James River community project: restoring forest buffers to improve the quality of our waters

Jul 22, 2023 | Community News, News, Top Stories | 0 comments

I am fortunate to live on land that is high above the James River, looking out to Nelson County and towards the Blue Ridge. With grave concern I have been watching the river banks erode for the last 30+ years with each highwater event. I finally got around to signing up with the James River Buffer Program, and now I am happy to see many of my neighbors are also joining the program.

Photo above by Jai Ram Eyth: Anne Marie Roberts, Senior Restoration Field Manager, JRA, & Heidi Dhivya Berthoud – mapping the buffer zone

From the JRA website:

The James River Association (JRA), the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are working with landowners across the middle and upper James watershed to restore or create forest buffers that improve the quality of local waterways.

The James River Buffer Program (JRBP) exists to help landowners based in the James River watershed install riparian buffers on their properties. Through no cost to the landowner, the JRBP works with you to select the kinds of native trees and plants that you prefer on your land, takes care of the initial planting, and even maintains the buffers for three years once they are planted. You do have to agree to keep the area forested for 15 years or more.

Watch this 4 minute video: Discover the benefits of the James River Buffer Program:

Check out this one-page flier with a map of the James River Watershed, a list of counties eligible, and 5 steps to get started:

Riparian buffers are the trees, shrubs, and other vegetation along our waterways. These streamside forests provide the James River and its tributaries with the protection they need. Riparian buffers slow flood water, improve water quality by filtering runoff from upland land use, provide canopy cover to shade and cool the stream, provide habitat for a variety of birds and small mammals, and are a great place for recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, and bird watching.

This is a great community project that can make neighbors feel hopeful, helpful and useful. You can find out if you qualify by going to https://www.jamesriverbuffers.org/   

A letter to the editor of the Farmville Herald about this topic was posted on Saturday, July 29, 2023.


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