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Symposium on the State of the James River

More than 70 participants attended the Symposium on the State of the James River held at Virginia Commonwealth University on Oct. 19. The purpose of the Symposium was to bring together individuals, agencies and institutions involved in research, monitoring and advocacy issues concerning the James River. The Symposium was organized by Dr. Paul Bukaveckas (Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies) in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the James River Association. Funding was provided by a National Science Foundation grant in support of VCU’s Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences.

Opening remarks by Virginia's Secretary for Natural Resources, The Honorable L. Preston Bryant Jr., stressed the need for cooperation among state agencies, universities and citizen groups to maximize the effectiveness of river management efforts. Morning presentations described land use changes in the James River basin and their effects on water quality. The afternoon session was introduced by Rebecca Wodder (American Rivers) and focused on the living resources of the river, with speakers describing the current state of macroinvertebrate, fish and bird communities. David Bolgrien, the keynote speaker from the USEPA, described the agency’s efforts to develop indicators of ecosystem health for large rivers in preparation for the first national assessment of river condition. As a follow-up to the Symposium, the James River Association will prepare a State of the James report.