James RIVERKEEPER® Program


The eyes, ears and voice for the James River

Waterkeeper Alliance

The James River Association’s James RIVERKEEPER® is a full-time advocates working to prevent pollution and promote conservation and responsible stewardship of the river. On any given day a Riverkeeper serves as a detective, an educator, a river ambassador or a scientist. The goal of this important core program is to maintain a constant vigil on the James River, monitoring its conditions, identifying problems and ensuring that solutions are executed properly.

The first James RIVERKEEPER program was launched in 2001 when the James River Association joined the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is a growing international organization with over 290 local Waterkeeper programs, all dedicated to protecting local waters from pollution.

The James RIVERKEEPER monitors the length of the James River and its more than 15,000 miles of tributaries.


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

Jamie Brunkow

Jamie Brunkow

facebook icontwitter iconContact: jbrunkow@jrava.org; (757) 634-4541
Jamie Brunkow is the James Riverkeeper, monitoring the tidal portion of the James from the fall line in Richmond to the river’s mouth in the Chesapeake Bay. His stretch of the river is heavily traveled by barges and other commercial traffic serving industry along the river. The lower James is a mix of urban, agricultural and industrial usage, and includes 80 percent of the watershed’s population. The Lower James Riverkeeper monitors the river and critical species, educates the public about river health, and responds to citizen reports and pollution concerns. The  James Riverkeeper and the James River Association’s Advocacy staff develop strategies to address threats to the river utilizing a range of policy, science and legal tools as needed.

A native Virginian, Jamie grew up in Stafford County exploring backyard streams, taking canoe trips, and hiking the Appalachian Trail. These boyhood experiences undoubtedly helped lay the foundation for a career working to protect nature. Jamie got his start as an environmental educator working with teenage youth, and went on to work at Friends of the Rappahannock leading restoration, education and advocacy projects aimed at improving the health of the Rappahannock River. Jamie served as the Sassafras Riverkeeper on the Eastern Shore of Maryland prior to joining the James River Association in 2012, and has focused his career on water issues and the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Jamie earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech, and a Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability. Most of all Jamie wants to help inspire citizens to be a voice for the health of the James River, so that we have a resource that is treasured and protected for generations to come.