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Virginia Natural Heritage Karst Program
Cave and Karst Protection



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

VA Counties Containing Karst Topography

map of karst counties in Virginia
  • Karst - a landscape resulting to a significant degree from the dissolution of bedrock
  • Karst - landscapes are most commonly underlain by limestone and dolostone bedrock.
  • Karst - landscape features include sinkholes, sinking and losing streams, caves, and large flow springs.
  • Karst - landscapes are characterized by underground drainage networks that commonly bypass surface drainage divides.
  • Karst - 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 musselsliving in streams and rivers fed by karst springs.
  • Karst - 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 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 the link to view a brief educational video about southwest Virginia caves and karst topography, put together by Virgina Master Naturalist volunteer Richard Kretz.
A Brief Introduction to Virginia Caves and Cave Inhabitants

To contact the VA Karst Program Staff

Wil Orndorff
Karst Protection Coordinator

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

Karst Species Factsheets

Antrolina lira - Madison cave isopod

Lirceus culveri - Rye Cove isopod

all factsheets require the free Adobe reader.

Karst Watershed Factsheets

Upper James /Roanoke River

Upper Tennessee River

Shenandoah / Potomac River

New River