Happy National Water Quality Month!  The James River Association has worked to improve the health of the James River since 1976, when the James was considered one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Since then, the river’s health has increased remarkably, making the James River arguably one of the most improved rivers in the nation, and has been consistently rated as the healthiest major tributary to the Chesapeake Bay by the University of Maryland.

This month we are celebrating all of the work that has been done to improve the health of the James, and for National Water Quality month, we asked a few volunteers to share their motivation to volunteer and their connection to the James.

Here is Chris Stone, James River Watch volunteer in the City of Richmond. 

What inspired you to volunteer to monitor water quality?

As a Professional Engineer with a degree in civil engineering, we take an oath to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. The engineering profession works to provide safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as public infrastructure. We are working to detect and remove PFAS (forever chemicals) from drinking water, so volunteering to test the James River to make sure it is safe for the public for recreation purposes just a part of what engineers do to protect the public.

What is your favorite thing about the river?

The James River Park System, which gives access to a great public amenity. Protecting and preserving the river for recreation and wildlife for future generations is critically important. I love that there are flat portions and rapids which provide areas of recreation for all ages and experience levels.

Our thanks go out to our partners, donors, members and volunteers across Virginia who have been working alongside us in our four decades of work.