholes - Hubbard, D. A., Jr., 1983, Selected karst features of the northern Valley and Ridge province, Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Publication 44, one sheet.
Hubbard, D. A., Jr., 1988, Selected karst features of the central Valley and Ridge province, Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Publication 83, one sheet.
Hubbard, D. A., Jr., 2001, Selected karst features of the southern Valley and Ridge province, Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, Publication 167, one sheet.
  • landscapes are most commonly underlain by limestone and dolostone bedrock.
  • a landscape resulting to a significant degree from the dissolution of bedrock
  • landscape features include sinkholes, sinking and losing streams, caves, and large flow springs.
  • landscapes are characterized by underground drainage networks that commonly bypass surface drainage divides.
  • landscapes provide and support habitat for rare animal and plant species, including bats, cave-adapted invertebrates, plants that grow on the surface and at springs and seeps, and fish and mussels living in streams and rivers fed by karst springs.
  • landscapes supply water for many Virginians. Land use activities place these water supplies at risk.
powell river spring

Karst Activities within DCR's Natural Heritage Program

Virginia Karst Program - Groundwater and habitat protection in karst areas, supported by EPA Section 319 Clean Water Act Program. This page is currently under construction, check back for more information. In the meantime, click on the links below for karst related information.

Click to read/download an article by Wil Orndorff, What's Living in Your Cave?

Click to download the Introduction to Virginia's Karst powerpoint presentation in PDF format.

Project Underground - a karst education program.

Virginia Cave Board - Governor appointed advisory board of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, established by the Virginia Cave Protection Act of 1979.

Click to view the PDF file Presentation from the Center for Subterranean Biodiversity, Karst Waters Institute. You'll need the free Adobe reader to view this file.

Click to read about Virginia's bats Bats of Virginia

Click to view a poster from the 2004 Cave Week The World Beneath our Feet

A Reference Guide for Landowners in Limestone Regions: Living on Karst (produced by the Cave Conservancy of the Virginia's)

Karst Watershed Factsheets
Upper James /Roanoke River
Upper Tennessee River
Shenandoah / Potomac River
New River

Karst Species Factsheets
Antrolana lira - Madison Cave isopod
Lirceus culveri - Rye Cove isopod
all factsheets require the free Adobe reader.

Contact the VA Karst Program Staff

Wil Orndorff
Karst Protection Coordinator


DCR Karst Program
8 Radford Street, Suite 102
Christiansburg, VA 24073