Today, March 19th, starts the first day of spring in 2020, and the earliest vernal equinox in 124 years! Springtime brings longer days, warmer nights, and with the changing temperatures a ‘wetter’ season. This is a great time of year to give your yard a revival and incorporate river-friendly practices such as installing native plants or adding a rain barrel to your property!

Stormwater runoff continues to be one of the largest threats facing the James River. Every time it rains, fertilizers, herbicides, bacteria from pet waste, and chemicals flow from our properties into local waterways. This pollution can make the James River unsafe for people and wildlife.

Being involved in our River Hero Home program is an easy way to make a difference and help protect the James River. And the best part right now? You can join the program virtually from home! Anyone living in the James River basin can sign a simple online pledge to protect the James through everyday river-friendly actions like picking up after your pet or reducing lawn fertilizer. 

River Hero Homes is a community of stewards that realize the first step to a cleaner James River starts in their own backyard. To become a River Hero Home we request that you pledge at least three of these actions:

  • Pick up after your dog
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides/pesticides
  • Avoid invasive species and use native plants to support wildlife and reduce watering needs
  • Use alternatives to municipal drinking water for irrigation
  • Reduce need for fertilizer by encouraging healthy soil with mulch and compost

While these actions individually may seem small, when adopted on a wide scale, they have a significant impact on local water quality. 

And – in addition to helping to keep James healthy, every River Hero Home receives a garden flag to display, River Hero Home sticker, membership card, a free year Family Membership to the James River Association, discounts at local nurseries (a few even do online ordering and porch pick-up), and the satisfaction of knowing you are doing what you can to protect Virginia’s waterways.

Become a hero today! Take steps to improve your home for your community and your river.

Share Your Connection

Already a River Hero Home? We want to see your river-friendly yard! Share a photo, short 30 second video or why you made the choice to be river-friendly with us. Email us at or tag us @JRAVirginia on Twitter & Instagram or @JamesRiverAssociation on Facebook or LinkedIn. We want to share your connection as inspiration for others.