Letter to the Editor: Some concern over river erosion

Published 7:01 am Saturday, July 29, 2023

Dear Editor,

I am fortunate to live on Buckingham 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.

From the James River Association (JRA) website:

Email newsletter signup

The 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. 

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. 

You can find out if you qualify by going to https://www.jamesriverbuffers.org/. You will find a map of the James River Watershed and list of counties eligible. There are short videos that show clearly how beneficial this buffer program is. This is a good community project that can make neighbors feel hopeful, helpful and useful.

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud