In 1976, the James River was considered one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. As a result, a group of concerned citizens formed the James River Association, the only organization dedicated solely to the care of the James River.
The nonprofit’s mission is twofold: to protect the James River and to connect community members to it. Their initiatives are comprehensive and take many forms. They work to enact policy change on the local, state, and federal levels and even take community members out onto the river in order to facilitate nature play and connection. From planting trees along streams and creeks to helping green under-served and disadvantaged urban areas, they tackle hands-on projects that address everything from restoration to shoreline erosion. Through the River Rats program, they train volunteers to keep an eye on the river and to report any issues to the river keeper.
The results have been impactful. In 2019, they were awarded the Thiess International River Prize, which has only been given to 20 other water bodies around the world.
We spoke with President and CEO Bill Street for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below.
You can learn more about the wildlife along the James and the State of the James report that tracks the health of the river here:
The James River Association is a proud financial supporter of WNRN.