The Riverkeeper

Jamie Brunkow monitors the lower James River from the Chesapeake Bay to the fall line at Richmond. It’s the most populous and industrial part of the river. It carries ocean-going vessels to the deepwater terminal in Richmond as well as barges, industrial traffic and pleasure boats.

As the Riverkeeper, Mr. Brunkow is not out looking for pleasure boats lacking life jackets, he monitors water quality; tracks harmful algae blooms and is the eyes, ears and public voice for James River.

Brunkow was hired by the James River Association (JRA) to not only monitor the river, but manage projects such the recent creation of Atlantic sturgeon spawning habitat on the James.

He also has served as the Riverkeeper at the Sassafras River Association on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he expanded water quality monitoring, implemented SRA’s watershed action plan and brought about citizen and local government support for clean water policies.

According to his JRA bio, Brunkow began his career as an environmental educator working with teenage youth, and went on to work for Friends of the Rappahannock, leading restoration education and advocacy projects such as “Get the Dirt Out” – a citizen based effort to reduce pollution from construction sites. He has been the Lower James Riverkeeper since May, 1012.

He is a native Virginian and grew up in Stafford County. Brunkow’s love of nature landed him at Virginia Tech where he earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences. He has a commitment for improving the wildlife and enhancing water quality in America’s Founding River.


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