James River Estuary Case Study

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Figure 9-1 highlights the location of the James estuary case study watershed (catalog units). The James River was identified as one of the urban-industrial waterways affected by severe water pollution problems during the 1950s and 1960s (see Table 4-2). The James River basin, at the southern boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Basin, is one of the most important water resources in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Figure 9-2).

As the largest river in the state, the James River extends more than 400 miles from its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay to its headwaters near the West Virginia state line. The river is a recognized asset to the surrounding residential and metropolitan areas, providing recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing.

The James River is known for its annual national Bassmasters fishing tournaments, and it has exceptional Class IV white water rapids in the drop between the riverine and estuarine portions of the river in Richmond, Virginia. The river is also an asset to commerce and industry, serving as an important water supply and, as such, a catalyst for economic growth.

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