This year marks the 40th anniversary of the James River Association. To celebrate this anniversary we’ll be releasing Top 40 lists throughout the year celebrating some of the awesome facts and experiences the James River watershed has to offer.

This month, we have surveyed our staff to bring you the Top 40 things you can do to protect the James. As you can see, there are lots of ways to protect your river. If we all work together, our collective efforts can make a huge difference in restoring the health of the James!

  1. If you love the James, be a voice for it. Take action.
  2. Introduce a friend or family member to the James.
  3. Vote for a healthy James River on Election Day.
  4. Volunteer with the James River Association.
  5. Protect your property in a conservation easement.
  6. Pick up trash before it washes into the river.
  7. Scoop the poop.
  8. Find out your “watershed address” so you know what effect your activities have on your immediate environment.
  9. Remove invasive plant species from your yard. Plant native species instead.
  10. Install a rain garden.
  11. Plant a tree.
  12. Become a member of the James River Association.
  13. Install a rain barrel to reduce stormwater runoff.
  14. Take a kid fishing. Teach them to be a good river steward.
  15. Research the Clean Water Act.
  16. Properly dispose of your fishing line.
  17. Redirect your downspout to a pervious surface.
  18. Become a RiverRat.
  19. Water your lawn or garden slow and deep. Time your watering and water only in the morning or late afternoon.
  20. Research different types of pollution like sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus.
  21. Use the James River Watch to learn about what problems are affecting the James and when.
  22. Shop for the James. Buy products that support the James River Association’s efforts to restore the river.
  23. Reuse materials when able. Recycle those things you can’t reuse.
  24. Support sustainable businesses throughout our region.
  25. Compost garden and kitchen waste and use compost on your lawn and garden.
  26. Become a water quality monitor.
  27. Plant a vegetated area between your yard and the street to reduce stormwater runoff.
  28. When you visit the river, bring a trash bag and leave the area cleaner than when you found it.
  29. If you smoke, properly dispose of your cigarette butts.
  30. Become a River Hero Home to show your pride in preventing pollution at home.
  31. If you use a lawn maintenance company, make sure they are environmentally friendly.
  32. Contact your legislators and tell them to make protecting the river a priority.
  33. Buy local oysters and properly recycle the shells.
  34. Practice smart boat ownership. Use only marine approved cleaning products and be careful when filling gas and oil tanks – no spills in the water or on dock.
  35. If you see a problem on the river, contact your Riverkeeper.
  36. Attend a river-related event to learn more about your river.
  37. Research the State of the James.
  38. If you have a septic system, make sure it is properly maintained.
  39. Remember only rain down the drain! Keep storm drains and drainage ditches clear of oil, litter, leaves etc.
  40. Reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides. Alternatively, use organic or natural methods.