James River selected as finalist for International Riverprize

James River AssociationThe James River has been selected as a finalist for the 2019 Thiess International Riverprize awarded bi-annually by the International River Foundation to recognize remarkable outcomes for rivers, river basins and their communities.

The prize is considered the most coveted award of river and watershed restoration and is based on accomplishments in integrated river basin management.  The two other river finalists are the Chicago River in Illinois and the Whangawehi Stream in New Zealand. This is the first time that the James River Association has applied for the award, and the first time that a river from the Mid Atlantic has been selected as a finalist.

The James River Association, which has served as a voice and advocate for the James River for over forty years, submitted the application that summarized the restoration of the James River from one of the nation’s most polluted rivers to one that has been consistently rated as the healthiest major tributary to the Chesapeake Bay by the University of Maryland.  The James River Association also produces a State of the James report which shows that the health grade of the James River has improved from a low D to a B-minus in 2017.   The 2019 State of the James report will be issued in early October.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious international river award,” said Bill Street, CEO of the James River Association.  “Since the James River Association was founded in 1976, we have made incredible progress in restoring the health of the James.  It is a true reflection of the level of commitment and investment that has been made over the last four decades.  We hope that being selected for the International Riverprize will inspire more people to get involved and do their part to achieve a grade-A James River.”

The winner will be picked by an international panel of judges and announced on October 22, 2019 at the International Riversymposium in Brisbane, Australia.  The award comes with a $200,000(AUS) cash prize and the opportunity to network with other river managers around the world.  Previous winners of the award include the Thames in England, the Rhine in Europe, the Mara in Kenya, the Charles in Massachusetts, the Willamette in Oregon and most recently the San Antonio in Texas.

“Being named a finalist for the International Riverprize is a testament to the tremendous improvements Virginia has made in restoring the health of the James River,” said Matthew J. Strickler, Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources.  “With the James River Association as its leading advocate and the many years of work by our state natural resource agencies and other public and private sector partners, the James River is a shining example of river stewardship and restoration.  Moreover, Virginia’s updated Watershed Implementation Plan released last month sets the course to continue this remarkable upward trajectory.”

To find out more about the award and to show your support for the James River, go to www.thejamesriver.org/riverprize.


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