Before you hit the river this weekend, be aware of river conditions!

By Victoria Williams, Water Quality Intern

Summer is nearly here! What does that mean? Fun times spent by the James River with family and friends. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boating or lounging outdoors, the James River is a prime spot to spend your summer! However, wouldn’t you want to make sure you are swimming in safe water? Well have no fear, the James River Association is here! Summer time means water quality monitoring time.

The James River Watch Program began in 2013 across the James River watershed and was designed to track harmful bacteria and water clarity. A vast number of areas in the James River and its tributaries are currently impaired due to a variety of harmful bacteria. Unsafe levels can occur following rain storms, when stormwater runoff carries pollution from urbanized areas or farms to local waterways. James River Watch was created to provide weekly updates on bacteria levels for all those who use the James River for recreation. One of most special aspects of the program is that is the monitoring is all done by local people who need the information the most. People like you. James River Association trains citizen volunteers who collect samples, update online reports, and help to promote the safety and awareness of people who visit and recreate in the James River.

Water quality testing begins prior to Memorial Day weekend and will continue weekly until Labor Day. On the website you’ll find safety information on boating, fishing, and swimming, along with river alerts and updates from the Virginia Department of Health. Visit the each Friday afternoon for your weekly report to ensure a safe and fun trip to the river!