REGIONAL — The James River Association (JRA) and the James River Advisory Council (JRAC) are once again teaming up with partners across the watershed to provide a week of events dedicated to the enjoyment, appreciation, and conservation of the James River.
James River Week will occur Saturday, September 11 through Saturday, September 18, kicking off with JRAC’s annual James River Regional Cleanup the morning of Saturday, September 11. This will be the cleanup’s 22nd year focused on the James River and its shorelines. The cleanup is a cooperative, regional event spanning more than 75 miles of the James River at 13 sites. Walkers, powerboats, paddle craft, and hikers can all participate in a limited capacity, observing Covid guidelines, by registering through JRAC’s website.
Additional volunteer opportunities hosted by Friends of James River Park, the James River Outdoor Coalition, and JRA will be happening throughout James River Week in the Richmond area, including Invasive Species Removal at Chapel Island on Monday, September 13 and volunteer projects at Texas Beach on September 16 and the Wetlands on September 18.
Art Works, Inc. is capturing the river through artist eyes by hosting their annual James River Renderings exhibit featuring images of the river in and around Richmond. Maymont and Chesterfield County Public Libraries have the little ones covered with Toddler Time on Monday, September 13 and a virtual Storytime video on Tuesday, September 14. Henrico County Public Libraries are also offering youth events including a boat-building project on Saturday, September 11 and crafting with river rocks on Friday, September 17.
Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation will be offering several water-based activities throughout the week for all levels of paddlers including canal tours, kayak trips, and even a bald eagle tour pontoon boat tour. Down river, Surry County’s ‘Up the Creek with a Paddle’ free ticketed event will guide kayakers through the natural beauty of Gray’s Creek at various times on Saturday, September 11 and Sunday, September 12.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated events of James River Week, JRA’s The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon trips will give the public an opportunity to get on the river while learning about this endangered fish and its relationship to the James. Capable of growing up to 14 feet in length, weighing 800 pounds, and living 60 years, Atlantic sturgeon spend their adult years in the Atlantic Ocean, but return to the rivers where they were born to spawn in the spring and fall seasons. JRA educators will provide several sturgeon outings from Wednesday, September 15 through Friday, September 17 on the Spirit of the James, JRA’s pontoon boat, as well two guided canoe trips on Friday, September 17. Atlantic sturgeon are often seen breaching this time of year, which can add an unforgettable aspect to these outings!
“This is a very exciting time of year for the James,” said Aaron Bouchard, Master Captain and Environmental Educator for JRA. “We have the opportunity to witness this amazing species while on their journey to reproduce. This is a process that has been going on for thousands of years, and we’re thrilled to be able to share that with the community and anyone who wants to come learn more about the Atlantic sturgeon!”
Up river, a new addition to JRA’s trip lineup includes a unique opportunity to sail back in time on a batteau boat located at their Lynchburg facility in Riveredge Park. Historic batteau trips will be offered on Wednesday, September 15 through Friday, September 17, led by a batteau captain decked in attire reminiscent of the garb worn in the 1800s. Each trip will weave in stories centered around the history of the river in the downtown and greater Lynchburg region.
Last but not least, the very first ‘Oysters for the James’ promotion will premiere during James River Week at several restaurants across the watershed, with 10% of select oyster dishes donated to JRA to protect and conserve the James River. It’s a delicious way to not only celebrate the James, but to give back to the river and watershed communities.
For a complete list of participating restaurants, as well as a comprehensive list of all James River Week events and opportunities, please visit thejamesriver.org/james–river–
The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon is made possible by support from the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office.