Watershed Restoration

Working for a healthy river

Our Watershed Restoration program uses stormwater solutions, habitat restoration, engagement and education of our communities, and partnership with localities, other organizations, and landowners to improve the health of the James River and help citizens realize the benefits of a healthy James River.


Did you know?

Pollution from stormwater runoff is the #1 health threat to our waterways. Every time it rains, pollution washes off your property and starts its journey through the watershed to the James River.

How much nitrogen and phosphorus pollution does your home contribute to the James River? Consider becoming a River Hero Home and reducing your runoff.

Get your hands dirty!

We love our volunteers! Your hard work and dedication to the James River Association help us reach our mission to promote conservation and responsible stewardship of the James River. We couldn’t do the work we do without people like you!

 Program Focus

River Hero Homes is a way to recognize homeowners who are successfully taking steps to improve water quality by reducing the amount of stormwater and pollution leaving their property. Becoming a River Hero Home is a simple way to help protect the James River.

Depending on where you live, becoming a certified River Hero Home may also help you qualify for stormwater rebates or credits offered by your locality.

For more information visit www.jamesriverhero.org

Stormwater and Green InfrastructureThe James River Association’s Watershed Restoration program works with localities and neighborhoods to incorporate green infrastructure into the landscape to manage stormwater, conserve and restore ecosystems, and improve quality of life for residents. This includes:

  • Tree planting
  • Rain Gardens
  • Habitat Gardens
  • Walkable Watershed projects in the James River watershed

Invasive Plant SpeciesThe James River Association works with volunteers and landowners to identify common invasive plant species, teach proper removal techniques, and lead invasive plant species removal days, particularly in riparian areas along the James and its tributaries.

Non-native plants are species that have been intentionally or accidentally introduced to an area they would not be naturally found in. While many non-native species are important agricultural plants that are maintained through careful cultivation, some non-native species like English Ivy, escape cultivation and become invasive. Invasive species pose serious threats to native species and can dramatically alter natural ecosystems. Once established, they can be very difficult to remove. They are commonly found throughout our parks, natural areas, as well as in our own backyards. The James River Association is a partner in the James River Park System Invasive Plant Task Force in Richmond.

Riparian BuffersWe partner with volunteers and landowners to restore and enhance riparian buffers along the James River and its tributaries.

Plantings along the banks of waterways (riparian buffers) are important for many reasons. They filter runoff that could include sediment and excess nutrients that flow off the land. Buffers that are diverse in native plant species also provide wildlife habitat along the river corridor. They also reduce erosion by holding the soil along the banks in place.

The James River Association and the Virginia Department of Forestry are working with landowners across the middle James watershed to restore or create forest buffers that improve the quality of local waterways.

Visit www.JamesRiverBuffers.org to learn more about this program, and to see if you qualify. 

Introducing the James River Buffer Program

Do you want to grow forests for clean water?! The James River Association (JRA) and the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) are here to help landowners across the Middle James watershed to restore forest buffers along local waterways. A forest buffer is...

From the Marsh: Intro to Saltmarshes

Welcome to the saltmarsh, one of the most dynamic habitats in the James River Watershed! Here, salty water from the Atlantic Ocean meets freshwater from the James River and its tributaries. Plants and animals that call the saltmarsh home have to deal with constantly...

A New Green Street Coming to Southside RVA!

The James River Association in partnership with the City of Richmond and GroundworkRVA, just received a $161,111 Chesapeake Bay Trust G3 grant to implement a green street along a 0.4 mile stretch of Minefee Street in the Bellemeade community of southside...

A New Living Shoreline on the Elizabeth River

Erosion has long been an issue for the James River Watershed, and the Lower James is no exception. Until recently, the only accepted method to combat the loss of sediment was to build hardened structures such as bulkheads or revetments. Often...

June James River Buffer Program Update

This spring, we worked with Conservation Services Inc. and their dedicated tree planting crew to install 1,300 seedlings with tree shelters on a farm in Albemarle County. This 4-acre site was the first riparian buffer project funded through the Virginia...

Meet the Watershed Restoration Staff

Amber Ellis

Amber Ellis

Senior Watershed Restoration Manager
Phone: (804) 788-8811 ext.205
Email:  aellis@jrava.org

Ryan Walsh

Ryan Walsh

Lower James Restoration Coordinator
Phone: (757) 856-1252

Anne Marie Roberts

Anne Marie Roberts

Middle James Restoration Manager
Phone: (434) 286-7000
Email: amroberts@jrava.org