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Gauge Height: 5.05'
Flow: 4970 cfps

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Low Tide: 6:00am

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2018’s Record Rainfall and What It Means for the James River

Andy Thompson

January 15, 2019 11:21am

Ben Watson, a staff scientist with the James River Association, has a great piece on the organization’s website about the possible impacts 2018’s incredible rain totals could have on the James River going forward.

2018 was full of river height graphs that looked like this.

His article first offers some context on just how wet 2018 was before looking at all that rain’s impact on sediment pollution, nutrient pollution, fish migration, and oysters.

The upshot? Mostly not good. Writes Watson about nutrient (i.e. phosphorous and nitrogen) pollution: There is a very tight correlation between the average annual flow of the James River and the associated “load” of nutrient pollution, and while 2018 data are preliminary, this relationship allows us to make an educated guess regarding our annual results.  The verdict?  2018’s nutrient pollution loads will almost certainly be among the highest on record. 

Click here to read the entire piece.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?