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!


Increase stormwater pollution awareness

Volunteers use the stencils and spray paint to install art on storm drains across the Richmond region in order to increases public awareness of stormwater pollution and celebrate the native plant and animal species that call the James River home.

Sign up to Paint Out Pollution at an upcoming installation event.


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


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Meet our 2020 Water Quality Coordinator, Genevieve Wall

by Genevieve Wall Spending quality time around local waterways deeply impacted my childhood. I grew up in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and on weekends, my family would frequently make the trek over to Rock Creek Park. My younger sister and I would...

Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteers contributed over 5,500 hours to improving the health of the James River in 2018, with over 2,000 people showing up with friends, family, and four legged companions to lend a hand. We want more people to discover what our volunteers already know: If you...

Saying Goodbye – For Now

by Jordan Cramer, JRA Water Quality Intern I had no idea going into this season that it would have been half as amazing as it has been. E. coli, river gauges, citizen volunteers: all these terms floated around my head, but I had never done...