State of the James
Since the founding of America on its banks 400 years ago, the James River has played a central and defining role in the development of Virginia. No other natural feature of the New World had more influence on the early colony, and no other natural feature has provided more for Virginia. After 400 years of nurturing us, America’s Founding River needs nurturing itself.
This State of the James River report provides a report card on the effort to bring this shared natural resource back to full health. The report examines the status and trends of indicators in four categories that build on one another. At the top are the fish and wildlife populations that are important to the health of the river and to everyone who enjoys and cares about the river. These wildlife populations depend on habitat to provide their critical needs for life. The greatest factor affecting the quality of habitat in the James River is the amount of pollution that enters our streams and creeks and ultimately flows into the James River. Finally, the report assesses progress on the restoration and protection actions needed to reduce damaging pollution and return the James River to a healthy, diverse ecosystem.
For each indicator, JRA has identified and compiled a key measure of health. Quantitative benchmarks have been set for what we need to achieve to have a healthy James River. When possible, the benchmark is a goal that has been set by the state or some authority on a specific indicator. Current progress is compared to this benchmark to calculate a score which is averaged across the indicators in each category to determine the grade for that category.
Also, the 2-year change has been listed for each indicator. Because of refinements in the methodology of the report, the changes do not necessarily correspond to the scores contained in previous State of the James River reports. The scores for current status and two-year change are determined using the same methodology and benchmark.
2011 State of the James Report (PDF, 2.83mb)
The James River Association would like to thank the following organizations for their contributions to the report: William and Mary Center for Conservation Biology, Virginia Institute for Marine Science, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Trout Unlimited, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program, University of Maryland, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A special thank you goes to Michelle Kokolis for her hours of research and writing for this report.