Water Quality Monitoring

What is James River Watch?

James River Watch is a river conditions map that communicates bacteria levels and other river conditions to the public. During the summer, weekly swimming, and paddling conditions are made available at www.jamesriverwatch.org, so before you head down to the banks of the James and take the plunge, remember that it pays to know before you go!

Why Monitor Bacteria?

While the James River is a great place to cool off, it can carry extra pollutants during periods of high water and after heavy summer downpours. Some segments of the river are impaired due to excessive harmful bacteria—which can make an afternoon on the river less enjoyable. James River Watch was designed to report bacteria levels and communicate them to the public, so you can have a better time on the water!

James River Watch website

Due to the COVID-19 virus and social distancing guidelines JRA has pushed the official start of the 2020 volunteer water monitoring season to June 11th. JRA staff will begin weekly water testing at a limited number of stations near Lynchburg, Richmond and Williamsburg in late May. We’re closely monitoring the latest guidance on COVID-19 so that we can continue to provide this essential water quality data to the public while ensuring the health of our volunteers and staff. 

Want to learn more about James River Watch?

Volunteers help us track the health of the James by collecting water samples every Thursday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. No monitoring or science background is required. We will assign volunteers to sampling teams, and work with each volunteer to help establish a sampling schedule that fits individual schedules and availability. 

2020 Water Quality Monitoring Training Sessions:

  • Online Training for Upper James Region – April 28th, 6pm – 7:30pm 

  • Online Training Middle James Region – April 23rd, 6pm-7:30pm

  • Online Training for Richmond Region – April 30th, 6pm-7:30pm

  • Online Training for Williamsburg/Peninsula Region – May 5th, 6pm-7:30pm

  • Online Refresher Training for returning Upper James or Middle James volunteers


For more information

For more information contact us at (804)788-8811 or jbrunkow@thejamesriver.org.

water quality monitors

Sampling Locations:

  • Hampton River, Hampton
  • Riverside Park, Newport News
  • Denbigh Park, Warwick River, Newport News
  • Jamestown Beach, James City County
  • Powhatan Creek Park, James City County
  • City Point, Hopewell
  • Harvell Dam, Petersburg
  • Grapevine Bridge – Chickahominy River, Sandston
  • Pony Pasture, Richmond
  • Huguenot Flatwater, Richmond
  • Robious Landing, Richmond
  • Rockett’s Landing, Richmond
  • 14th Street Access Point, Richmond
  • Rope Swing beach at Tredegar, Richmond
  • Reedy Creek, Richmond
  • 42nd Street JRPS Access, Richmond
  • Tucker Park at Maidens Crossing, Goochland County
  • Public boat ramp, Scottsville
  • Riveredge Park, Madison Heights
  • Ben Salem Wayside Park, Lexington (Maury River)
  • DGIF Public landing, Buchanan
  • Riverview Park, Charlottesville (Rivanna River)
  • Main Street Bridge, Farmville (Appomattox River)