Virginia Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Virginia contain a variety of natural resources. These include forests, arable (farmable) land, coal, sand and rocks, wildlife, aquatic organisms, clean water and air, and scenery. Virginia also has water resources, like groundwater, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean.


A watershed is an area in which surface water can collect and flow into a larger body of water. Much of the water from watersheds flow into the Chesapeake Bay, and the rest flow into the Gulf of Mexico and the North Carolina Sounds.

There are 14 watersheds in Virginia, including 9 main watersheds:

  • Potomac-Shenandoah Rivers Watershed

  • Rappahannock River Watershed

  • York River Watershed

  • James River Watershed

  • Roanoke River Watershed

  • Chowan River Watershed

  • New River Watershed

  • Tennessee River Watershed

  • Big-Sandy Watershed

Plants and Animals

Virginia is home to typical plant and animal resources that have been around long before settlements. Another term that refers to plants and animals of a particular area is "flora and fauna".


  • Apple and oak trees

  • Tobacco

  • Corn

  • Wheat

  • Peanuts

  • Beans


  • White-tailed deer

  • Black bear

  • Beavers

  • Squirrels

  • Birds, including cardinals

  • Foxes

Domesticated Animals

  • Cats

  • Dogs

  • Birds

  • Cattle

  • Pigs

  • Chicken

Rock and Mineral Resources


Coal is a form of rock that is created over thousands of years from the remains of dead organisms. Coal is used as a fossil fuel to heat buildings, produce electricity, and make steel.


Limestone is a rock that is usually formed from aquatic remains and the accumulation of sediment, shells, and debris. Limestone is used to build statues, buildings, and other construction materials.


Granite is a granular, light-colored igneous rock. It forms from years of volcanic activity. Granite is used in monuments, buildings, bricks, and table counters, as it can be polished.

Sand and Gravel

Sand is the loose, tiny particles produced by the breaking down of rocks. Gravel is small pieces of rock that are larger than sand. Sand and gravel are used to pave roads and make concrete. Sand can be made into glass.

Energy Sources

Virginia's primary energy source comes from renewable energy. Renewable energy is energy commonly found in nature that can be reused, or recycled. This includes energy from sunlight, wind, water, and biomass.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy from sunlight. Solar energy is harnessed and used through technology including solar panels, power plants, photovoltaics, and more.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is energy from wind used to turn wind turbines. Wind turbines harness the kinetic energy of air currents to produce electricity. Wind energy in Virginia is more common in mountainous regions.

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power is energy produced from water currents. Hydroelectric power plants harness this energy by using dams to store water in a reservoir.


Biomass is plant or animal material used to produce energy. Biomass can be converted to bio fuels or combusted to produce mechanical energy.


Natural Forests

Natural forests grow in the wild and are un-touched by humans. Natural forests protect stream banks and soil from erosion.

Cultivated Forests

Cultivated forests are planted forests. They are mostly used for timbering and land fill. Cultivated forests protect watersheds, play a major role in ecosystems, provide recreational areas, and are a source of energy.

Soil and Land

Virginia's soil and land provide for economic and recreational activities, as well as support a variety of life. In the Piedmont region of Virginia, the soil is clay-like. However, in the northwest, the land closer to mountains and ridges are most suitable for farming.

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