Friday, September 22, 2023


Erin Hillert
Director of Marketing & Communications 
James River Association 
p: (608) 239-2644 e:

Project to Reduce Stormwater Runoff Underway at Richmond’s East End Branch Library

Volunteers are being recruited to plant trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants

RICHMOND, VA – A group of local community partners is working together to implement a green infrastructure site plan at Richmond’s East End Branch Library in the 7th City Council District.

The site plan, approved by the City of Richmond’s Urban Design Committee and City Planning Commission last year, features bioretention basins and conservation landscaping intended to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes the James River. The partnership leading this project, known as the Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative, includes Richmond Public Library, Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH2O, Four Winds Design and the James River Association. After more than a year of community engagement, planning, design, and construction, the team is excited to activate the bioretention basins with plants and install conservation landscaping around the library.

“The East End Branch Library green infrastructure project is a shining example of how we can use our public library spaces to protect our environment and educate our community. This project will divert stormwater from the combined sewer system, reducing pollution in the James River and its tributaries. It will also provide a valuable learning opportunity for library patrons of all ages,” said Scott Firestine, Director of Richmond Public Library. “I am grateful to our partners at the James River Association, Four Winds Design, and the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH2O for making this project possible. I am also excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community for years to come.”

Harbor Dredge & Dock was selected as the contractor to implement the site plan and volunteer assistance will be used to plant trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants in the bioretention basins and around the library. Harbor Dredge & Dock constructed bioretention basins along N. 25th Street, R Street, and in the library’s parking area this summer. 

The James River Association organized two community tree planting events with the intention of expanding tree canopy in the neighborhood around the library earlier this year. 37 regionally native trees including Eastern redbuds, Sweetbay magnolias, and White fringetrees were planted using volunteer assistance. The community tree planting events were made possible by grant awards from the Arbor Day Foundation and Virginia Department of Forestry through their Virginia Trees for Clean Water program.

“East End Branch Library is located in one of the hottest areas of Richmond’s East End,” said Justin Doyle, Director of Community Conservation with the James River Association. “Trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants installed around the library will reduce stormwater runoff and add tree canopy in an area of the city that needs more of it. Tree canopy intercepts rainwater before it becomes stormwater runoff and helps keep communities cool by providing shade.”

Stormwater pollution poses a significant threat to the health of the James River by carrying pollution to its tributaries. Green infrastructure helps reduce polluted stormwater runoff. The Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative launched in 2019 with the implementation of a green infrastructure site plan at Westover Hills Branch Library. Since then, the partners have worked together to engage library users and stakeholders in planning and design processes that resulted in the implementation of green infrastructure site plans at Broad Rock Branch Library, North Avenue Branch Library, and West End Branch Library. The primary goal of these plans is to manage stormwater on and around library grounds with green infrastructure.

The Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative is made possible by generous support from Altria, Arbor Day Foundation, Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH2O, Richmond Neighborhood Climate Resilience Grant Program, Richmond Public Library Foundation, Virginia Department of Forestry, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency through a grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative is currently looking for volunteers to help with community planting events at the East End Branch Library on Friday, September 29, and Saturday, September 30. Learn more and sign up by visiting

For more information about the Greening Richmond Public Libraries initiative, please visit



The Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA) was formed in 1990 to serve the region’s solid waste and recycling needs. CVWMA coordinates programs for trash and recycling on behalf of 13 local governments. The authority strives to be a leader in waste reduction, with the ultimate goal of protecting the environment for everyone’s benefit. For more information, visit

For more information, visit

For more information, visit

Friends of the James River Park (FOJRP) is the largest nonprofit support organization for the James River Park System (JRPS). With a mission that focuses on protecting, expanding, and enhancing the JRPS, FOJRP works with the City of Richmond to implement projects that make a real difference in the Park. 2022 marks 50 years since the creation of the JRPS, and FOJRP are excited to be dedicating additional resources to park improvements. For more information, visit

The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. With offices in Lynchburg, Scottsville, Richmond and Williamsburg, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information, visit

The James River Advisory Council (JRAC) provides a forum for the diverse interests along the James River in Central Virginia and engages the public about issues and challenges facing the river. JRAC’s vision is a healthy, beautiful, economically vital and accessible James River that is cared for by a diverse and engaged community that acts on its behalf. JRAC’s membership includes representatives from local jurisdictions, businesses and industry, civic organizations and individuals. By leading discussions about the river, and hosting regional events and programs, the council sets the tone for positive and interactive relationships among partners throughout the region. For more information, visit

Maymont is a 100-acre historic estate and park, located in Richmond, Virginia, with many unique experiences for all to enjoy. Stroll through the gardens and arboretum, see native wildlife habitats, feed friendly goats, explore The Robins Nature Center and visit the Mansion. For more information, visit