James River Watch

How is the river in your area?

At the James River Association, we believe a healthy River should be enjoyed by all, and we strive to connect Virginians to our shared James River. But river conditions can change quickly. One of the most common questions we receive is whether the river is safe to swim. To help answer that question, we worked with partners to develop the James River Watch, a water quality monitoring program that communicates river conditions to individuals across the James River basin. So whether you’re swimming, paddling, or boating – get outside, enjoy the James, and know before you go!

While the James River is a great place to cool off, it can carry extra pollutants during periods of high water and after heavy summer downpours. Some segments of the river are impaired due to excessive harmful bacteria—which can make an afternoon on the river less enjoyable. James River Watch is designed to measure river level, temperature, turbidity and bacteria levels and communicate them to the public, so you can have a better time on the water!

The James River Watch is undergoing maintenance so some features may not work.

Volunteer for the James River Watch

We have a team of volunteers who take weekly water samples and report their findings to the James River Watch. Every Friday, from Memorial Day to Labor day, check the James River Watch for water conditions in your area.

River conditions are posted every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Sign up below to receive a notification email when the results are in!

How to use the conditions map.

When you look at the map, you will immediately see a red or green color at your favorite River Station. If that color is red, it means our last bacteria test was above the recommended threshold for swimming. If you want to see more information about a site, click on a site and a pop up will appear that will give you more information about that site. From the pop up, you can find out more information about the site and look at the river levels, temperatures and even see past testing results!

Our Partners

James River Watch is supported, in part, by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, generated from the sale of Chesapeake Bay license plates.

A healthy James River requires caring citizens and communities. Whether it’s getting your hands dirty, raising your voice, or supporting our cause, there is a job for everyone in making a cleaner, James. We offer opportunities to get active and stay informed.


You can hike it, bike it, swim it, run it or raft it. How you enjoy the James River is up to you.


Whatever your interests are, there is a role for you in improving the health of the James River.


The James is Virginia’s largest tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. At 340 miles long it is one of the longest rivers in America that begins and ends in the same state.


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