"A number of species of birds eat river birch seeds including ruffed grouse and wild turkey. White-tailed deer browse river birch. The bottomland hardwoods in which river birch occurs are prime wildlife habitat, providing nesting sites for waterfowl, and food and cover for many animals." 
"River birch is planted as an ornamental, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. It is well suited for damp ground, but is also somewhat drought tolerant." 
"River birch wood is hard, strong, and close-grained. It is, however, of limited commercial value since it is usually too knotty to be used for lumber. Its main uses are for local furniture manufacture, basket materials, small woodenware, and fuel. River birch is occasionally harvested with other bottomland species for pulpwood, and is used in some areas for veneer. Since the wood is strong and lighter than commercially important birches, it is suitable for artificial limbs and toys...
River birch is used for strip mine reclamation and erosion control. It is well suited for moderately to poorly drained minesoils, particularly where soils are too acid for other hardwoods. In Missouri, river birch has better form on acid sites than it does on better sites with heavier ground cover.
River birch is not planted for commercial purposes, but could be managed using even-aged systems." 
 Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Betula nigra. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/betnig/all.html.