Volunteer for the James

Join our effort to protect and restore America’s Founding River

Whether it’s getting your hands dirty with one of our Watershed Restoration projects, acting as a voice for the river through our Advocacy efforts or helping out with office tasks, there is a job for everyone to play a part in making a cleaner James River.

Take Action


Patrol your river

Our RiverRats program, now with over 200 volunteers, involves extensive training. RiverRats carry out at least three river patrols and one community action project per year. Action projects range from simply attending James River Association outreach events to tagging and tracking Atlantic Sturgeon with VCU researchers!

Get the details on our RiverRats program!


Monitor water quality

Volunteers undergo training and follow our rigorous sampling protocol to upload river data (e.g., bacteria levels and turbidity) directly to our James River Watch website, which provides users with nearly real-time citizen-sourced data on river conditions from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year.

Get involved in our Water Quality Monitoring program!


Get your hands dirty

Volunteers plant trees, remove invasive plant species, clean up trash, assemble and install rain barrels, build rain gardens, and more.

Get involved in our Watershed Restoration program!


Advocate for your river

Our Action Network made up of thousands of advocates contacts legislators, attends public hearings, researches policies and regulations, and helps us recruit others to speak up for the river.

Get involved in our Advocacy efforts!


Educate the next generation of river stewards

Trained volunteers assist with educational events, in-class lessons, and work as a certified First Mate on our education vessel.

Get involved in our Education program!


Cleanup the James River

Interested in helping to keep the James River and public spaces on its banks clean?  Volunteer with one of the following organizations to clean up trash before it reaches the James River.

James River Park System
Contact Matt Mason at matthew.mason@richmondgov.com to organize your own cleanup in Richmond’s James River Park System.

Keep Henrico Beautiful

Keep Virginia Beautiful

Keep Virginia Cozy

RVA Cleansweep


* indicates required

2021 River Watch Roundup

Every year as the weather starts to warm up and summer begins, the James River Association runs a water quality monitoring program called James River Watch to help river-goers answer the question, “Is it safe to swim in the James”.  Each Thursday, we rely on an...

A Day On, Not a Day Off

A list of environmental volunteer opportunities to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. (January 17th) JRA recognizes the importance of volunteer work and what it can do for the community and the environment. And so, we have created a list of different...

Thank You 2020 James River Watch Volunteers

Labor Day weekend has finally come, and all across the James River watershed, River Watch volunteers have finished their last samples of the season. Incubators shut down and passively release their heat; supplies are inventoried; and the Advocacy team at JRA reflects...