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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Become a River Hero Home for the James River

Sep 01, 2021 07:00AM ● By Jessica Coffey

This October marks the James River Association’s annual River Hero Homes Month, celebrating a dedicated network of local heroes who are improving the James River by pledging to adopt easy, river-friendly behaviors that start at home. Making a difference for our waterways can be as simple as installing beautiful native plants in our yards.

Stormwater runoff continues to be one of the largest threats facing the James. Every time it rains, fertilizers, herbicides, bacteria from pet waste and other chemicals flow from our properties into local waterways. Becoming a River Hero Home is an easy way to stop this kind of pollution. River Hero homeowners commit to three out of five actions that have a positive impact on our rivers, streams and creeks. While these actions may seem small, when adopted on a wide scale, they can make a significant difference on local water quality:

  • Picking up after dogs.
  • Reducing or eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides.
  • Avoiding invasive species and using native plants to support wildlife and reduce watering needs.
  • Using alternatives to municipal drinking water, like a rain barrel, for irrigation.
  • Reducing the need for fertilizer by encouraging healthy soil with mulch and compost.

To promote the program and encourage participation, the James River Association will be providing helpful River Hero Homes tips, tricks and testimonials across social media. They will also offer rain barrel workshops where participants can purchase a rain barrel and learn how to install it at home.

Sign up at Learn more at

Erin Hillert is the marketing and communications manager for the James River Association.