Exploring the James River

Find Your River.

The James River runs 340 miles through the heart of Virginia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, and has a 10,000-square-mile watershed. It provides drinking water for 2.7 million people and relaxation, solace, and adventure for millions each year. The James River Association serves as a guardian and advocate for the James, while connecting individuals to Virginia’s greatest natural asset. We educate, advocate, restore, and connect our communities to the James. We believe people protect what they love, and we hope you can use the resources below to fall in love with OUR river!

What is the State of the James?

The State of the James is a report card summarizing ongoing efforts to bring the James River back to full health. This comprehensive assessment is published every two years. View the report to see how the river’s health has changed over time, and how far we need to go to reach our goal of a Grade A James.

How healthy is the river in your area?

Many portions of the James River and its tributaries are currently impaired due to excessive, harmful bacteria. For those who swim or recreate in the river, bacteria is an invisible pollutant that can pose serious health threats. 


We have a team of volunteers that monitor water quality across the watershed and report their findings through our James River Watch program. Every Friday, from Memorial Day to Labor day, check the James River Watch for river conditions in your area.

Find Your Adventure

James River Association Education Manager, Charles Johnson, was invited to share his experiences with Jessica Bowser, host of the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Podcast.
They chat about experiencing the James firsthand, including multi-day camping, fishing, and exploring Virginia’s iconic river.

“The James River runs 340 miles through the heart of Virginia, from the Blue Ridge all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. The river’s watershed is roughly 10,000 square miles and it supplies drinking water for 2.7 million people. It also provides opportunities to relax, adventure, and enjoy the great outdoors.” – Charles Johnson