River Advocacy

The James River Association strives to provide a voice for the River on important policy issues. Through advocacy at the citizen, local, state and federal levels, JRA works to ensure the health of the James River.

Citizen Advocacy

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The actions of our government – at the local, state and federal levels – have an enormous impact on you and your family.  Writing an email or a letter and making a follow-up phone call only takes a few minutes of your time, but it ensures that the people who make decisions on your behalf every day know how you want to be represented.

Citizen advocacy is built on personal relationships. You can have an impact. By signing up to be a part of our Action Network, you will receive email updates on river related news in your area and alerts when action is necessary in your region on a river-related issue.

To find out who your state legislators are and how to contact them, click here

Local Advocacy

Urban stormwater represents the fastest growing source of pollution to the James River and if not controlled threatens to undermine the progress that has been made towards restoring the health of the river.  JRA believes that by adopting Low Impact Development (LID) large strides can be made in addressing stormwater issues. LID is an environmental-friendly development process that involves altering site planning, design and development processes so that the impact of stormwater on the surrounding land is reduced.  The environmental benefits of LID include: reducing stormwater impact on wetlands, streams and coastal waters; enhancing surface and groundwater quality; offering better protection of ecological and biological systems; and preserving open space.

JRA is beginning work with local governments to increase the adoption of LID requirements throughout the watershed. To learn more about JRA’s LID work, check out our report on Promoting Low Impact Development in Virginia. These LID requirements are intended to complement the state’s newly adopted stormwater regulations.

JRA has also developed a model ordinance with the help of Williamsburg Environmental Group that localities can use to integrate LID in to their local stormwater programs. LID can often save on construction costs due to a reduction in storm drains, piping and ponds which are used to transport stormwater in traditional stormwater management practices.  JRA and the Center for Watershed Protection conducted a study that provides local governments in the James River watershed with cost-effective solutions for meeting their stormwater pollution obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup. View the Full Report and the JRA Executive Summary.

State Advocacy

JRA’s main policy priority is to ensure that Virginia maintains its commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup effort and continues on the path towards restoring the James. To do so, adequate funding from the Virginia General Assembly and support from state agencies is imperative. Accordingly, JRA works closely with both of these audiences to ensure that the James River is a priority.

In order to support continued progress in the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, JRA has recently released a study that will assist in the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup at the local level, by linking local water quality goals to those of the Bay. To learn more, click here.

Federal Advocacy

As a part of its federal government outreach, JRA participates in the Choose Clean Water Coalition. The Choose Clean Water Coalition brings together more than 200 organizations from throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed working together to help everyone in the region choose clean water. The coalition has identified several opportunities to improve water quality at the federal level, including working with the EPA on the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup and urban stormwater issues.

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