23 Oct 2019 International Riverprize Winner – James River, USA!
The James River in the USA is the winner of the 2019 Thiess International Riverprize. The James River Association accepted the award on behalf of the James River at the 20th Anniversary Riverprize Gala Dinner.
When the James River Association was founded in 1976, the James River was considered one of the most polluted rivers in the country with large sections declared dead or unfit for human use. Through four decades of consistent and continued effort, the James River has transformed from one of the most polluted in the country to one of the most improved.
This remarkable improvement in river health is the result of an inclusive, comprehensive approach to strengthen public awareness and appreciation, as well as many years of public and private investments in conservation projects. Moreover, access to the James River has expanded to over 200 public access points. The state of Virginia has established comprehensive plans to increase resiliency along the James River, addressing climate change and other future threats.
“Receiving this award strengthens our resolve to continue this comeback story, and we hope it will inspire everyone who lives, works and plays around the James River to jump in and help out so the James remains a vital asset for our communities and for future generations.”
– Bill Street, CEO of the James River Association
Congratulations are also in order for our co-finalists Friends of the Chicago River (USA) and the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group (New Zealand). All three finalists have achieved amazing restoration work for their rivers which deserve to be celebrated and commended. During the dinner we also awarded IRF’s 2019 Ken Thiess Scholars José Fernández and Rosie Sanderson (represented by Andrea Salus) and 2019 Vera Thiess Fellow, Qing Ye, with their certificates.
Over 600 people attended the 20th Anniversary Riverprize Gala Dinner, a big thank you to everyone who attended this celebration of our rivers!