James River Selected as the 2019 Thiess International Riverprize Winner - Waterkeeper

James River Selected as the 2019 Thiess International Riverprize Winner

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

Due, in large part, to the work of James Riverkeeper, the James River, pictured here near Richmond, Va., has experienced a near-miraculous recovery in recent decades, as evidenced by the reappearance of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon, such as the one pictured below. Photo by Giles Ashford.

The International River Foundation awarded Virginia’s James River Association the 2019 Theiss International Riverprize, the biggest honor a river can receive for restoration efforts.

One hallmark of the Riverkeeper’s work has been the development of innovative youth environmental education programs. Photos by James River Association.

The prestigious award “champions integrated river basin management for the restoration, protection and sustainable management of the world’s rivers…by facilitating leadership, celebration and collaboration.”

The James River Association, James Riverkeeper’s host organization, has led efforts to restore the river’s health since 1976, and submitted the application chronicling the James’ progress from the sewage, chemical, and sediment pollution that forced fisheries to close in the late 1970s to a consistent rating as the healthiest major tributary in the Chesapeake Bay today. The award comes with a cash prize of more than $137,000 and the opportunity to network with other river managers around the world.

“Winning the 2019 International Riverprize is truly a reflection of Virginia’s progress and the collective impact made over several decades to restore the health of the James River,” said Jamie Brunkow, James Riverkeeper. “James River Association has been the leading voice for the James throughout this comeback story, and this award strengthens our resolve to continue advocating for clean water and making sure the river is an asset for communities and generations to come.”