We are honored by the dozens of volunteers that work with us every month. Whether spending an afternoon planting trees with our James River Buffer Program, taking weekly water samples as a Water Quality Monitor volunteer, or patrolling a section of river a few times a year as a James RiverRat – we value your time and commitment to your river!

For National Water Quality month, we asked a few volunteers to share their motivation to volunteer and their connection to the James. Here is John Bragg,  James River Watch volunteer, James RiverRat and avid photographer.

James River has been the lifeblood of Eastern Virginia since Christopher Newport came to Jamestown Island. Now after several years of poor management the river and surrounding waterways are returning to a state that is safe to use for all sorts of recreational activities whether it be tourism, fishing, whitewater rafting etc. Eastern Virginia is now a destination for folks throughout the world where they can celebrate history,  ecotourism and the good things we offer here. Our essential industrial uses are mostly healthy, profitable, and for the most part well governed by protocols that promote water quality. 

Only through the efforts of nonprofits such as the James River Association, environmental agencies, regulatory authorities  and other groups, not the least of whom are citizen volunteers, has improvement to the James Basin happened. 

I am very glad to see young adults providing training in environmental stewardship to youth and adults who otherwise would not be so exposed. It is certainly hoped that this continuing education and subsequent practical application of sound practices will cause them to reflect what is important and carry on with this legacy.

- John Bragg

JRA Volunteer