RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Friday announced the launch of the James River Buffer Program, a partnership between the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and the James River Association (JRA) to establish over 900 acres of “riparian forested buffers” in the Middle James region of the river.

This program, once in place, will help to restore the river and streamside forest buffers spring from the Virginia Environmental Endowment’s (VEE) James River Water Quality Improvement Program grant awarded to VDOF ($750,000) and the JRA ($1.45 million).

“The James River is one of Virginia’s most significant natural resources and an integral part of our economy, and this new partnership will ensure that the Commonwealth is able to address its needs effectively,” said Governor Northam. “With this program, we have the opportunity to work with Virginia farmers and landowners to advance our restoration and clean water goals and make the strategic investments that will enhance the health of the river and the wellbeing of our people.”

Riparian forested buffers, or forested stream banks, are the trees, shrubs, grasses, and other vegetation that grow alongside our local waterways. Along with providing valuable habitat for wildlife, these streamside forests are one of the most cost-effective mechanisms for capturing pollution from the land and improving the water quality of a river like the James.

“The funding from VEE enables VDOF to implement innovative practices that combine sustainable forest management and water quality protection,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “This partnership brings together engaged partners who are passionate about improving our Commonwealth’s shared quality of life.”