New report calls condition of the James River ‘stable but threatened’

Experts gave the watershed an overall score of 61% and a B- letter grade

The condition of the James River is considered stable but threatened.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The condition of the James River is considered “stable but threatened.”

The James River Association releases a report on the state of the James every two years, breaking down its condition into categories.

The organization issued its latest assessment Tuesday, with an overall score of 61 percent and a letter grade of B-.

While that’s down one point from the 2019 study, the association’s CEO, Bill Street, says the James has made tremendous progress since the 1970s.

“We have come a long way in overall health of the river. It is much safer now and today than it used to be decades ago, but there are still times when you have to be careful,” said Street.

Street says overall it is safe for you to go into the water, but you should check the conditions online first.

The James remains a river at risk, with climate change causing concern.

“The heavier-than-normal rainfall in recent years washed more pollution into the river, causing setbacks for pollution reductions and stream health,” said Street.

The Association says 2.7 million Virginians rely on the James for drinking water.

The Commonwealth continues clean-water programs, and treatment plants like help with restoration and protection.

Street says treatment plants address a lot of the issues, but more pollution makes it more expensive to care for, so everyone must do their part.

“The healthier we can keep the James, the healthier our drinking water will be,” said Street.

You can find the full report here, along with a new interactive website.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.