Riparian Stewards

The James River Association’s Riparian Stewards are volunteers who work with our staff to nurture and monitor riparian forest buffers installed through the James River Buffer Program. They assist our staff in providing the necessary maintenance to help achieve a healthy buffer. Join a community of environmental enthusiasts to help protect the James!

Fall Buffer Maintenance Days:

It’s time for fall maintenance volunteer events! We ask that you arrive on time, but we are flexible if you need to leave early. Bring your own lunch, water, and gloves. Other tools will be provided. More information about specific planting days will be provided by the lead after sign-up. Register at the link below.

What does a Riparian Steward Do?

Our Riparian Stewards help our staff through the year performing vital maintenance on riparian forest buffers.

Removing Bird Nets: Bird nets are installed on every tree shelter to prevent bird mortality.

Straightening and Replacing Stakes: Leaning stakes can be straightened and hammered into place.

Fastening Zip Ties: Loose zip ties should be tightened and broken zip ties can be replaced.

Vegetation Removal: Vegetation will compete with the growing tree for sunlight and nutrients.

Survival Checks: Tree shelter containing a dead tree should be marked so that it can be replanted during the next planting season.

Replanting: Any tree that did not survive will be removed and a new tree will be planted in its place.

Check out a day in the life of a Riparian Steward!

Where are our Stewards located?

Riparian Stewards help us out in the Middle James watershed. The Middle James is split into four sub-watershed regions: Rivanna, Appomattox, Eastern James and Western James. You may sign up to be a Steward in as many sub-watersheds as you’d like! Listed below are some of the rivers and creeks within each sub-watershed.

Rivanna: Rivanna River,  Moormans River,  Mechum River, Mechunk Creek, Cunningham Creek

Western James: Buffalo River,  Hardware River,  Bear Garden Creek, Slate River,  Ballinger Creek,  Rockfish River,  Tye River,  David Creek,  Wreck Island Creek,  Harris Creek, Reed Creek,  Pedlar River

Eastern James: Willis River,  Byrd Creek, Deep Creek,  Big Lickinghole Creek, Tuckahoe Creek

Appomattox: Appomattox River, Vaughns Creek,  Buffalo Creek,  Bush River,  Big Guinea Creek,  Flat Creek, Rocky Ford Creek,  Deep Creek,  Lake Chesdin,  Swift Creek,  Ashton Creek

No prior knowledge is necessary and JRA will provide any tools and training needed. Volunteers must be able to provide their own transportation to the site and cover travel costs, and must be able to walk on uneven ground, work in varying weather conditions (Spring and Fall seasons), and be okay with getting dirty!  Questions? Contact Jordan Bennett at