by John Bragg, New Kent, VA

Story prompt: Write your own river story…

Charles City is basically a peninsula surrounded on three sides by either the James River to the South or it’s tributary, the Chickahominy to the North and East. The county has a long and rich history going back to the early 1600’s. The lives of both the wealthy plantation owners as well as those not so well off, centered on the James River and the drainages in the County feeding the river. Mistreatment of the river by uncontrolled runoff, poor farming practices and major pollution by industry located along the James near Hopewell made the river unusable since then for many outdoor usages. Animal populations also suffered greatly. For example, indicator species such as the bald eagle were affected dramatically.

Charles City County graciously hired me in November 1991 as an environmental planner. The job was funded through what was then known as the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department.
I learned to love the fact that through the efforts of the Bay Department, James River Association, Department of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources Conservation Service and various other agencies both federal and state that the river is regaining lost opportunities between Richmond and Charles City. The indicator species the Bald Eagle has returned magnificently.